How To Win Jeopardy

How To Beat The Game Show That Has Tricked Millions

By: Luke Sangkharat, Journalist

Have you ever wondered how James Holzhauer, Amy Schneider, or Ken Jennings were able to finesse the system and beat Jeopardy? Well, it all comes down to a few factors. The first, surprisingly enough, is the way you hold your buzzer.

The Buzzer

James Holzhauer

In 2019, James Holzhauer went on a historic Jeopardy run, amassing a total of $2,462,116 during a 32 game win streak. He currently holds the top ten for most single-game winnings. That’s right, he holds every spot in the top ten and sixteen out of the top seventeen. His top score of $131,127 was almost $50,000 more than the next highest person at 13th with $83,000 in winnings. This all came from one thing; the way he held his buzzer. The way you hold the buzzer is one of the most important things in a game where almost everyone knows every answer to every clue. The most renowned winners focused on their buzzer knowledge instead of their actual knowledge. According to Jeopardy producers, James asked many questions on how the buzzer worked before the contest. This helped him hone his knowledge and buzz in quicker than any of his opponents. With the help of his friends, he made a custom buzzer test, and after with 27,000 tests, he lowered his reaction time from an average .228 seconds to a superhuman .126 seconds. With this edge and his intelligence, he was able to buzz in and answer any question before most of the other contestants.


Intelligence and quick thinking is also a key factor to success in Jeopardy. If you buzz in, you don’t get any points if you can’t find the correct answer. Contestants need to be well versed on all sorts of different topics such as science, sports, literature, and even American history. Another important part of Jeopardy smarts is sniffing out the elusive Daily Double. Players like James Holzhauer knew exactly how to do so. The Daily Double almost never is in the first two rows and is statistically more likely in the fourth row. Even though contestants are told to start in the first row, James would always start on the bottom to achieve the coveted Daily Double. As a previous sports gambler, when he found it, he would always go “all in”. In Final Jeopardy, he would bet upwards of 50 to 60 thousand dollars, which propelled him to his $131,127 win on April 17, 2019.


Many tricks and strategies are necessary to perfect the game of Jeopardy, and learning these unorthodox skills takes long amounts of time. Overall, whether you’re an upcoming contestant, or it’s just you and your family watching and playing along, these are the skills that are required for success in the renowned game show.

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