‘Jeopardy!’: Alex Trebek Revealed Why Contestants’ Conservative Wagers Were Always ‘Disappointing’

by Halle Ames

When it comes to winning big on Jeopardy! former host Alex Trebek had his contestants’ best interest in mind. 

Two years before Alex Trebek’s unfortunate death in November of 2020, he spoke to Vulture about everything under the sun, including his contestants’ wagering abilities. 

After noting that Alex Trebek roots for his contestant’s success, he also reveals that he is disappointed to see contestants make conservative wagers. The late Jeopardy! host also said that the location of the Daily Double question should impact the amount you bet. 

“I have been disappointed when contestants made conservative wagers because they don’t realize the obvious. And that is, if a clue is in the second box from the top, it’s going to be easier than a clue at the bottom of the category. So if you’ve landed on what should be an easier Daily Double clue, why not take a chance?”

Alex Trebek Jokes with Contestants

Alex Trebek also revealed that he would joke around with contestants to see if they would bet more money but said he was never serious about it. 

“But I try not to influence contestants’ wagers. I do joke about it. You’ll hear me say things like, ‘You made it a true Daily Double in the first round when you only had $1,000. Now that you’ve got $13,000, I’m sure you’ll want to make it another true Daily Double.’ But I’m not seriously suggesting they make that wager.”

To continue with the light nature of his hosting abilities, Alex Trebek remembered when he would joke with contestants that didn’t know much about sports

Here was the question that stumped the three contestants. What was the defensive line that took the Vikings to four Super Bowls? The correct response is, “Who are the Purple People Eaters?”

“I had fun with it. The last clue in the category had to do with the Minnesota Vikings. I looked at the players and said, “If you guys ring in and get this one, I will die.” The gaps in people’s knowledge never cease to amaze me. And on occasion, all three players have the same gap. But football? America’s game?”

After Alex Trebek’s death from stage IV pancreatic cancer, former Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings took over. Throughout his time as host, Jennings continuously kept Trebek’s legacy alive with tributes to him during each episode. 

Trebek was the host of Jeopardy! for 37 seasons from 1984 until 2020.