Amy Schneider, a “Jeopardy!” contestant with 30 games under her belt, has a winning streak of more than $1 million and has landed in the game’s top four highest-earning competitors.
However, as previous Jeopardy! contestants have demonstrated, winning is more than just having Mensa-level intelligence.
Database searches, fine-tuned buzzer tactics, pattern recognition, and even children’s books all contribute to the game being rigged.
Austin Rogers, a 12-time winner who took home $411,000 in 2017, told The Washington Post, “If anything has been on TV for 35 years, it comes with lots of patterns.”
The 43-year-old bartender from Spanish Harlem said he studied 11 hours per day for two weeks before his appearance after learning he would be on the show.
His go-to resource is the J! Archive, a fan-run database with over 48,000 game-board clues from episodes dating back to 1985.
“I would open random games [on the archive site] and play them in my head. I noticed what comes up the most. If a question says ‘artist in Iowa,’ it has to be Grant Wood,” said Rogers, whose book “The Ultimate Book of Pub Trivia by the Smartest Guy in the Bar” (Workman Publishing) is out Feb. 22. “And if it says ‘Thornton Wilder,’ the correct response always has to be ‘Our Town.’”
Regrettably, that was a hard lesson to learn: Rogers recalled, “Somehow [Thornton Wilder] was the only ‘Final Jeopardy!’ answer I got wrong.” “But, fortunately, I did well enough throughout the game to win.”
Users can also use the J! Archive’s search feature to see which answers are most frequently repeated on the show. “It tells you that if the word ‘Cubist’ appears, the answer will almost always be ‘Picasso,'” explained Rogers, who discovered this function after his run was over.
In December 2020, Jeffrey Williams, a TV editor from Los Angeles who appeared on one of late host Alex Trebek’s final programmes, took the advise of James Holzhauer, a Las Vegas gambler who famously won $2.4 million on the show in 2019.
“I picked up a tip from Holzhauer and bought children’s books on world history and geography and presidents,” Williams told The Post. “Holzhauer correctly pointed out that if you understand how the clues are written, a children’s level understanding of the topics provides big enough signposts to get you into the ballpark of an answer.”
Aspiring candidates should be aware of the show’s frequent pop-culture references, according to Rogers. “I watched movie adaptations of well-known works that frequently appear on ‘Jeopardy!’: ‘King Lear,’ ‘Sense and Sensibility,’ Bible documentaries,” Rogers, who hosts trivia nights at the Brazen Head bar in Boerum Hill, said.
He also concentrated on superlatives, such as the world’s longest rivers and highest mountains, as well as state capitals. He stated, “There is no justification for a ‘Jeopardy!’ contender not knowing those answers.” “They are easily remembered with mnemonics or songs.”