Why 'Jeopardy!' GOAT Ken Jennings Was 'Really Rooting' for Champ Matt Amodio

Ken Jennings rose to fame during his 74-game winning streak on Jeopardy! in 2004. Soaring in the game show ranks over the years, Jennings was crowned Jeopardy! GOAT in 2020 and brought on staff as a consulting producer. Now serving at the legendary lectern as guest host, Jennings shared his thoughts on another recent record breaker from the show.

Matt Amodio calls ‘Jeopardy!’ star Ken Jennings a ‘role model’

Yale student Matt Amodio became a fan favorite during his epic run on Jeopardy! Winning over $1.5 million during his 38 victories, Amodio knocked former champ James Holzhauer out of second place for most consecutive wins on the show.

Apparently, Amodio had taken notes watching Jennings work his trivia magic over the years on Jeopardy!

“One of the things that I found was an effective strategy, is follow everything that Ken Jennings says and try to duplicate it as best as I can,” Amodio told WTNH. “He’s been a role model. I remember watching him as a kid.”

Jennings caught the quiz one early on in his numerous Jeopardy! matches. “This guy is the Jeopardy! story no one is following,” Jennings tweeted in August with a picture of Amodio.

‘Jeopardy!’ GOAT favors consecutive wins

Amodio became a steady presence on Jeopardy! during his winning streak, with many viewers tuning in just to watch him master the quiz board. Jennings noted how gaining familiarity with a contestant can spark more interest in the competition.

“I like being able to get to know someone on Jeopardy!” he told USA Today. “So I liked seeing a champ who’s on for a week or two, or in Matt’s case even longer.”

Jennings related to the Ph.D. student having to ride the Jeopardy! roller coaster of continuous victories, trying to avoid an eventual dip. Amodio’s Jeopardy! run ended on Oct. 11, where he walked away with a new record, lots of cash, and an impressive claim to fame.

“I was really rooting for Matt,” Jennings remarked. “I know firsthand, there is kind of a plateau where you just start to glide up there and I think somebody is going to beat my record, the 74 games – I think that (record) can fall, and so I’m always very invested.”

Ken Jennings points out another ‘Jeopardy!’ champ’s strategy

Jennings competed against Holzhauer in January 2020 in Jeopardy!’s Greatest of All Time Tournament. An expert in betting, Holzhauer was known for going “all in” on Daily Double clues and risking huge sums of money. Jennings gave his former opponent props for the brave strategy but has difficulty executing those wagers himself.

“He’s a professional gambler, and he’s comfortable with the losses as long as there’s more wins than Iosses.” Jennings said of Holzhauer. The Jeopardy! guest host recalled “feeling very uncomfortable betting the price of a new Volvo on a single trivia question, sight unseen. I just did not have the stomach for it.”

Amodio echoed Jennings’ take on Holzhauer’s high-rolling habits, admitting he prefers to err on the conservative side.

“The problem is, [Holzhauer’s] a gambler, professionally, and I am a ‘minimize the risk at all costs’ type of personality,” Amodio told Entertainment Weekly. “There are times when I know a big wager is mathematically the right thing to do, and I just hate it. I really hate it. … I try to suck it up and do it anyway, but it does not come naturally to me.”

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