Seth Wilson, who is pursuing his PhD at the University of Georgia, has now won 12 in a row on “Jeopardy,” one of the longest runs in the show’s history.
His winnings now surpass $265,000.
“I remember this game being particularly fun,” Wilson texted me, “with a theatre category that was very conducive to my strengths. Also, the first Daily Double was a theatre question, so that was helpful.” (The Daily Double got him from $1,600 to $3,200 in the first round: “The 3 elements of drama, according to German theater critic Gustaf Freytag, Rising Action, This, Falling Action.” Question: What is climax?”)
Wilson has now passed Arthur Chu for sole possession of fifth place for longest streak since “Jeopardy” allowed people to win more than five in a row in 2003.
“I was stunned,” Wilson wrote, when he was told he had passed Chu. “Arthur is one of the all-time greats and a fantastic player with a really innovative strategy. I don’t think of myself as anywhere near that good, so it’s very surprising and humbling to hear my name mentioned along with his.”
Chu jumped around the board, both hunting for Daily Doubles but also trying to keep his opponents off balance. The strategy also drove some viewers crazy.
The four with the longest streaks to date: Matt Jackson (13 wins), Dave Madden (19 wins), Julia Collins (20 wins), and the incomparable Ken Jennings (74 wins).
After the first round Tuesday night, Wilson was ahead of his competitors but they were all within shooting distance. Joe could have gotten within $1,000 of Seth when he reached a Daily Double but missed it, dropping him to $0 and more or less putting him out of the game. Wilson missed a Daily Double but bet conservatively and was not seriously hurt. As the second round continued, Wilson built up a nice lead and by the end, he had pulled in a solid $19,400. Second place Ben couldn’t catch up, finishing with $6,400. For the fourth time during his streak, Wiilson didn’t have to worry at all about the Final Jeopardy question since Ben had no way to win. Wilson bet just $600 and got the question (“What is Fahrenheit 451?”), finishing with $20,000 for the day.
Mark Dawson, a former “Jeopardy” champion from Chamblee who won more than $350,000, said on Tuesday, Wilson played a solid game,making very few mistakes. “My first bit of advice is: ‘Don’t guess.’ My second bit of advice is: ‘Don’t guess,’ ” Dawson said. “He definitely followed that. He plays conservative unless he has to go for it.”
Wilson, who is now teaching in Texas to pay the bills, hopes to get his PhD at UGA by 2018 in film. The cash winnings will pay off his student loans and help him fund research for his dissertation. He lived in Athens for three years.
“Jeopardy,” 7:30 p.m. weekdays, WXIA-TV (NBC’s 11 Alive.)