The Truth About Winning Jeopardy!

Jeopardy! debuted back in 1964, and ever since, the game show has been nothing but must-see TV. Loyal fans tune in every evening, and even watch repeats if it so happens that's what airs. The show, while defined by its tough questions, is in the end still a quiz show. A terribly simple concept, but the game never loses its ability to create suspense, drama, and delight. Winning Jeopardy! is a badge of honor. In fact getting a handful of questions right from your couch is already something to brag about.

In a piece by Mental Floss, one of the many secrets uncovered was that the benefits of winning Jeopardy! are lasting. Many former contestants, for instance, list their appearance on their resumes in an effort to stand out from the rest. And if one can add that they won a few episodes as well, all the better. Even if one doesn't win though, just getting on the brainy show is an accomplishment not many can say they've done.

Jeopardy! winners need to follow a few rules

Winning Jeopardy! requires not only the right answers, but a good strategy. One would think that after more than 55 years on air, all the strategies would have been exhausted by now but as James Holzhauer proved back in 2019, there's always a new tack to employ.

During Holzhauer's record-setting run, he bet like no one ever before. The professional gambler was "all-in" all the time and as a result, he amassed more than $1 million in only 14 games. FiveThirtyEight at the time said that Holzhauer's pace would see him surpass Ken Jennings' regular-season record of $2,520,700 in 34 games compared to the 74 it took the "greatest of all time." Though Holzhauer's bid fell short, his march toward that goal was all anyone could talk about.

All Jeopardy! winners, even stars like Holzhauer, Jennings, and all-time earnings record-holder Brad Rutter, need to follow certain rules when on the game show and then after. Chief among them is that they must stay mum on what happened on the show until their episode actually airs, which is months away. In addition, winners get paid down the road: about six months down. Another rule involves the buzzer. Basically, if contestants buzz in too soon, they'll lock themselves out. If they buzz in too late, they lose their chance (via Mental Floss). Also Jeopardy! tapes five episodes a day, meaning that most winners likely lose the same day (via