Matt Amodio doesn’t come off as an aggressive person. He is a self-effacing graduate student from Ohio who hopes to become a computer science professor. But Amodio is also a strategically ruthless “Jeopardy!” player on the second-longest winning streak in the show’s history.
His biggest advantage is his broad knowledge, gleaned partly from reading Wikipedia pages late into the night. But he also benefits from a Moneyball approach to the game, looking for almost any small advantage.
He starts almost every response with “What’s … ,” rather than wasting mental energy on choosing among “What,” “Who” or “Where.” He pauses after saying “What’s …” even when he seems to know the answer, to double check himself. When the correct response is a person, he gives only the last name, to avoid a needless mistake on the first name.
He also uses a betting strategy — aggressive early, often cautious later — that maximizes his chances of winning the game, rather than maximizing his winning dollar total.
As of Friday’s show, Amodio, who is a graduate student at Yale, had won 38 games, still a long way from Ken Jennings’s record of 74. Amodio has somehow managed to become popular even among the players he beats, The Ringer’s Claire McNear reported: When his total winnings exceeded $1 million, he received a standing ovation from the defeated players in the room.
Wasn’t expecting Matt to lose Monday as usually losses like that are spoiled before the episode airs. They did a good job of keeping it under wraps. The only way Matt was going to lose was to run into two solid opponents and not find any daily doubles. That’s exactly what happened. Combine that with him being flustered and getting a bunch of questions wrong. Looking forward to seeing him again in the TOC. He made watching during the production mess fun.