Competing on Jeopardy! is undoubtedly a nerve-wracking experience. Most contestants manage to keep their cool while playing, but one players’ Final Jeopardy! Answer left some fans wondering what was going through his mind.
The Clue That Majorly Tripped One Contestant Up
Ben Hebert, Steph Martin, and Cris Pannullo competed against each other recently. Hebert and Martin managed to hold their own against Pannullo, a well-known Jeopardy! champion who was on a mean winning streak at the time.
It was clear Pannullo was going to win the game, but Hebert put up a pretty good fight. Unfortunately, his Final Jeopardy! answer made him lose out on over $10,000. The clue was: “In 2009, during a 20th anniversary celebration, it was called an ‘edifice of fear. On November 9, it became a place of joy.’”
Martin and Pannullo correctly guessed the answer was the Berlin Wall. Hebert was not so lucky—his answer was “The Bastille.” The answer wouldn’t be that off the wall, if not for the part of the clue that states the landmark celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2009.
The Storming of the Bastille took place in July of 1789, while the fall of the Berlin Wall happened on November 9, 1989—almost exactly 200 years later. Some fans have hypothesized that Hebert figured out he was looking for a year that ended in ‘89, but panicked and made an error.
How Much Hebert’s Nerves Cost Him
It’s an understandable mistake; competing on Jeopardy! would be difficult under any circumstances, but it would be even more anxiety-inducing to go up against a champion like Pannullo.
What makes Hebert’s mistake even more heartbreaking is how much he lost on his answer. He went into Final Jeopardy! with $12,400 and wagered $11,750 on his answer. His incorrect answer knocked him down to last place with $650.
Martin, who answered correctly, went into the final with $600. She wagered just $100 and ended the show with $700—just enough to take second place from Hebert. While the champion can claim their winnings, second and third place net $2,000 and $1,000 each regardless of their score.
Pannullo, of course, was the big winner of the night, taking home $37,421, which brought his winning streak’s total up to $748,286. Hebert, on the other hand, lost out on the extra $1,000.
Ben Hebert’s answer had many viewers groaning at his huge goof, but competing on Jeopardy! is definitely a lot harder than it looks. Flunking one answer is understandable, especially when going up against a champion. Plus, Jeopardy! fans don’t care about a single answer as much as they do about the competitor’s performance, and Hebert did excellent.
Fortunately for future competitors, Pannullo’s 21-game streak came to an end, leaving the game open for a new super champion to rise.