Final Jeopardy prompts have always been difficult to figure out. So how confident would you have to be with your answer to wager all of your money? Well, in 1984, every single contestant did exactly that. And the result left Alex Trebek speechless.
The young host was looking good. He had a full head of dark hair and was still sporting his iconic mustache as he led the game. And the game was running as it usually does.
Paul, Lynne, and Greg were playing a regular game of “Jeopardy!” Nothing unusual, nothing out of the ordinary. At the end of the Double Jeopardy round, Greg held a commanding lead. He had $9,500 to Lynne’s $5,000 and Paul’s 1,100.
Enter Final Jeopardy.
The prompt was misleadingly difficult. The category was “The Calendar,” and the prompt itself was, “Calendar date with which the 20th century began.” After a few moments with the iconic music, the contestants put their pens down. And every one of them had the same response, “What is Jan 1, 1900.” They all must have felt good about their answers because each wagered everything they had.
“Oh boy. I’m at a loss for words. But in a situation like this…” Trebek said. “Hey, folks. Easy come, easy go. Because all of our contestants ended up with nothing, we have consolation prizes for each of them. Tomorrow on ‘Jeopardy!’ we’ll be bringing in three new players to play the game.”
That’s right. Because all of the contestants ended up with nothing, they all lost. It was a brutal result for Greg, who would have won for the second time if he had just held on to a few bucks instead of wagering everything.
The ‘Jeopardy!’ Tiebreaker
While these particular contestants from 1984 all tied in a loss. What happens when players end the game in a tie for the win? We found out in 2018 when the first-ever tiebreaker took place in a regular game.
The sudden death rule was established a few years prior, during tournament play. But on March 1, 2018, contestants Laura and Sarah ended the game tied at $6,799. They became the first regular players to enter a round of sudden death. According to the “Jeopardy!” website, the contestants are given a single clue from a fresh category, and the first correct response wins.
In this case, Laura happened to take down the win. You can watch the drama unfold below.