After 38 victories and some $1.5 million in winnings, Yale PhD student Matt Amodio’s “Jeopardy!” streak came to an end Monday night.
The #AmodioRodeo was finally stopped by Jonathan Fisher, originally from Coral Gables, Fla. With $29,200, Fisher won by a slim margin over Nashville’s Jessica Stephens, who earned $28,799. Amodio came in third with $5,600.
One game-changer: Fisher found both Daily Doubles in “Double Jeopardy.” One of Amodio’s key strengths during his run was his knack for finding Daily Doubles and betting big.
Also, both Fisher and Stephens answered Final Jeopardy! correctly, while Amodio — in a rare misstep — did not.
Still, the New Haven resident made his mark in the “Jeopardy!” record books: On Sept. 24, he became the third contestant in “Jeopardy!” history to break $1 million in non-tournament play. Only Ken Jennings, with $2,520,700, and James Holzhauer, with $2,462,216, are ahead of him on the show’s all-time leader board.
Amodio made history again in early October, reaching second-place on the “Jeopardy!” all-time consecutive win list when he hit win number 33, passing Holzhauer’s 32-game streak.
Amodio, 30, ends his run behind only Jennings, now an executive producer of the show who’s set to guest host soon. Jennings set his record 74 wins in 2004.
But we haven’t seen the last of the Connecticut whiz kid. Amodio has earned his ticket to the next Tournament of Champions.
Despite critics coming at Amodio early on for his use of “what’s” in all responses — i.e. “What’s Hanks” instead of “Who is Tom Hanks” — he was unflappable.
Throughout the streak, Amodio earned a loyal Twitter fanbase, by joking with Holzhauer and Buzzy Cohen, petitioning to get on Stephen Colbert’s show (c’mon, Colbert, he even named his dog after you), and reacting to Reddit threads about his duds. He earned a reputation online as a gracious winner and someone generous with interactions on Twitter.
An Ohio native, Amodio has lived in Connecticut since 2017. We caught up with Amodio to ask about his “Jeopardy!” run.
Q. How did it feel to see your streak end?
A. I was very sad to see it end. I loved every second of playing “Jeopardy!,” and wanted it to go on forever. It would’ve been especially sweet to make it long enough to play under my idol Ken Jennings as host. (Jennings starts Nov. 8.)
Q. What will do you with the winnings?
A. I’m going to save it. I know it’s boring, but I’m hoping not to have to spend a penny of it for a long time.
Q. What was your time on “Jeopardy!” like overall?
A. I had the thrills of a lifetime on “Jeopardy!” and I was especially pleased to meet great people along the way, including other contestants, hosts, and “Jeopardy!” workers. I don’t think I could pick a favorite host. I got to meet so many amazing people who did amazing jobs.
Q. Are you still in school?
A. I’m still doing my PhD as normal, and I hope to become a professor soon — maybe even next school year.
Q. Anything you’d want to add about your time on the show?
A. I’ve just been so grateful for all the positive support and kind words people have given me throughout this run. It’s warmed my heart how nice people can be to one another.