It was no secret that Ken Jennings is an amazing game show contestant who seems to know the answer to every trivia question that comes his way. And now, the 45-year-old software engineer turned writer can officially say he is the greatest Jeopardy! contestant of all time.
Jennings defeated James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter in the first ever Greatest of all Time tournament on Tuesday, and in addition to earning the title of GOAT, he took home a trophy and a $1 million prize.
“It has taken 15 years for Ken Jennings to finally answer the question, ‘Is he as good as he appeared to be in his great run on Jeopardy!?’” said host Alex Trebek as he gave Jennings the trophy.
Jennings has now won $4,370,700 during his numerous appearances on the popular game show over the past 15 years.
There was actually a reason behind each GOAT contestant’s appearance in the tournament. Yes, all three are extremely popular, but they each hold different records. Jennings won the most Jeopardy! games in a row back in 2004 when he won a whopping 74 times. Rutter – who had previously beaten Jennings in every tournament they faced off against each other, until now – has won $4,688,436, which is the most money in Jeopardy! history.
Holzhauer made headlines last year with his amazing run on the show that saw him win the most money in a single game – $131,127.
Huge congrats to my old frenemy @KenJennings on his most impressive #JeopardyGOAT victory. That was the best playing I’ve ever seen and I’ve been watching @Jeopardy for 35 years. Pictured: me trying to absorb some buzzer mojo in case there’s a next time pic.twitter.com/B5bB7AnwCv
— Brad Rutter (@bradrutter) January 15, 2020
For the GOAT tournament, Jennings, Rutter, and Holzhauer faced off in a new format that Trebek called “a two-game total point affair.” Each night, the three contestants would play two games of Jeopardy! back-to-back and then their total points (instead of dollars) were added together.
The person with the highest number of points at the end of the two games won the match. And, the first player to win three matches was named the GOAT. Jennings won the match on nights one, three, and four. Holzhauer won the match on night two. Even though Rutter was the favorite going into the GOAT tournament – as he had never lost a game of Jeopardy! to a human – he didn’t win a match.
Holzhauer also had the opportunity to beat Jennings on night four, but he ended up giving the wrong answer in Final Jeopardy. Holzhauer and Rutter each won $250,000 for their respective finishes.