Matt Jackson’s 13-game “Jeopardy!” winning streak has come to an end.
The 23-year-old paralegal from Washington fell to New York City’s Michael Baker after amassing $411,612 in total winnings on the syndicated game show. Those winnings puts him fourth on the all-time regular season (non-tournament) money winning list. He is behind notable contestants Ken Jennings ($2,520,700 over 74 wins), Dave Madden ($432,400 over 19 wins) and Julia Collins ($428,100 over 20 wins).
“It is pretty hard to wrap my mind around,” Jackson said. “While I was in the middle of playing, I really didn’t want to think of it as money because it could mess with my ability to make wagers and take calculated risks. So it’s still hard to believe it will be actual prize money coming my way soon.”
Jackson called the show an endurance test, citing quick bites of food or exercises as ways he kept himself sharp during the multiple episode tapings.
“A returning champion finds out pretty quickly that ‘Jeopardy!’ is actually, under the surface, an endurance contest,” he said. “A whole week’s worth of episodes gets taped in a day, with maybe 10 minutes of rest between each episode, though there is a slightly longer lunch break. A huge part of staying alive as a contestant comes down to whether you can stay alert, and a lot of people tire out quickly while the studio lights are on and adrenaline is high. I tried to pay close attention to whether I was getting hungry or fatigued or dehydrated, and made sure to correct that with a small snack between shows, or some jumping jacks, or whatever I needed. I think that has made a big positive difference.”
Jackson plans to donate 10 percent of the winnings to a variety of charities. Those winnings have also qualified him to return for the Tournament of Champions, airing Nov 9 to 20.