Jeopardy! Star James Holzhauer Debuts at the 2019 WSOP

James Holzhauer

The lure of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is such that it often attracts celebrities to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Elite sportsmen and women from the NBA and NFL are regulars at the WSOP, as are Hollywood actors, actresses, and directors. On June 2th, another star competed at the 2019 WSOP, James Holzhauer of Jeopardy! fame.

Holzhauer is a professional sports bettor who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada but has never stepped foot in the WSOP’s arena. Holzhauer has, however, famously appeared on American game shows.

On September 2nd, 2014, Holzhauer appeared on The Chase and eventually won a $58,333.33 share of the $175,000 team prize after answering 19 of his team’s 26 correct answers, a figure that remained a Final Chase record that was never surpassed.

Holzhauer Breaks Jeopardy! Record

More recently, and more famously, Holzhauer competed in the 35th season of the world-renowned game show Jeopardy! Holzhauer’s first appearance came on April 4, 2019 and he went on to set a record of 32 consecutive victories, netting an incredible $2,464,216 in the process. Amazingly, Holzhauer’s average daily winnings topped the scales at $74,673 per episode, much more than the reported $43,000 per episode Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek earns!

The University of Illinois graduate used to play online poker semi-professionally in the early 2000s, but admitted in an interview before taking his seat in the first of two WSOP events he was schedule to play that his poker skills were rusty and his main game plan was to get lucky.

Holzhauer Makes His WSOP Debut

Holzhauer entered the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty along with 1,866 other hopefuls, all vying for a coveted gold WSOP bracelet and the $260,335 first-place prize. The Jeopardy! star managed to grind his 25,000 starting stack to a peak of around 56,000 chips, but failed in his quest to reach the top 281 finishing places where the $1,586,950 prize pool was shared out, falling in 454th place.

This tournament was eventually won by German pro Jonas Lauck after 15.5 hours of play. The German secured his first WSOP bracelet and $260,335. While an impressive sum, it is not Lauck’s largest prize won from poker. That honor goes to the massive $1,517,541 awarded to lauck when he won the 2016 World Championship Of Online Poker (WCOOP) Main Event online at PokerStars.

$1K Super Turbo Bounty Proves Fruitless

Like a true champion, Holzhauer did not give up on his quest for glory and he jumped into the $1,000 Tag team No-Limit Hold’em event with the legendary partypoker Chairman Mike Sexton as his tag team partner. Unfortunately, Holzhauer and Sexton failed to make it through the first day’s play and busted from the tournament shortly before Day 1 concluded.

It was an invitation from Sexton that prompted Holzhauer to participate at the 2019 WSOP and Holzhauer pledged 50 percent of any winnings to charity Project 150 that serves the needs of more than 6,000 homeless, displaced and disadvantaged high school students.

Helping charitable causes is something close to Holzhauer’s heart. He recently donated $1,109.14, an amount in reference to his daughter’s birthday of Nov. 9, 2014, to the Naperville walk that was raising money for a pancreatic cancer charity. Holzhauer revealed he and his wife Melissa have so far donated in the region of $300,000 to various charities to date. Jeopardy! Host Alex Trebek recently announced he has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

The 2019 WSOP may be over for Holzhauer who said he could not play in the $10,000 Main Event in July due to a preplanned family vacation, but it is unlikely this is the last time he is seen in a poker room in Las Vegas, especially as he is close friends with poker pro Ben Yu who is himself a three-time WSOP bracelet winner.

Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


Ryan Hohner Takes Down partypoker US PKO Main Event

Ankush Mandavia Wins $2,500 CPPT Venetian Event

When And When Not To Continuation Bet