Entertainment

This Jeopardy champion just earned the title Greatest of All Time

Being bold paid off for new Jeopardy mega-champion Ken Jennings, while it didn't for his opponents. Jennings won his third match in the Jeopardy: Greatest of all Time contest televised Tuesday, an event that's been a prime-time hit for ABC.

Who is Ken Jennings, winner of $1M while James Hozhauer, Brad Rutter left with $250K each

Ken Jennings won a third match in the Jeopardy: Greatest of all Time contest televised Tuesday, earning the title of ultimate champion of the TV trivia show. (Chris Pizzello/Associated Press)

Being bold paid off for new Jeopardy mega-champion Ken Jennings, while it didn't for his opponents.

Jennings won his third match in the Jeopardy: Greatest of all Time (G.O.A.T.) contest televised on Tuesday, an event that's been a prime-time hit for ABC.

He pocketed $1 million US by dispatching James Holzhauer, who won one match, and Brad Rutter, who came up empty.

The gamesmanship between the three men considered the most accomplished and best known in the modern history of the show, with longtime Canadian-born Alex Trebek as host, proved entertaining while containing all the tension of a major sporting match.

Jennings took a strong lead in the first game of Tuesday's match by borrowing a strategy popularized by Holzhauer, twice betting all of his points on a Daily Double and winning. He signalled his intention by imitating Holzhauer's gesture of a poker player pushing all of his chips to the centre of the table.

In a Final Jeopardy question about Greece, Jennings bet all 32,800 of his points on the clue: "This area of Greece, home to Pan, is synonymous with a rural paradise; it's a setting for Virgil's shepherd poems the Eclogues." 

He correctly posed the question answer, "What is Arcadia?"

Jeopardy champions, from left, Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter, pose together in Pasadena, Calif., on Wednesday at the 2020 ABC Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour. (Chris Pizzello/Associated Press)

Holzhauer was leading in the second game of the match, where the Final Jeopardy question asked competitors to identify the non-title character in a Shakespearean tragedy with the most speeches.

Jennings correctly answered, "Who is Iago?" But he bet none of his points.

That left an opening for Holzhauer to take the match if he bet all his points and got it right. He bet all his points, but answered, "Who is Horatio?"

At the end, Hozhauer and Rutter hoisted Jennings on their shoulders in honour. The losers each took home $250,000.

It's hard not to imagine they'll play again sometime, given the show's success. But the night had a tinge of nostalgia and sadness as Trebek fights pancreatic cancer. 

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