It’s extremely hard to become a Jeopardy! super champion, and extending a streak often comes down to both luck and skill. Reigning champion Megan Wachspress won her sixth match by the skin of her teeth, which has left fans of the show talking. Here’s what happened.
Who Is Megan Wachspress?
An attorney from Berkeley California, Wachspress is making history by just barely hanging on to become a six-day champion. Her tenure on the show has been marked not by domineering wins, but by a slew of lucky breaks. As she heads into her seventh game, she’s won $60,000. That’s nothing to scoff at, but it pales in comparison to the folks she’ll face in the Tournament of Champions. Previous champion Eric Ahasic had $160,601 after six days, and Ryan Long before him had $131,801.
How are her totals so low? Wachspress is incredibly lucky. She beat Ahasic by only $2 dollars to become champion in the first place. She was trailing heading into final jeopardy in her third game, but each contestant failed to answer correctly. A skillful bet meant she won by $2 again.
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Game four was especially close. Wachpress was trailing Sadie Goldberger heading into Final Jeopardy!. The clue was “Congratulating her on the 1869 release of her biography, Frederick Douglass wrote, “I have wrought in the day–you in the night.” Wachpress answered correctly, Harriet Tubman. Goldberger ran out of time, only writing “Harriet Tubma.” The judges couldn’t allow this, so Wachpress won again.
Her Luck Keeps Going
During game five, for the third time in her streak, Wachspress entered Final Jeopardy! trailing her competitors. Once again, all three contestants answered incorrectly. A conservative bet meant Wachspress won with a total of $401. Her peers actually went home with more money that night thanks to the complimentary prize—they left with a couple thousand dollars each.
This run of luck is incredible, and it’s still going. Heading into Final Jeopardy! in her sixth game, Wachpress was trailing the leader by $8,1000. She was the only contestant who answered correctly, but she still bet small. She won her sixth game by, wait for it, $2. In nearly every game of her streak, Wachspress has trailed heading into Final Jeopardy!, yet she keeps finding ways to win.
Jeopardy! fans are nothing if not dutiful, so Wachspress’ luck has certainly been noticed.
Another user questioned if Wachspress can be considered a true champion since her totals are so low. Obviously comparing anyone to James Holzhauer is going to make them appear unfavorable.
Another person accused the show of uncouth actions. Considering how many people would have to be in on this and the stakes of a potential backlash, it’s hard to imagine Jeopardy! is feeding anyone answers.
Whether you like her tactics or not, the fact is Wachspress has played her way into the Tournament of Champions. It’s hard to imagine her luck holding up against the likes of Amy Schneider and Matt Amodio.