‘Jeopardy!’: When Did Show Double Dollar Values for Categories?

by Halle Ames

Jeopardy! is known to be a game show that the smarter you are, the more you win. But when did the money value get a little sweeter?

With six categories and five questions beneath each category, a contestant has the chance to take home serious cheddar on Jeopardy!

As the questions arguably get harder (they are all difficult to us), the money value also increases.

When Jeopardy! first got its start, the point values ranged from a mere $10 to $50 in the first round. Nothing to fuss about, but hey, money is money!

However, on The All-New Jeopardy!, the money value was heightened, along with the fancy name. Questions on the game show started at $25 and went up to $125. Still, nothing compared to today’s values.

In 1984, the hit game show debuted its two pilot’s episodes with questions ranging from $25 to $125 for the Jeopardy! round. By the second round, the values of the questions doubled, starting at $50, all the way to $250.

After the second pilot, producers upped the advantage of being smart. If you answered the easiest question correctly, you could easily win $100. Furthermore, if you really were feeling frisky, you could test your luck at the $500 question.

Finally, on November 26, 2001, the values were changed one last time. You think it pays to be intelligent? Well, how about these numbers. The easiest Jeopardy! question is worth $200 and the most difficult boasting $1000.

Quite the increase from just $25 and $50.

Jeopardy! Royalty

The contestant that has won the most on Jeopardy! is Brad Rutter. Rutter cashed in $4,938,436 in just 17 victories. Similarly, the beloved contestant, Ken Jennings only took home $2,522,700 in his 74 game win streak.

According to IMDB, in the perfect world, a Jeopardy! contestant could walk away with 566,400 in a single game. For this to happen, a player would have to answer every question first and correct, get all three Daily Doubles with the lowest value last (making them true Daily Doubles), bet it all, and win in ‘Final Jeopardy.’

Not only has this never been achieved, but no player has even gotten close to touching that amount of dough. We highly doubt any player ever will.

In fact, the crown belonging to the person who has won the most money in a single game of Jeopardy! belongs to James Holzhauer. In just one night, Holzhauer managed to become $131,127 richer.