2015-10-12 00:00:00.0


By now, you’ve probably heard of Matt Jackson – the 23-year-old paralegal from Washington, DC, who’s currently on a serious hot streak. If not, you should watch this.

Then read this.

Matt’s 12-day total of $390,411 is obviously gargantuan, but his win also cemented his place in the Jeopardy! pantheon: Matt is now in fourth place on the all-time consecutive games won list, behind only Ken Jennings, Julia Collins and Dave Madden. It also puts him ahead of notable 11-time champion Arthur Chu.

Matt’s game play stats are impressive – racking up $51,000 in the most recent game (10/12) and $50,000 in the preceding game (10/9). His average winnings per game is a robust $32,534.25, and only one game so far – his third – wasn’t a runaway. His dominance is due to a couple key factors.

First, he rarely misses. Matt’s percentage of correct responses over the last 12 games is 96.3%. Out of 351 total responses, he responded correctly a total of 338 times. As a contrast, through Julia Collins’ first 12 wins, she responded correctly 91.67% of the time.

Second, Matt’s dogged pursuit of the most valuable clues – regardless of which category they may fall under – is a particular strategy he chose to employ from the start. While it’s not the first time we’ve seen this type of gameplay – many others such as Arthur Chu, Alex Jacob and Chuck Forrest have done the same thing (remember the “Forrest Bounce”?) – it does seem to work particularly well for Matt, especially when he uncovers the Daily Double clues, of which he has only missed three in 27 opportunities.

The goal of fast cash and big leads was a strategy he came in with. He told us, “As I was preparing for the show, I kept rough track of how well I was doing at getting the Daily Doubles correct. Based on that, I figured out that I had a pretty high chance of guessing the correct response if forced to, which meant that the expected value of making any wager would be pretty strongly positive. Once I knew that, it followed that the most strategic choice for building up large leads was to wager very, very high – beyond what your risk-averse brain would do by default. If you go back to star players like Ken Jennings, Arthur Chu, or Roger Craig [who took this to a logical extreme and bet everything whenever he could], they've said the same thing. I also realized eventually that big misses on Daily Doubles, especially early on, can usually be made up for later if you keep your head in the game and you don't let the mess-up faze you. That made the big-wager default even more appealing.” Got all that, future contestants?

Matt Jackson faces off against two new challengers as he tries for his 13th win Tuesday, October 13. With four of his last five games ending in totals of $40,000 or greater, he’s certainly heating up. How much further will Matt go? You’ll have to tune in to find out. Check here to see when and where to watch Matt Jackson’s 13th game.