Matt Amodio surpasses competition in Jeopardy!


   For many people, being on Jeopardy! just once is enough to live out a dream. However, this person’s dream has turned into being a 34 day champion.

   Matt Amodio, a Ph.D. student from New Haven, CT, first started on Jeopardy! on July 12, 2021, and has won every game since. Amodio has been making headlines for his quick buzzer skills, recall, and his interesting playing style.

   “This is my dream come true,” said Amodio. “Every time I stand on the stage, I totally forget that I’ve ever done it before, and it’s just the pure joy of getting to play ‘Jeopardy!’” (Courant).

   The Jeopardy! host normally gives answers, and asks the contestants to give a question that would prompt the answer given. For example, “This high school in Rockford, Illinois has blue and white as their school colors. Their mascot is also a viking.” The answer would be “What is Guilford High School?” However, Amodio does something different when it comes to answering questions like: “This person was the first president of the United States, and is featured on the one dollar bill.” Normally, the answer would be “Who is George Washington?” Amodio, however, says “what” in place of “who,” which has been confusing a lot of people as this has rarely been done before. However, when he explains it, it makes a lot of sense.

   “I went about the approach of saying the fewer things to think about, the better,” said Amodio. “If you have a moving part, that moving part can go wrong and so I found the simplest, most repeatable approach I could and went with it,” (Jeopardy!).

   Amodio has even gotten recognition from Jeopardy! legends like Ken Jennings, who is known for winning 74 games, the most in any consecutive run, and James Holzhauer, who is known for his gambling strategy that won him the record of the most money won in a single game of Jeopardy!

   “I still can’t believe it,” said Amodio. “In terms of the top moments of my life, I assume getting my Ph.D. will be a good one. When I get married, that’ll be a good one. I’m not sure they’re gonna unseat Ken Jennings recognizing me. That’s really number one in my book,” (Vulture).

   Amodio is currently ranked at number three as most winnings earned for regular play, with a total of 1,350,801 dollars, behind Holzhauer’s 2,462,216 dollars, and Jennings’ 2,520,700 dollars.

   “I wanted to win one game,” said Amodio. “Being on the show is a tremendous accomplishment, and I don’t want to denigrate that at all. But once you win, you’re a Jeopardy! champion. You can call yourself a ‘Jeopardy! champion.’ Not a ‘Jeopardy! participant.’ That’s something nobody can take away from you,” (Vulture).

   Amodio loves the show, and loves going on Jeopardy!, and it looks like that love is not going away anytime soon.

   “Trivia has always mattered to me, because in a broader sense knowledge matters to me,” said Amodio. “I had instilled in me a love of learning from my parents, and I have carried that with me everywhere I go. I get a lot of joy out of learning things, any things, about the world. I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go on a show that values that quality and rewards it.” (New Haven Register).