"Daily double" clues again had an effect on the "Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time" tournament Thursday night as writer Ken Jennings took a 2-to-1-match lead over sports gambler James Holzhauer.
Lancaster native Brad Rutter was either in second or third place for much of the two-game match, which was played and recorded last month, but had a stronger showing than he did on Tuesday's and Wednesday's episodes of the quiz show. He wound up in third place at the end of the two-game match.
Jennings won the two-game match on the show that aired Tuesday; Holzhauer won Wednesday's match. The first of the men to win three two-game matches wins $1 million, while the other two take home $250,000.
Jennings increased his point total significantly by making big bets on a "daily double" and the final Jeopardy! round in the first game. Despite reliably answering clues correctly, Holzhauer lost money on a "daily double" bet, which put him in second place behind Jennings without a chance to catch up.
While Rutter's point total went down to zero on one missed daily double clue, he doubled his money on others, holding a solid second place over Holzhauer near the end of the second game. He also answered more clues correctly overall than he had over the first two nights.
Rutter, an alumnus of Manheim Township High School and its Quiz Bowl team, has won more money on "Jeopardy!" than any other player on any game show in history: nearly $4.7 million. He's an actor, writer and producer in Los Angeles.
The final "Jeopardy" answer in Thursday's second game, about foreign-born Oscar-winning directors whose films failed to win best picture — Ang Lee and Alfonso Cuarón — tripped up all three men, none of whom wagered all his points.
The final two-game total scores of Thursday night's episode were Jennings, $67,600; Holzhauer, $33,692; and Rutter, a respectable $23,467.
When asked by host Alex Trebek how these three top players prepared for the tournament, Rutter said he did some review of some subjects, but felt he should have spent more time practicing on the buzzer. Holzhauer and Jennings were often quicker to buzz in.
During his initial "Jeopardy!" appearances, Jennings made history with the show’s longest-ever winning streak at 74 games. He has won $3.37 million.
Holzhauer, a professional gambler who won $2.7 million on the show in April through June of 2019, also holds records on “Jeopardy!”: all 15 of the show’s top single-day winnings.
Plenty of celebrities have been tapped to record video clues for the tournament, from Glenn Close offering answers about Broadway to Christopher Plummer giving clues about his career to Bryan Cranston quizzing the champs about chemistry — the initial profession of his meth-making "Breaking Bad" character.