What are the records for “Jeopardy!” winnings?

This answer might change soon, as James Holzhauer is on his way to topping the all-time record for Jeopardy! winnings. As of May 29, 2019, the records for Jeopardy! winnings are as follows:

  • Ken Jennings currently holds the all-time record for total winnings in consecutive games. He won 74 straight games in 2004, winning over $2.5 million before losing to Nancy Zerg.
  • Brad Rutter holds the all-time earnings record, as he has taken home more than $4.6 million from the show. However, many of his winnings came from special games with higher-than-average payouts; he won $250,000 in the Tournament of Champions, $2 million in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions, $1 million in the Masters Tournament, and $1 million in the Battle of the Decades.
  • James Holzhauer holds the earnings record for a single standard game, $131,127, which he set on April 17, 2019. He also holds the next nine spots on the list, and if he keeps winning, it’s possible that he’ll set another record.
  • The lowest reward for a single-game winner was first achieved by Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Darryl Scott, who won $1 during a 1993 appearance (nobody had the correct answer during the Final Jeopardy round). In 2017, Manny Abell tied Scott’s record with another $1 win.

Several important notes: Rutter appeared on the show in 2000 and won five games, at which point his streak ended due to the game show’s win limit, a rule that was lifted in 2003.

Second, Holzhauer, a professional gambler from Las Vegas, Nevada, seems poised to threaten Jennings' all-time streak; Holzhauer won his 30th consecutive match on May 29, 2019, adding to his running total for an astounding $2,323,971.

Holzhauer’s bold approach makes him an especially formidable Jeopardy! player. He attacks the bottom of the board to build up a bankroll, he told NPR, then purposely targets answer squares that are likely to contain a Daily Double, where he bets enormous amounts of money.

Previous winners have taken a more conservative approach. Ken Jennings' average Daily Double wager was $3,134, while Holzhauer bets an average of $9,266. He’s similarly confident during Final Jeopardy, betting $29,167 on average (Jennings’ average bet was a relatively paltry $7,665).

"[Holtzhauer has] gotten a lot of attention for his big wagers,” Rutter told The New York Post. “But if you don’t have the goods, it’s not going to do much for you.”

Time will tell whether Holzhauer can set the all-time record, but he’s clearly the most substantial threat to Jennings' legacy in recent memory.