‘Jeopardy!’: How Matt Amodio Felt Knowing His ‘Loss Was Coming’

by Josh Lanier

Jeopardy! champion Matt Amodio said it was tough staying excited about his win streak when he knew a loss was coming. The 30-year-old won 38 games in a row, the second-longest win streak in the show’s history, and earned more than $1.5 million. But earlier this month, he shocked the game-show audience again by doing something no one expected: He lost.

Jeopardy! films its episodes weeks in advance. So, while the audience tuned in to see if he would continue his win streak, Matt Amodio had a secret. He knew weeks ago that his winning streak would end at 38 games. He knew he’d botch the Final Jeopardy question, and Jonathan Fisher would beat him, but Amodio couldn’t tell anyone. The Yale Ph.D. student couldn’t let on that his dominance would let up.

It was easier early on, Amodio told Yale Daily News, because he knew he’d won that night’s episode. But after he’d lost, there were still several episodes left to air, and he had to keep up appearances.

“And it was a little harder to pretend to be happy for all the wins because I knew that the loss was coming,” he said.

Though, he said it was fun getting to be an actor for a little while.

It wasn’t a bad problem to have, but he admits that he felt worse for his coworkers. His win streak stretched on for more than a year. And they ran out of ways to congratulate him.

“It was pretty funny where I definitely heard from them less in the latter part of the run,” Amodio told the paper. “I think that they were running out of things to say. They said ‘congratulations,’ then they went to a thesaurus and found some synonyms for ‘congratulations’ and so that lasted them for a couple of games, but then I just wore them out by winning.”

‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Matt Amodio Says Bar Trivia Isn’t Fun Anymore

Matt Amodio’s love of trivia borders on obsession. He said he plays trivia games online, Trivial Pursuit with friends, and goes to his local bar for trivia night. He’s good at it, and he loves to test his skills.

But after his record-breaking run on Jeopardy!, he said things have changed. Before it was just fun and games, but now everyone is watching him. And if he’s not performing at the level of a Jeopardy!-champ level all the time, other teams at the bar will let him know.

But he’s glad he went on the show. He thinks with the perspective of time, he’ll be most happy that he got to compete with some of the best in the world.

“I think it would have been a great experience, even if Jeopardy! was not a television show and it was just something that you went into the studio and you played a game and then went away,” he said. “I’m a competitive guy, I love knowing things and just the sheer competition was so fun.”

He’s not done with the show either. He will compete in the Tournament of Champions later this season. And Fisher, the man who beat him, will be there too.