‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Matt Amodio Gives More Details on Controversial Answering Style: ‘Fewer Things That Can Go Wrong’

by Keeli Parkey

To say that “Jeopardy!’ champion Matt Amodio has made a name for himself on the show would be an understatement. Not only has he become the fourth most successful contestant in the history of the show, his unusual style of gameplay has also made his time on the show memorable. And, during a recent interview, Amodio defended how he plays the famous quiz show.

You see, Matt Amodio has a unique way of answering the clues on “Jeopardy!” As fans of the show are aware, the responses to clues must be said in the form of a question. Throughout the decades-long run of the quiz show, contestants have prefaced their responses with both “what is” or “who is.”

Which preface they use has depended on the clue that was posed. If the response was a person, contestants have answered with “who is.”

However, Matt Amodio has taken a different approach during his very successful tenure on “Jeopardy!” He has chosen to answer every clue with “what is.” It doesn’t matter to Amodio if the answer to the clue is a person, place, or thing. He uses “what is” for each response.

And, according to what he had to say during a recent interview with the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science, there is a method to his unusual style of gameplay on “Jeopardy!”

‘Jeopardy!’ Champion Matt Amodio Says How He Answers Questions Is Part of His Strategy

According to what “Jeopardy!” champion Matt Amodio said during that recent interview, the way he responds to clues on the popular quiz show is part of a “strategy.”

“Yes, I have a strategy where I form all of my questions with a ‘what’s’ at the beginning – then, I can focus on the rest of the clue,” Matt Amodio also said. “Other people have been very upset about me being robotic instead of forming a question differently each time.”

Luckily for Amodio, the powers that be behind “Jeopardy!” have been agreeable to how he plays their game.

“I was glad that ‘Jeopardy!’ said this was perfectly within the rules. I’ve watched ‘Jeopardy!’ every day of my life, so I knew it was OK,” Amodio also said.

There is a reason as to why Amodio has decided to offer his answers the way he has. According to what he told the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science he does so in order to streamline his gameplay. By doing so, he can eliminate mistakes. Amodio drew on his education to develop this strategy.

“That’s the kind of thing we do in computer science all the time. You have a section of your program and it does ‘A’ or it does ‘B’ and it has to decide which,” Matt Amodio explained. “Then you realize ‘Wait, we never actually need to do ‘B,” so you cut that off and just leave a smaller bit of program. It’s cleaner and where there are fewer things moving, there are fewer things that can go wrong.”

Whether you like how he plays “Jeopardy!” or not, you can’t deny that it has led to much success for Matt Amodio.