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Ken Jennings Is Officially the Greatest Jeopardy! Contestant of All Time

Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter at the TCA Winter tour. Jennings and Rutter are in suits; Holzhauer wears a sweater.
The contenders. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time tournament came to a close on Tuesday night, as Ken Jennings bested fellow Jeopardy! champs James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter to become the first contestant to win three matches. Jennings will receive a $1 million prize for his victory, while runners-up Holzhauer and Rutter will each take home $250,000.

Since the tournament started one week ago, Jeopardy! has aired a nightly matchup between three of the show’s all-time greatest contestants: James Holzhauer, who has won the most money in a single game; Ken Jennings, who has won the most games in a row, and Brad Rutter, who has won the largest total amount of money across all of his Jeopardy! matches. (All of these records still stand at the end of the tournament, although Jennings is now closer to matching Rutter’s lifetime earnings.) Although the tournament briefly looked like a dogfight between Holzhauer and Jennings, in the end it wasn’t that close: Jennings ultimately won three matches to Holzhauer’s one, while Rutter came up empty.

The Final Jeopardy clue that clinched Jennings’ victory was about Shakespeare: “He has 272 speeches, the most of any non-title character in a Shakespeare tragedy.” Going into Final Jeopardy, James Holzhauer was in the lead, but bet all of his winnings on the question and guessed Horatio. Jennings came up with the correct answer, Iago, winning the match and the tournament because of Holzhauer’s error. (Holzhauer changed his Twitter avatar to a drawing of a different Iago, the parrot played by Gilbert Gottfried in Disney’s Aladdin, immediately after the match aired; his display name is now “GOAT Fodder.”) But as thrilling Jennings’ victory was, at least one decision made by the judges is bound to be controversial: Brad Rutter, who was not in striking distance of victory, answered Final Jeopardy by writing, “Who is, ‘You’re the best, Alex!’ ” on his board. “It’s true, and I should get credit for it,” Rutter told the judges. He was at least half-right.