NEW YORK – James Holzhauer, the trivia whiz who dominated “Jeopardy!” this spring, isn't invincible after all.
The game show's 32-time champion lost for the first time in an episode that aired Monday, falling short of records for total winnings and longest reign but still making an argument that he's the best to ever play TV's most popular game.
The pro sports gambler from Las Vegas ended his run by high-fiving the woman who beat him, Chicago librarian Emma Boettcher.
“I really felt like I had been playing with house money, so I wasn't too upset to see my run end,” Holzhauer, 35, said in an email. He said he ran into “a terrific opponent playing flawlessly.”
Holzhauer nearly doubled the show's previous record for one-day winnings with $131,127 on his 10th game. He leaves with the 16 highest one-day scores in the show's history.
In the end, Boettcher made a bold move as she went into the show's final question with a lead over Holzhauer, and she bet $20,201 to ensure he couldn't beat her.
Holzhauer had won $2,462,216 through Friday's episode, leaving him a little more than $58,000 shy of the record for earnings set by Ken Jennings in 2004. Holzhauer didn't get halfway to Jennings' 74-game win streak.
“I was surprised to see James go down considering how unbeatable he has looked, but it just goes to show how fragile a 'Jeopardy!' streak is,” Jennings said Monday. “The end is always just one bad break away.”