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Who Is "Jeopardy!" Contestant Matt Amodio? The Champ Is Already Planning a Return

Even with his controversial answer style, the player had a 38-game winning streak.

It's fitting that the question "Who is Matt Amodio?" would be an acceptable response if you were actually playing Jeopardy! Like Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer before him, Amodio is a contestant who became famous for his exceptional performance on the iconic game show. Read on to learn more him, his personal life, and the records he's set.

RELATED: "Jeopardy!" Fans Are Fed Up With This Season: "I've Lost All Interest in Watching."

When was Matt Amodio on Jeopardy!?

Amodio's run on Jeopardy began with Episode #8448, which aired on July 21, 2021. At the time he first appeared on the show, he was a PhD student studying advanced computer science at Yale University. And although he had been a fan of the game show since he was a kid, he applied to compete on his own accord but because his dad insisted on it.

"I was only reluctantly trying out because I didn't think I would make it, and even if I did make it I wouldn't be very good," the now-33-year-old told Entertainment Weekly after his first seven games. "I only tried out at the behest of my dad, who insisted, as any parent would, 'My son is awesome. He would do so well.' And so I said 'Fine, I'll do it for you.'"

Amodio went on to win 38 consecutive games of Jeopardy!, finally losing when Jonathan Fisher—an actor who went on to have an 11-game win streak himself—bested him in the Oct. 11, 2021 episode.

Amodio's tenure on the show took place during the era when Jeopardy! was cycling through guest hosts under consideration to replace the late Alex Trebek. Robin Roberts, LeVar Burton, David Faber, Joe Buck, Mike Richards, and Mayim Bialik each took a spin hosting while he was playing.

When it comes to gameplay, Amodio was known for always responding with "what's…" or "what is…" rather than tailoring his responses to be more grammatically correct, for example, when the answer was a person. Amid some fan backlash, Jeopardy! confirmed that those responses were technically correct. He told the Associated Press (as reported by that his strategy helped eliminate "unnecessary moving parts" that could distract him from providing the correct answer.

RELATED: Fired Jeopardy! Host Says Aaron Rodgers Was "Most Prepared" to Replace Alex Trebek.

Did Matt Amodio set any records on Jeopardy!?

When Amodio was finally bested, he'd won 38 consecutive games—at the time the second-longest winning streak in Jeopardy! history behind Ken Jennings' legendary 74-game winning streak back in 2014. Now, however, Amodio holds the record for the third-longest winning streak in regular season play, as Amy Schneider won 40 consecutive games shortly after he left the show. Her first episode was Nov. 17, 2021, and she wasn't knocked out until Jan. 26, 2022.

Additionally, Amodio currently holds the title of having the third-highest total winnings from regular season play, sitting behind only Jennings in the No. 1 spot and Holzhauer in the No. 2 spot. Holzhauer won 32 games total, putting him behind Amodio on that leaderboard, but Holzhauer famously won a great deal of money, as he holds the top 12 spots on the list of highest single-game winnings.

Amodio is fifth on the list of all-time earnings from Jeopardy!, a figure which includes both regular season winnings and championship winnings. Brad Rutter, Jennings, Holzhauer, and Schneider are ahead of him.

He does actually hold one Jeopardy! record, right now, albeit not an especially glamorous one. Amodio has the dubious honor of having lost the most and second-most money that any player has ever lost on Final Jeopardy!, having lost $37,000 in his 11th game and $34,000 in his 14th. However, due to his substantial lead in both games, he was still the winner.

How much money did Matt Amodio make on Jeopardy!?

Amodio's all-time earnings from Jeopardy!, including his Championship play, is, $1,679,601. During his 38-game winning streak, he won $1,518,601. The most he ever won from a single game was $83,000.

RELATED: Controversial Jeopardy! Player Slammed for "Rude and Gross" Remark During Game.

What is Matt Amodio's education?

Matt Amodio on The Dan Patrick Show in 2021
© Dan Patrick Show/YouTube

The Jeopardy! champ was the valedictorian of Medina High School in Ohio, graduating in 2009. He went on to attend Ohio State, graduating in 2012 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Actuarial Science and a Master of Science in Applied Statistics degree in 2013. He got a second master's degree in 2015, when he graduated from the University of Wisconsin after studying artificial intelligence. He was pursuing his PhD in Computer Science from Yale while he was on Jeopardy!.

What's Matt Amodio doing now?

After competing on Jeopardy!, Amodio completed his PhD at Yale. According to his LinkedIn profile, he is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, a biomedical and genomic research center.

He returned to Jeopardy! in 2022 for the Tournament of Champions, where he was eliminated in the semifinals. He was also a contestant in 2023 on Jeopardy! Masters, a spin-off show that had Amodio and five other recent all-star contestants face off against each other. He came in third, and that top three placing earned him an invite to the upcoming second season. The premiere date has not been announced, but is expected to be in 2024.

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Is Matt Amodio married?

Matt Amodio on Jeopardy!
© Jeopardy!/YouTube

Amodio is not married, though he told Newsweek after his run on Jeopardy! was over that his appearance on the show had certainly made him a more eligible bachelor.

"I have had romantic proposals since being on Jeopardy!" he said. "I've had a lot of messages asking me out, but I don't think when they come via Twitter they really count. The first two I would say were funny jokes, and I thought it was silly. But there have been a lot since, and I don't know exactly how to interact with those. I'm single at the moment and I hope that perhaps having been on Jeopardy! will make my life in the dating sphere a little easier! But I'm also decompressing a little bit from my Jeopardy! experience and so dating will be a post-Jeopardy! undertaking."

James Grebey
James has been an entertainment journalist for more than a decade, writing and editing for outlets like Vulture, Inverse, Polygon, TIME, The Daily Beast, SPIN Magazine, Fatherly, and more. Read more
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