‘Jeopardy’ Player Places Risky $10K Bet That Changes the Game — Fans React

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Returning champ Will Stewart played a game of high-risk, high-reward in Jeopardy‘s May 14 episode. Fans are praising by his risky bet on a Daily Double, with some saying that it would have been a thrilling bet whether he answered the prompt correctly or not. It’s a good thing he did, because that bet cleared the path for Stewart’s runaway victory.

Stewart is a a political organizer originally from Nashville, Tennessee. Playing against him in the episode was Omar Ahmed, an analytics manager from Old Hickory, Tennessee; and Ashley Atkin, a stay-at-home mom & part-time graduate student from Jerome, Idaho.

A runaway game in Jeopardy is when one player’s score is so high, it’s more than double the score of their competitors. It would take a substantial loss in Final Jeopardy for the player in first place to lose in this scenario, but it is does happen semi-regularly on the game show. Runaway games are always fun to watch, and Stewart had a runaway lead for most of the game.

At the end of the first break, the scores were Stewart at $6,600, Atkin at $2,200, and Ahmed at $1,800. Stewart was the only one with a score increase by the second break. The scores were Stewart at $7,800, Atkin at $2,000, and Ahmed at $1,200, but Ahmed caught up in the second round.

With the help of a Daily Double, Ahmed was able to tie his score with Stewart’s at $9,400. But Stewart kept on answering correctly, and then he made a bold move when finding the third Daily Double. At that point, Stewart had lost his runaway lead (his score was $16,600, Ahmed’s was $11,000, and Atkin’s was $6,400), and he was looking to get it back. He wagered $10k on the Daily Double to secure the lead, and he answered the prompt about Vietnam correctly “in the nick of time,” as host Ken Jennings said, taking his lead up to $26,600.

He maintained the runaway lead into the last round. The scores were Stewart with $28,600, Ahmed with $12,200, and Atkin with $7,200. None of the players got Final Jeopardy right, but it didn’t matter. Stewart’s final bet was small enough to secure an indisputable victory. The final scores were Stewart with $26,200, Ahmed with $9,999, and Atkin with $2,199.

Fans were delighted by Stewart’s $10k bet.

“Given that DDs tend to be of a difficulty corresponding to their location on the board… I LOVE WILL’S BET. I’d love it even if he missed,” one fan wrote on the Jeopardy Reddit discussion board. “You’ve got a category playing easier than most DJs and it’s the Row 2 clue? If you don’t get it, you didn’t deserve to win anyway. (Heck, I could justify going all-in on any DD with a three-digit clue value, but that’s just me.)”

“I think Will has a very good chance of winning two more and making the ToC Winner’s Circle,” they continued. “The big thing about him is he’s really good at timing the rebound. He pulled 5 grand (according to the J!Archive) just from rebounds today! This is a guy who knows what he knows and is very confident. Let’s see what tomorrow brings!”

One fan was nervous about Stewart’s delayed response to the Daily Double clue in the moment. “Yes, Will’s long pause scared me,” they wrote in response to the comment above. “What other Asian countries besides Korea are/were divided into North/South? He blurted it out in the nick of time.”

It’s always fun to see a Jeopardy player risk it all. And in Stewart’s case, it was a smart strategic move to try and regain his runaway lead. Would you make the same bet if you were in Stewart’s position? Let us know in the comments below.

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