The rematch is on, as an epic “Jeopardy!” showdown between a prolific champion and the contestant who beat him is set to begin Thursday.
James Holzhauer, a Las Vegas sports bettor who won 32 consecutive games on “Jeopardy!” earlier this year, advanced to the final round of the television show’s Tournament of Champions on Tuesday. He’ll face Emma Boettcher — a librarian from Chicago who ended Holzhauer’s regular-play winning streak on an episode that aired in June — in the two-day final round that airs Thursday and Friday.
Holzhauer won $2.46 million during his historic run that aired in the spring, notching the 16 highest single-game scores in the show’s history along the way. Thanks to Boettcher, Holzhauer came up roughly $56,000 short of the show’s all-time winnings record, behind computer scientist and author Ken Jennings, who won $2.52 million during a 74-game winning streak in 2004.
Boettcher won $46,801 to best Holzhauer in the episode that aired June 3. She would go on to win the next two games, before falling in her fourth appearance, but it was enough to earn a spot in the Tournament of Champions.
Holzhauer, known for being quick on the buzzer, admitted that Boettcher rattled him in their first meeting.
“I was a little shook during Double Jeopardy,” Holzhauer told ESPN after his streak-ending defeat, “because I was playing from behind and constantly getting beaten on the buzzer by Emma.”
In the Tournament of Champions, Boettcher won her semifinal match with $29,601 in the episode that aired Monday. Holzhauer secured his spot in the finals with a $30,156 performance in his semifinal match.
Holzhauer correctly answered 27 of his 28 responses and buzzed in first 42.1% of the time. Boettcher was correct on 21 of her 23 responses and was first on the buzzer in 38.6% of the clues in her semifinal round.
A third contestant for the final round will be decided during Wednesday’s episode.
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