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Who Is James Holzhauer? Pro gambler Smashes 'Jeopardy!' Single-game Record With Huge Number Very Special to His Family

A professional gambler has broken the record for single-game winnings on the game show Jeopardy!, taking home nearly $111,000 on Tuesday’s episode.

Four-time consecutive winner James Holzhauer from Las Vegas won a total of $110,914 in the episode—a number he intentionally hit as a reference to his daughter’s birthday on November 9, 2014 (11/09/14)—cementing his place among the greats.

The 34-year-old smashed the previous record for single-game winnings, which was set by Roger Craig on September 14, 2010 in the first episode of Season 27.

Craig took home $77,000 in the second game of what eventually turned out to be a six-game winning streak.

Before that, the record-holder was legendary game show contestant Ken Jennings, who set a single-game record of $75,000 in 2004, according to a statement from the show.

Holzhauer’s latest victory brings his total winnings from Jeopardy! to $244,000, The Associated Press reported. And this figure could rise when he faces two new challenges on Wednesday's show.

Contestants on Jeopardy! are given answers to unknown questions. Their task is to come up with what they think the correct question is.

In Tuesday’s episode, Holzhauer entered the final round with a total of $72,600, betting $38,314. He wrote down the correct winning question on his touchscreen—“What is quantum leap?”—to win the game by more than $98,000. The question was accompanied by the note “Happy birthday Booger,” a salute to his daughter.

“I said all along that I wanted to break Roger Craig’s one-game record, and I did it,” Holzhauer said, via ABC 11.

Jeopardy! is not the first game show that Holzhauer—who grew up in Naperville, Illinois—has appeared on. In 2014, he was a contestant on an episode of The Chase, putting in a strong performance, which, he said, prepared him well for his latest success.

“I think being on The Chase made me better prepared for the pressure of the cameras and lights, and it boosted my confidence going in to Jeopardy! since I knew I was capable of winning on a big stage,” he told The Naperville Sun.

Furthermore, he appeared on the show 500 Questions in 2015, heavy.com reported. Aside from his game show exploits, Holzhauer is also a competitive bridge player and a professional sports gambler.

At the end of Tuesday’s show—which was taped in February—host Alex Trebek suggested that Holzhauer could be on his way to matching the achievements of Jennings, who holds the longest winning streak on Jeopardy!,  with 74 consecutive wins.

“Is it too soon to start thinking about Ken Jennings comparisons?” Trebek asked.

Jeopardy! Game show host Alex Trebek rehearses his lines on the set of the "Jeopardy!" Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational Tournament Show Taping on April 17, 2010, in Culver City, California. Professional gambler James Holzauer broke the record for single-game winnings on the game show Jeopardy!, taking home nearly $111,000 on Tuesday's episode. Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

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