‘Jeopardy!’: Matt Amodio Reveals What Would ‘Ruin Whole Experience’ of Historic Run

by Amy Myers

It’s been five months since the start of Matt Amodio’s career on Jeopardy! and still, the former champ can’t bring himself to spend any of the money that he earned from his 38-game streak. After his loss on October 11, Amodio racked up a total of $1.5 million, placing third in the game show’s history of all-time winnings behind Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer.

A doctoral student in artificial intelligence at Yale University, Amodio prides himself on his practicality with his winnings. In an interview with Ohio State University, the celebrity explained that preserving these funds also preserved his memory of his time on the show.

“Even if I were to get myself something nice that I like, I would view that as such an inefficient use of the money,” Amodio told his undergrad university. “Even if I got [some] enjoyment out of it, I would be giving myself [more] hassle over having spent the money. It would just ruin the whole experience for me.”

In just his first two games, Amodio won over $80,000 on Jeopardy! After one month, that number more than tripled to $300,000. Not surprisingly, the Ph.D. candidate wants to make those winnings (and memories) last, so our chances of seeing him blow it on a yacht or summer home in France are rare.

‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Says the ‘Novelty’ of Experience ‘Hasn’t Really Worn Off’

Following Amodio’s legendary run on the game show, another Jeopardy! champ quickly replaced his spot at the winner’s podium. Jonathon Fisher also made show history by being the first champ to win at least 10 games following another double-digit winner. Fisher’s time came to an end after his eleventh win, taking home a total of $246,100.

Although a new champ took the reins on Jeopardy! fans weren’t quick to forget Amodio and his quirky humor on the show. And in return, the 38-time champ hasn’t forgotten how much fun he had during the experience.

“This has all been just a couple months really, and so the novelty of it still hasn’t really worn off yet,” Amodio said. “This hasn’t stopped being fun.”

While Amodio is still enjoying the perks of holding the second-longest run in Jeopardy! history, he’s also focusing on completing his degree so that he can further pursue a career in academics. Instead of a typical nine-to-five job, the champ wants to explore and research what interests him most.

“When you’re working for a company, the company tells you what to work on and you have to do it if you want the paycheck,” the Jeopardy! champ said. “But in academia they just say, ‘Research whatever you want as long as you get your papers published in that subject.’”