Mattea Roach wasn’t confident she’d win her first “Jeopardy!” game. The show’s 38th season had already seen Amy Schneider’s 40-game winning streak and Matt Amodio’s 38 victories.
But the 23-year-old tutor from Canada surprised herself and won her first game — paying off her student loans in the process. And then she won again. And again. And again.
To date, Roach has amassed $560,983 over 23 games. With her ongoing run, three of the five longest winning streaks in “Jeopardy!” history have happened during the show’s current season — although Ken Jennings’ legendary 74-game winning streak from 2004 remains untouched.
“This has been such a crazy season of streaks,” Roach told “Jeopardy!” after her 12th win. “I was fully thinking, ‘You know, Amy might still be here. If it’s not Amy, there’s going to be some other super-champion that’s just going to knock me out game one.’ And then, I guess what I didn’t realize is maybe I could become the super champion I wanted to see in the world.”
Roach, who goes for her 24th win on Friday, has been on the show long enough to work with both of the show’s hosts, Mayim Bialik and Jennings. And her vote for the permanent gig goes to Jennings.
“Because of his history with the show,” she recently told Vulture. “As a contestant, there’s something really special about being onstage with the greatest player of all time. Someone who understands in a very visceral way what it’s like to be in your position. Mayim is fantastic, but she doesn’t have that same experience.”
Roach currently sits at No. 5 for the longest winning streak — still a whopping 52 games away from dethroning Jennings from the No. 1 spot. The momentum remains in her favor — although she did win her most recent game on a comeback during the Final Jeopardy round.
How long will Roach’s winning streak continue? If she wins 10 games, she’ll surpass James Holzhauer. She needs 16 games to overtake Amodio and 18 games to top Schneider.
But the “Jeopardy!” champion already knows this much for certain: She doesn’t have grand plans with her winnings.
“I’m going to continue being really boring with money,” she told Vulture. “I have no idea what’s going to amount to real dollars between the taxes and having to convert it to Canadian dollars. Most of it I’m going to sit on for a couple of years, and hopefully when I’m more settled in the longer term, I imagine it’ll help me buy a house.”