‘Jeopardy!’ Champs Reveal Surprising Secret Weapon

by Jonathan Howard
(Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

In less than a year we have had two 30+ win Jeopardy! champions. So, how easy is it to become a champion with a long streak?

As you would suspect, it isn’t easy at all. However, there are some champions that claim to have a secret weapon. Thanks to a fan-run website called J! Archive, there is a database filled with decades of questions. So, as far as a study sheet goes, it is about as good as it gets.

If you hope to have a run at Jeopardy! then knowing some of these old questions might come in handy. After all, Amy Schneider herself said that she had heard or known about the questions in the tryouts ahead of time. The shows that get put on TV, those questions are unique and different.

However, studying questions themselves is worthwhile. Knowing how certain categories are worded, knowing the before and afters, and more. That is all-important to set yourself up to be a Jeopardy! champion. 12-time champ Austin Rivers won over $400,000 during his streak.

“I would open random games [on the site] and play them in my head. I noticed what comes up the most. If a question says ‘artist in Iowa,’ it has to be Grant Wood,” Rivers explained. “And if it says ‘Thornton Wilder,’ the correct response always has to be Our Town.”

Jeffrey Williams is another contestant that used the database to prepare. He spent his time studying the clues on the site and realized that he had one glaring flaw. Nobel Prize winners.

“It showed me that I didn’t know much about Nobel Prize winners. So I went down a Wikipedia rabbit hole on that one, and benefited when a category called ‘First Nobel’ came up,” Williams explained.

Amy Schneider Breaks $1 Million on ‘Jeopardy!’

At the end of last week, Schneider passed up the million-dollar mark on Jeopardy! She is the first woman to pass the benchmark and is now just fourth all-time in winnings. She has also tied James Holzhauer for third on the all-time wins list at 32 games.

As she keeps winning, things seem to get more surreal for the Oakland resident. You don’t really go into your Jeopardy! audition thinking you are going to set records and win 30 or more games.

“It feels amazing, it feels strange,” Schneider said while reflecting on her run. “It’s not a sum of money I ever anticipated would be associated with my name.” As she keeps going on, fans are wondering what her limits are going to be. Matt Amodio’s record is now within reach. From there, there is only one former player to look out for.

The quest to dethrone Ken Jennings remains a tall task. To put it simply, Schneider isn’t even halfway there yet. However, if she keeps winning, the question will come up more and more often.