With each passing day, Matt Amodio keeps moving his name up the ranks in the all-time Jeopardy! history books.
Is Matt Amodio one of the best contestants to ever play on the popular game show? If you look at the history books, that answer would be yes. After earning his 17th-straight win on Thursday evening, Amodio has officially moved into third place for the most winnings ever in regular-season play. He just passed Jason Zuffranieri on Thursday, and now the only two people in front of him are a couple of Jeopardy! legends in Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer.
Amodio sat down for an interview with People Magazine recently where he discussed what it means to him to be up there with the very best.
“The show has had so many brilliant people [on it],” Amodio said. “I’m honored to be thought of as even close to them.”
The total for Amodio — the Ph.D. student from New Haven, Connecticut — now sits at $547,600. He will go into Friday evening’s episode hoping to keep up the same pace. That said, he admitted to Vulture not long ago that he does have one weakness in his game. And that is pop culture.
“Pop culture in general. I did my best. Thankfully, if there’s one thing the internet has information on, it’s celebrities. That’s pretty easy,” he explained. “I did my best to be interested in the minutiae of the celebrity eye. I’m naturally a curious person, which helps, but I still went in very skeptical. ‘This is gonna be miserable every second I spend on TMZ reading about these people.’ But as I learned more, I was able to appreciate the nuances of things and started asking questions.”
There Has Been Some Controversy Surrounding the ‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant
Love him or hate him, people on both sides respect Matt Amodio for his knowledge and passion for the game show. But there have been plenty of people out there on social media who criticize Amodio for the way he solves puzzles on the show.
“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,” he said. “Other people have been very upset about me being robotic instead of forming a question differently each time.”
But Matt Amodio is a Ph.D. student after all. Not only that but he is also a lifelong Jeopardy! fan. He said that he did his research about how he can form his questions way before he ever stepped foot on the Jeopardy! stage.
“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.”