Well Played
January 08, 2020

Jeopardy GOAT gets off to incredible start; here's everything (format, times, SPOILERS), you need to know

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On Tuesday night, I received several urgent texts, emails, and Slacks all saying one thing: "No Jeopardy spoilers!" What a time to be alive, right? Well, other than that whole possible World War III thing. . .

Let's stick to the battle between gameshow titans that began in thrilling fashion under Alex Trebek's watch. Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer, and Brad Rutter kicked off the long-awaited Jeopardy GOAT tournament with one of the greatest exhibitions of brain power ever. SPOILERS to come. Although, to be fair, if you didn't make time for this live, or at least at some point Tuesday night, that's on you. Seriously, where are your priorities?

It began with a breathtaking, heart-pounding opening round in which the trio combined to correctly answer every clue. When they finally took a break from beating each others brains in with knowledge, Jeopardy James gave Ken a pound:

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I think this officially qualifies as a sporting event now. Ken then doubled up with a huge Daily Double in Double Jeopardy and never relinquished the lead after that in this two-game match (more on the format later). Despite James doubling up on Final Jeopardy in Game 2, Jennings wagered just enough (of course) to clip the Las Vegas gambler by a mere $200:

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Incredible. Other highlights included James mocking Brad, a Philadelphia native, for buzzing in ahead of him on a Philadelphia-related answer, and Trebek giving this clue:

Good to see the longtime host who was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer is still doing his thing. Hang in there, Alex. Also, as James noted after, the wagering was pretty aggressive:

Unfortunately/unluckily for James, he got none of those opportunities—something he was well aware of:

Despite Jeopardy James becoming a phenomenon during his dominant 32-game winning streak last year, a Jennings win would not be an upset. Keep in mind Ken won a staggering 74(!) games in a row in 2004. Vegas essentially listed the two as co-favorites. That is, before one sportsbook received so much action on one player that sportsbooks stopped offering wagers on the taped competition.

The best part of Tuesday night? The tournament is just beginning. And you've got to love the format, which will give all three contestants ample opportunity to prove who is the greatest of all time wielding the Jeopardy buzzer. Each night consists of two normal half-hour games that combine into one hour-long match. The first contestant to get to three matches will win the whole thing, plus a $1 million prize. The other two players will receive $250,000. That means there will be a maximum of seven matches, if necessary. (Please let this be necessary.) It's like a best-of-seven playoff series! Jeopardy is a sport! It's official! And check out these NFL-esque TV ratings!

Jeopardy GOAT action resumes on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET. So if you're not able to watch it as it airs, you might want to turn your phone off. There will be spoilers everywhere. It's Jeopardy GOAT Szn, y'all.


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