Alex Jacob, the former poker player turned trader, has just become the 2015 Jeopardy Champion of Champions.
Following a successful run in the show in April, Jacob was invited back to compete in the Tournament of Champions last week. Lining up against a selection of previous winners, Jacob was able to power his way through to the finale using a combination of knowledge, tactics, and luck.
During his first run on the show, Jacob not only demonstrated an impressive depth of general knowledge, but a strong understanding of the strategy required to thrive.
One of the main tactics Jacob used was running down the clock. Stalling for time whenever he had the upper hand not only frustrated his opponents (and many people watching), but allowed him to squeeze out extra value when he was ahead.
This sort of thinking was indicative of Jacob’s time as a professional poker player and eventually led to him winning on multiple days and banking $151,802. Although a far cry from the $2.5 million he made while playing poker tournaments, the money and accolades were enough to earn him a place in the Tournament of Champions.
When the action got underway last week, Jacob cruised through his first round match by maneuvering himself into an unbeatable position before the final round.
With his stack sitting at $26,800 and his opponents holding $10,200 and $8,400, respectively, they weren’t able to risk enough in the Final Jeopardy round to match the 31-year-old’s total.
With his first round match out of the way, Jacob took on Matt Jackson and Kerry Greene at the end of the week and managed to win in equally comfortable fashion. Split over two days, the Championship Match was a clean sweep for Jacob, but it wasn’t without its dangers.
On Day 1 of the final, he made a huge bet (players can wager some or all of their current prize money on certain questions) and was given the answer from which to formulate the correct question: “Louie’s backyard is a party sport in this Texas spring break destination.”
With all his winnings on the line, a wrong answer would have put Jacob out of the running. Fortunately, he came up with the correct question with “What is South Padre Island?” and took his stack to more than $30,000.
With a huge lead generated by the end of Day 1, Jacob went into the final day in an almost unbeatable position and finally clinched the tournament and $250,000, despite giving an incorrect on his final question.
Following the conclusion of the show, Alex Trebek, Jeopardy’s long-time show host, called Jacob’s performance one of the most dominant he’s ever seen in his 30+ year stint in the hot seat.
As for Jacob, he credited much of his success to his time as a poker player, and vowed to use at least some of his winnings to take his wife away for a honeymoon.
Watch highlights of Jacob’s mind-blowing performance on Jeopardy below.