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October 4, 2015

'Jeopardy!' Has a New Genius: Grad Student Surpasses Ken Jennings' High One-Day Total (VIDEO)

by Maggie Furlong, posted Sep 14th 2010 10:30PM

Jeopardy'Jeopardy!' has been plugging along since 1984, winning 28 Emmys and improving cocktail conversations the world over with their interesting trivia tidbits. But on Sept. 14, one smart contestant made history.

Reigning champ and record-breaking winner Ken Jennings has been dethroned as the show's highest one-day winner. Roger Craig, a 33-year-old graduate student from the University of Delaware, now holds that title.

Jennings held the highest one-day record of $75,000 for more than six years; Craig's $77,000 win today puts his two-day total at $114,000. It's still nowhere near Jennings' total lifetime 'Jeopardy!' winnings of over $3 million, but it's definitely a start.

"Breaking Ken Jennings' record is simply amazing," Craig said. "I knew that I had a chance to set the new record going into Final 'Jeopardy!' so I thought what the heck ... I'll go for it."

Craig, who will earn his Ph.D. in computer science this fall, says he grew up watching the show after school in the late '80s, and first tried out for the Teen Tournament when he was a junior in high school, but wasn't selected. He also tried out three times since 2006 before being selected to appear on the Sept. 13 season premiere.

For him, it's all about strategy ... and, admittedly, a little bit about luck: "I made a lot of big wagers on Daily Doubles. I was really confident in certain categories and took advantage of those opportunities to earn as much money as I could ... I lucked out on my first game with a chemistry daily double. My undergrad degree is in bio chem."

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I wonder where in the WORLD these peopl,e that I deem intelligent, come up with the insipid things they talk about in their interviews!!! I am consistently appalled at what they tell...stupid.

September 16 2010 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did anyone else catch what he did? He wagered enough to have lost had the other guy bet enough and won. (unless the other guy's total of 10,000 was already after his answer to final jeopardy.

September 15 2010 at 2:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dee Dee

Jeopardy is won by folks who have memorized a great deal of trivia. This ability does not depend on a high IQ. By the same token, one can be incredibly smart and still not have a clue about boy bands, cooking equipment used for a "pig picking" or the mineral content of hard water. IQ measures our ability to reason and problem solve, not memorize. Most everyone can commit facts to memory. A true genius, Abler Einstein, said, "Never memorize anything you can look up".

September 15 2010 at 1:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am an avid Jeopardy viewer, since the days when it was hosted by Art Fleming. I share some dislikes of the current format once voiced by the former host on the Tom Synder show, as I remember. One thing Mr. Fleming said was the show could afford to let all the contestants keep what money they win. For the longest time, 2nd and 3rd place got some dumb door prizes instead of money. The show finally allowed $2000 for 2nd place, and $1000 for first place. Funny thing is, if-and this has happened-everybody misses final Jeopardy and the winner has less than a thou, he has the least amount of money, but gets to go on. Fleming also criticized the ridiculously easy answers sometimes given. One he cited was an answer that called for the ?, What is Quebec? The answer stated that the ? was in Canada and began with Q. That's still true.
As to the key to winning, you have to assume you'll be able to answer and ring in quickly. Ken Jennings did that a lot, even on categories he shouldn't have known much about. A well-rounded knowledge on a lot of different subjects, and the knowing that a lot of ?'s recur in different forms probably increases your chance of winning on the show.

September 15 2010 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bon a

How nice to see an intelligent man being reported on instead of T@A, housewiving or crazies or any combination of said three. He is an american idol, he is american talent, and hopefully he fathers a whole gaggle of children and brings them up just as smart.

September 15 2010 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I also was a Jeopardy contestant, both with Art Fleming in the early '70s & with Alex in '08. Contestants give Alex a choice of topics to discuss with them; the ones he picks are whatever resonates with him. We nerds have a lot in common so of course he'll have something personal to add. It isn't just a quiz show, you do need to read quickly & have fast reactions, and also bet strategically. My gutsy betting won me a nice piece of change but my 58-year-old reaction time did me in against a college phenom in the next game. So it goes.

September 15 2010 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Shirley Ohman

Every one knows the answers!!!! Contestants have to come up with the question!

September 15 2010 at 12:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Anne K.


September 15 2010 at 11:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good for him. Alex has to learn how not to talk about his experiences during the chatting section when the contestants talk about themselves. He always manages to take over the conversation and direct it towards his own experiences. Merv must be turning over in his grave every time he does that.

September 15 2010 at 11:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Looks like Ross the Intern from Leno

September 15 2010 at 10:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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