Juveria Zaheer, Xanni Brown, Matt Harvey, and Long Nguyen win Jeopardy! Second Chance Season 39
After four weeks of intense gameplay, the Second Chance Season 39 competition has come to an end with Juveria Zaheer, Xanni Brown, Matt Harvey, and Long Nguyen advancing to Champions Wildcard Season 39, which begins Tuesday, January 16.
On Monday, Long Nguyen claimed the fourth and final spot in the upcoming competition, which features players from Season 39 who won one or two games last season competing for the final two spots in the upcoming Tournament of Champions, when he defeated Roy Camara and Rotimi Kukoyi.
“The first time around I performed so bad[ly],” Long said, discussing his victorious return to the Alex Trebek Stage. “I just wanted a chance for redemption and I think that’s what happened.”
Long, a retired engineer from Las Vegas, went into Monday’s final with an advantage of $36,800 in the bank from Friday, while Roy and Rotimi started with $0 after coming up short in the first game of the two day finals. Though each player gave it their all, Long proved to be unstoppable and finished the two-day final in first place with a cumulative score of $56,277. Roy finished in second with $7,600 and Rotimi came in third with $1,000.
“Like they say in Vegas, you play to win,” Long said, discussing his victory and wagering strategy. “That’s how you have to approach this game and if you’re confident you just go for it, you know?”
Matt Harvey preceded Long in joining the Second Chance winners club last Monday when he won Group Three’s two-day final against Michael Cavaliere and Randall Rayford. Matt placed first with a two-day cumulative of $47,600, while Michael came in second with a cumulative total of $23,800 and Randall took third with $0.
“I don’t quite believe it actually happened,” Matt said of becoming Group Three’s victor. “It’s a very strange feeling but it’s wonderful. I’m so excited.”
Fans began to chatter online about the possibility of the healthcare administrator from Providence, Rhode Island, being invited back to play in Second Chance after his initial appearance on the show when he became one the few players to prevent 21-game super-champ Cris Pannullo from winning in a runaway.
“It was a lot of fun to compete against Cris,” Matt said. “If I’m not going to win at Jeopardy!, I want to not win against Cris Pannullo.”
Xanni Brown, another Second Chance player who faced off against Cris during their initial appearance, became a Second Chance victor and punched her ticket to Champions Wildcard Season 39 on New Year’s Day, when she defeated Greg Czaja and Christopher Pennant. The postdoctoral researcher originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, earned her first place victory with a two-day final cumulative score of $57,200. Greg trailed behind her in second with $45,800; while Christopher finished in third with $16,000.
“I have been getting as much mileage as I could out of Jeopardy! runner up but the upgrade [to champion] sure was nice,” Xanni said of becoming Group Two’s Second Chance winner.
Xanni said competing against Cris helped her develop her wagering strategy for Second Chance.
“I knew I had to go in [with my wager] to be in the ballpark with [Cris] and that was the same as today with Christopher and Greg,” Xanni said. “I was gonna have to be prepared to take some risks with my money.”
Juveria Zaheer, a psychiatrist from Whitby, Ontario, Canada, became Group One’s Second Chance winner last year on Christmas Day. She earned a two-day final cumulative total of $70,800, the highest score of all four Second Chance victors, in her two-day final against Jason Carpenter and Iris Masucci. Jason took second with $42,000, and Iris finished in third with $4,400.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” Juveria said of her win. “It feels like it’s a dream or it’s happening to someone else.”
“But to be able to do it in front of my daughters, especially, it’s just the most special thing I could ever imagine,” she continued.
In Juveria’s first game of the finals, she set three single-game highs for the season: she earned a Daily Double total of $20,000, had 32 correct responses, and she finished with a score of over $50,000.
“I didn’t want to be scared and I didn’t want to have regrets,” Juveria said, discussing her record-setting performance. “If you wager a lot and you get it wrong, you did your best and you tried your hardest and that’s okay. So, I just didn’t want to leave anything like that on the table I think this time.”
In addition to earning a spot in the 2024 Tournament of Champions, each Second Chance winner also earned the first place prize of $35,000; second place contenders earned $20,000, and players who came in third took home $10,000 in winnings.