Matt Amodio and his crazy winning streak on Jeopardy! will go down in the history books. But even so, he doesn’t believe that he’s better than a fellow game show legend.
From the moment the 30-year-old Ph.D. student at the University of Yale stepped foot on the Jeopardy! stage, he has dominated the competition. After his most recent win on Friday evening, Amodio officially cemented himself as the second-most successful contest in the gameshow’s history, only behind Ken Jennings. The win helped him pass Jeopardy! legend James Holzhauer.
Prior to his win on Friday, Amodio spoke to Newsweek in an interview and said that he feels “so fortunate” to be in the position he’s in.
“It’s a surreal experience. It’s unbelievable,” the Ohio native said. “I watched James tear through the competition every second, and I knew he was better than I could ever be.”
However, despite passing up James Holzhauer in the record books, Amodio still feels that Holzhauer is the better player between the two.
“I still believe he is better than me, but I consider myself extremely fortunate to have tied him in the most significant stat of the program (number of games won).”
‘Jeopardy!’ Star Has Been Taking Notes from James Holzhauer and Ken Jennings
Now, we’re not going to sugarcoat anything here. Matt Amodio has been crazy impressive but he still has a long way to go to catch up to Ken Jennings for the most games ever won on Jeopardy!. Jennings sits head and shoulders about everyone else in the game show’s history with an astounding 74 wins.
But if anyone can get close to Jennings, or even beat him for that matter, it would be Amodio. After all, Amodio has studied Jennings for a long time. He explained as much in a previous interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“My strategy going in was watch Ken [Jennings] and try to do whatever Ken does,” Amodio said. “He’s done TED talks, he does podcasts, and he drops a little bit of knowledge here and there.”
This is a Ph.D. student we’re talking about. Amodio is obviously a smart man to take bits and pieces of Jennings’ game into his own.
“When I was trying to get in on the buzzer I would just listen to the cadence of the voice and try and view it like a musical meter and get the rhythm and stuff. So I would just take any notes I could from him.”
Speaking of which, Amodio also took notes from the man he just passed up in the record books.
“James [Holzhauer] brought in a lot of probability-based analysis in terms of which clue selection to do,” Amodio explained. “I just remembered how they did it, and I’m hoping that I’m imitating it as best as I can.”