JEOPARDY! Masters finalist Mattea Roach has amazed fans by coming in a hard-fought 2nd place winning $250,000, but some spotted that their wager was the only reason they didn’t win it all.
Fans launched into a fierce debate over Mattea’s slightly hefty bet in the last round since they were leading James going in.
Mattea played strong, and was actually leading in match points going into Masters’ Final Jeopardy! against none other than the infamous James.
Mattea – who uses they/them pronouns- had $22800 in the second match (and $47600 total) while James had $9600 (and $43914 total combining the first match).
Things changed for Mattea after they revealed their wager to host Ken Jennings, 48.
The tough tournament-concluding question was under the category “Latin literature”.
Ken asked the competitors to name “A work by this 15th century English Writer quotes the phrase Rex Quandam Rexque Futurus.”
Mattea still wagered $5,915, whereas James’ savvier bet was a safe $119.
Mattea’s bet was not wrong since it would have covered James’ being correct if they were also correct and he bet his $9600, but neither happened.
No one could guess “Thomas Mallory” and by just $2100 James won out.
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Had Mattea waged nothing, they technically would’ve gotten the champion title, the $500,000 grand prize, and the prized Trebek Trophy.
Mattea ended in second place, still, something to be vastly proud of – and Matt Amodio won the third-place prize of $150,000.
‘IF THEY BET ZERO THEY WOULD HAVE WON’
Fans took Mattea’s loss to heart, emphasizing on social media that if they had anticipated James’ strategy they could have pulled it off.
One slightly frustrated fan shared on Twitter: “They were leading in points going into finale’s final Jeopardy! and would have won if they bet zero, even though their bet made sense.”
Another cosigned: “Yes. Mattea’s only mistake was not assuming James would get Final wrong – an exceedingly rare event.”
A third fan added: “Mattea, why would you wager that if you know you weren’t sure smh. James is gon take this sh*t. #JeopardyMasters.”
A fourth noted: “They would have won if they’d wagered nothing but only because James was wrong.”
A fifth fan added: “Since wagers are made before the clue is read, wagering with the assumption that James would be correct makes sense. (If u think worth doing).”
Someone else presented: “Well James won as most people predicted. Mattea was so close though, if [they] had just wagered nothing in that final jeopardy response she would’ve won it all.”
Ken announced that all three will be guaranteed slots in next year’s Masters – and James won an additional $100,000 for Project 150 (which helps Las Vegas-area high school students with insecure housing).
James whispered “Your dad would be so proud of you” and went over and hugged Mattea – who lost their father mid-filming – before he was given the Trebek Trophy.
Mattea took to Twitter one day after defying the odds and almost winning Jeopardy! Masters.
They wrote: “The dust has settled after the first-ever Jeopardy Masters and it’s time to give the champion his flowers!!”
“James Holzhauer proved beyond a shadow of a doubt in this competition that he is THE top Jeopardy player active today.
“Truly great players inspire their competitors to step their game up, and that’s definitely what happened for me in the late stages of Masters this year!!
“Although I didn’t snag the title this time around, I’m proud to have put up a good fight.
“With this first edition of Jeopardy Masters now in the rearview mirror, I turn my attention to other pressing matters (basking in the sun on my porch, finally going to Portugal, hanging out with my mom).
“Until next time!!” they concluded.
James tweeted after winning the title: “Mattea’s performance would have been unbelievable in the best of times.
“Considering everything they went through this month, this was the gutsiest Jeopardy! achievement since Cindy Stowell’s.
“An absolute, star-making masterclass in how to play the game.
“I’m lucky the scores were even this close entering Final. I benefited from more luck in the end. But no one will forget Mattea’s #JeopardyMasters dominance.”
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