Jeopardy is one of the world’s most popular game shows, and now a professional poker player has proven that he can hang with the trivia experts and geniuses among the show’s contestants.
Alex Jacob, winner of the 2006 United States Poker Championship, has won two consecutive nights on Jeopardy, collecting $49,600 in winnings in the process.
Jacob made his first appearance on the show on Friday, when he was introduced as a currency trader from Chicago.
He took down defending champion Chris Hurt, riding a strong performance in Double Jeopardy to an insurmountable lead in the Final Jeopardy round.
He followed that up with a second win in an episode that aired on Monday, meaning he will appear again on Tuesday night and continue his run until someone beats him on the show.
Jacob is best known in the poker world for two major cashes. In 2006, he finished second at the World Poker Tour’s Foxwoods Poker Classic, winning $655,507.
He followed that up later in the year by winning the United States Poker Championship in Atlantic City, winning $878,500. That was enough to place him 20th on the 2006 Money List, making him one of the most successful poker players of the year.
Since then, Jacob hasn’t had as many big cashes, but through 2012 he was still performing well, particularly at the World Series of Poker.
In total, he has 25 listed WSOP cashes, including a 3rd place finish in a 2007 $1,500 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament, which earned him $282,367.
In total, Jacob has won over $2.6 million in live tournaments throughout his career.
As you might expect from a poker player, Jacob hasn’t just been answering questions correctly during his winning run, but he has also been playing the game well when possible.
On the Two Plus Two forums, at least one poster noted that once Jacob had the lead, he took his time and stalled whenever possible, including making a safe bet during a second Daily Double in order to limit the opportunities for his opponents to claw their way back into the game.
That smart play continued when he made it to Final Jeopardy with a big lead on Friday, when he chose not to bet any money knowing he had an unassailable lead.
Jacob had a much easier time on Monday, holding a strong lead throughout the contest. By the time Final Jeopardy came around, he had won $26,400, putting him almost $20,000 ahead of his nearest competitor.
Apparently, Jacob wasn’t confident in his knowledge of the Final Jeopardy category, Geography: he bet $0, and rather than answer which two bodies of water the Caucasian Isthmus was located, he instead wrote a message thanking his loved ones for their support.
While Jacob is certainly on an impressive run, he has a long way to go before entering the pantheon of truly legendary Jeopardy champions, let alone breaking any records.
The most successful Jeopardy contestant of all-time is Ken Jennings, who won 74 times in a row to take home over $2.5 million in prize money. Last year, Julia Collins set the second-longest win streak ever when she won 20 games in a row, taking home $428,100 in the process.