James Holzhauer isn’t on “Jeopardy” tonight because of the game show’s annual “Teachers Tournament.” Fans of the dominant champion from Las Vegas will have to wait two weeks to watch him try to continue his dominant run.
The “Teachers Tournament” will be aired from May 6 until May 17 and Holzhauer and the regular version of “Jeopardy” will return on May 20. Holzhauer has won a stunning $1,691,008 during his 22-game streak. Holzhauer has won the second most games in a row in “Jeopardy” history, after breaking Julia Collins’ mark of 20 consecutive games. He is still chasing down legendary “Jeopardy” champion Ken Jennings, who won $2,522,700 during a 74-game run.
Taping for the current season of “Jeopardy” has already wrapped for the year. It has not leaked as to whether Holzhauer remained champion at the end of the Season 32 taping. But if he did, Holzhauer would have won 62 games.
Holzhauer, an Illinois native who now lives in Las Vegas with his wife and daughter and is a professional sports gambler, made his “Jeopardy” debut on April 4. On April 9, just four games into his run, Holzhauer made headlines by breaking the single-game “Jeopardy” winnings record with an astonishing $110,914, shattering Roger Craig’s 2010 record of $77,000. “Jeopardy” had been teasing Holzhauer’s run prior to the start of this year’s season, calling him the “next great champion.”
While Holzhauer won’t be on TV for the next two weeks, fans can expect an exciting “Teachers Tournament.” The annual competition, held during Teacher Appreciation Week, features 15 educators from around the country with a grand prize of $100,000 on the line.
“Teachers are the only profession for whom we’ve created a special tournament, which I hope shows how much everyone at JEOPARDY! values their work,” host Alex Trebek said in a statement. “This group of contestants will certainly make their students and their communities proud.”
The “Teachers Tournament” made its debut on “Jeopardy” in 2011. Along with the $100,000 top prize, the second place finisher takes home $50,000, and third place takes home $25,000 (or their combined scores from the two-game final, whichever is higher). Semifinalists win $10,000, while those eliminated in the quarterfinals receive $5,000.
The winner of the tournament also qualifies for the “Tournament of Champions,” which features tournament winners and top champions from the regular season. The 2012 winner, Colby Burnett, then a teacher at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Illinois, is the only teacher to go on to win the Tournament of Champions. After the 2013 win, Burnett also competed on the “Battle of the Decades” and was a captain for the “Jeopardy All-Star Games” earlier this year.
The 2018 “Teachers Tournament” was won by Larry Martin, a teacher at Belinder Elementary School in Prairie Village, Kansas. Tragically, Martin died on January 25, 2019, after a bout with cancer.
Martin was a second-grade teacher for nearly 30 years and was a fixture of his community.
“During his short time with us, Larry was complimentary about his competitors, humble about his success, and generous in the credit he gave to the students who had helped him prepare. On the recognition he received for his win, he said, ‘In a just world, every teacher would receive this kind of attention and praise … for the difficult and important work that we all do,'” Jeopardy said in a tribute post. “Larry’s win earned him an invitation to the next Tournament of Champions. We intend to honor his memory at that time, but until then, we will keep his name listed in the Tournament Tracker. It is with great sadness that we place an asterisk next to that name.”