BSU staffer who won on Jeopardy says current champ uses unique strategy

BSU employee Scott McFadden appeared on four Jeopardy games last year. (Photo: WTHR)
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MUNCIE, Ind. (WTHR) — An Indiana man is sharing insight about how someone might beat the latest Jeopardy sensation, James Holzhauer.

Holzhauer has racked up more than $1 million playing the game show in the last couple weeks and plays again Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. on WTHR.

Scott McFadden works as the head of serials cataloging at the Bracken Library at Ball State University. He started watching Jeopardy in college and actually made it on the show last year.

"February of last year, of 2018, is when I actually recorded the shows," said McFadden. "I remember the Olympics was on at the time because I remember watching some of the skiing at the hotel after."

Scott had some success there, too. He won three times and then lost in the fourth game, but his streak pales in comparison to what America is watching now: Jeopardy James winning 18 in a row so far.

"Nobody has ever really adopted the strategy he is using, which is to go for the big value clues first so they can accumulate a good pot of money," said McFadden. "When he does find a Daily Double, he has a lot to bet with."

What shocks McFadden even more is that Holzhauer usually bets everything.

"You have to have real nerves of steel to do that sort of thing," said McFadden. "He knows a lot of things. It's no good to hunt for those big clues if you don't know the answer, but he usually does."

Monday night's show, where the second place contestant was within $18 of the champ at Final Jeopardy, showed other contestants can come close, but can they beat James?

"Who's going to be capable of doing that? We'll have to wait and see," said McFadden. "I don't know."

McFadden suggested a couple ways someone could beat Holzhauer. The first involves taking advantage of when he gets tired. McFadden says they usually shoot five shows a day, with only a quick break for contestants to change clothes. He says if Holzhauer gets tired, he may make a mistake.

Another way would be if one of Holzhauer's biggest plays were to backfire. He usually bets big on the Daily Doubles (and wins) but if he misses one, that could come back to bite him.

Jeopardy airs at 7:30 p.m. on WTHR Channel 13.