Skip to content
April 2, 2015

The biggest one-day totals in Jeopardy! history

(Looking for the all-time leaderboard? Click here.)

After Michael Bilow took home a whopping $57,198 on Tuesday, there was some confusion as to where his total stood among the highest single-game scores of all time.

Michael Bilow where's the dollarHere’s an attempt to rectify that, with a nod to the players who racked up big paydays back when “I’ll take such-and-such for $500, Alex” made sense.

Clue values were doubled on November 26, 2001. As such, I’ve doubled the totals of winners who played before then. They’re denoted with an asterisk *.

* pre-doubled totals
✝ unadjusted record at the time

Rank Score Player Type Date
1 $131,127✝ James Holzhauer Regular 4/17/19
2 $130,022 James Holzhauer Regular 5/27/19
3 $118,816 James Holzhauer Regular 4/23/19
4 $110,914✝ James Holzhauer Regular 4/9/19
5 $106,181 James Holzhauer Regular 4/16/19
6 $101,682 James Holzhauer Regular 5/1/19
7 $96,726 James Holzhauer Regular 4/30/19
8 $90,812 James Holzhauer Regular 4/22/19
$90,812 James Holzhauer Regular 4/25/19
10 $89,229 James Holzhauer Regular 5/20/19
11 $89,158 James Holzhauer Regular 4/12/19
12 $86,905 James Holzhauer Regular 5/21/19
13 $82,381 James Holzhauer Regular 5/3/19
14 $80,615 James Holzhauer Regular 5/2/19
15 $80,006 James Holzhauer Regular 4/19/19
16 $79,633 James Holzhauer Regular 5/31/19
17 $77,000✝ Roger Craig Regular 9/14/10
18 $75,000✝ Ken Jennings Regular 7/23/04
19 $74,400 James Holzhauer Regular 5/24/19
20 $74,133 James Holzhauer Regular 4/18/19
21 $73,621 James Holzhauer Regular 4/24/19
22 $71,885 James Holzhauer Regular 5/22/19
23 $69,033 James Holzhauer Regular 5/29/19
24 $69,000 Austin Rogers Regular 10/3/17
25 $68,000*✝ Jerome Vered Regular 5/21/92
$68,000 Andy Richter Celebrity 9/17/09
27 $66,600 Skyler Hornback Kids 7/31/13
28 $65,600 Austin Rogers Regular 10/2/17
29 $65,200* Doug Lach Regular 7/7/00
30 $62,000* John Skelton Regular 7/1/98
31 $61,200*✝ Frank Spangenberg Regular 1/15/90
32 $59,381 James Holzhauer Regular 5/28/19
33 $58,800* Mark Born Regular 6/21/91
34 $58,612 James Holzhauer Regular 5/30/19
35 $58,200 Arthur Chu Regular 2/27/14
36 $57,198 Michael Bilow Regular 3/31/15
37 $56,400 Elyse Mancuso Teen F2 5/11/12
38 $56,000* Jason Parker Regular 6/12/00
39 $55,600*✝ Kevin Frear Regular 7/5/88
$55,600*✝ Bob Blake Regular 9/7/89
41 $55,300 Pat Sajak Celebrity 1/21/10
42 $55,099 Ken Jennings Regular 11/24/04
43 $55,000 Mark Runsvold Regular 7/18/11
44 $54,800* Michael Daunt Regular 12/4/95
45 $54,322 James Holzhauer Regular 4/10/19
46 $54,017 James Holzhauer Regular 4/29/19
47 $53,200* Bruce Naegeli Regular 7/20/88
48 $52,200* Karl Coryat Regular 6/24/96
49 $52,108 James Holzhauer Regular 5/23/19
50 $52,002* Matt Morris Teen F2 2/18/94
51 $52,000✝ Brian Weikle Regular 4/14/03
$52,000✝ Ken Jennings Regular 7/9/04
$52,000✝ Ken Jennings Regular 7/12/04
$52,000✝ Ken Jennings Regular 7/22/04
55 $51,999 Zach Blumenfeld Teen QF 11/3/09
56 $51,000* Garrett Simpson Regular 1/31/89
$51,000 Matt Jackson Regular 10/12/15
58 $50,845 James Holzhauer Regular 4/8/19
59 $50,800*✝ Harvey Becker Regular 11/7/85
$50,800 Joon Pahk Regular 10/4/11
61 $50,000✝ Myron Meyer Regular 9/5/02
$50,000 Ken Jennings Regular 6/10/04
$50,000 Ken Jennings Regular 6/15/04
$50,000 Ken Jennings Regular 7/16/04
$50,000 Ken Jennings Regular 9/17/04
$50,000 Ken Jennings Regular 11/4/04
$50,000 Ken Jennings Regular 11/25/04
$50,000 Roger Craig TOC F1 11/14/11
$50,000 Matt Jackson Regular 10/09/15
70 $49,998* Michael Arnone Regular 1/11/01
71 $49,900 Philip Tiu Regular 3/15/16
72 $49,699 Kevin Joyce Regular 4/15/09
73 $49,600* Joe Gurski Teen F2 5/17/96
$49,600 James Holzhauer Regular 4/26/19
75 $49,400* Steve Chernicoff Regular 9/7/94
76 $49,000 Kunle DeMuren Kids 9/18/02
77 $48,801 Ken Jennings Regular 6/25/04
78 $48,800* Andy Richter Celebrity 11/16/99
79 $48,799 Matt Caruso Regular 4/24/03
80 $48,600 Jack Feerick Regular 1/28/09
81 $48,002* India Cooper Regular 12/17/91
82 $48,001 Eric R. Backes Regular 2/11/19
83 $48,000* Jerome Vered Regular 5/18/92
$48,000* Matt Zielenski Teen F1 2/16/95
$48,000* Dan Melia Regular 9/4/97
$48,000 Mark Runsvold Regular 7/15/11
87 $47,600*✝ Elise Beraru Regular 10/3/84
88 $47,000* Eric Prosser Regular 3/10/98
89 $46,801 Emma Boettcher Regular 6/3/19
90 $46,800* Matt Handel Regular 9/8/94
$46,800 Leah Greenwald UTOC 1 3/15/05
92 $46,600 Maria Wenglinsky Regular 11/1/05
93 $46,599 Tim Kutz Regular 02/17/16
94 $46,000* Bob Beers Regular 4/7/88
$46,000* Matt Handel Regular 9/12/94
$46,000* Jon Stewart Celebrity 11/17/99
97 $45,598* Frank Spangenberg Regular 1/10/90
98 Regular

Thanks to Robert K S for requesting the ✝ marking.

Edits:

3 Apr 2015: Stefan Goodreau pointed out this archived Sony Pictures site, which listed six early high scores not present in the J! Archive.

20 Apr 2015: updated with info about Matt Handel, as pointed out by Stefan based on intel from a trustworthy source.

22 Mar 2016: thanks to Joey Palumbo for sending me this archived page, which lists complete scores for most of the early tournaments. It included the $26,001 pre-doubled haul by Matt Morris in the 1994 Teen Finals.

27 Comments
  1. Awesome! If you have the time, the one improvement I think would be neat would be to add a dagger for those who at one time held the No. 1 spot. You might do two different notations, one for those who, like Myron Meyer, held the record absolutely but not relative to doubled-dollar record holders.

  2. The Jeopardy site’s Hall of Fame for big one-day winners comprises those with $30,000 or more, but pre-doubling (and a little post-, too) it used to be a list (albeit an incomplete one) of people who scored at least $23,800. (That total belonged to Elise Beraru, the first five-time champion.) Here’s a Wayback Machine cache with the old list, containing a few unarchived totals and some more familiar names: https://web.archive.org/web/20021001202114/http://www.sonypictures.com/tv/shows/jeopardy/cont/winners_list_day_totals.html

  3. Elise Beraru’s high score was in 1984, not ’85. And I’ve already told you on Facebook, but I’m putting it here for the general public: a player named Matt Handel scored $23,400 on the day after Steve Chernicoff’s big fifth win, and $23,000 two games later.

  4. Matt Handel permalink

    Hi, it’s Matt Handel. Thanks for the shout-out, Stefan. Day 1 was a lock, so I bet only $5,000 on a pre-Final Jeopardy score of $18,400. Day 3 was pretty wild: I was behind going into Final Jeopardy. I had $11,500 and my opponent had $12,000. I bet everything and got the question right. He bet the appropriate amount, wrote down the correct answer, and then CROSSED IT OUT to write in the incorrect answer.

    BTW, day 4 just stunk. I must have been tired–none of us cracked $10,000 during the game and all three of us got Final Jeopardy wrong. The winner that day took home $899.

  5. I’m giving Bob Beers an honorable mention for likely being the only person who made this list despite getting Final Jeopardy wrong. (Jack Lechner could have done it too, but… http://www.j-archive.com/showgame.php?game_id=3711)

  6. jdgalt permalink

    If you’re going to do a chart with all these colors in it, please explain what they mean!

  7. Please forgive my ignorance but I do not understand your statement:”Also: at the request of Robert K S, I’ve marked scores that were unadjusted records at the time with a cross ✝.” What do you mean?

    • Karl permalink

      See the first comment—it’s from Robert K S.

  8. Freedom fighter permalink

    They just hit 65,000 today!

  9. I noticed quite a few scores missing from this list, including but not limited to:

    – Donna Brown on December 22, 2017 ($45,600)
    – Eric R. Backes on February 11, 2019 ($48,001)
    – Team Brad on February 20-21, 2019 ($49,800)

  10. Noumon Munir permalink

    where is James Holzhauer’s 100k+ score?

  11. Walt permalink

    James Holzhauer not only has the #1 position at $110,914, but he also has the #2 position at $89,158.

  12. Karl permalink

    James Holzhauer has them thinking maybe doubling the clue values in 2001 was a mistake. It gives him, and everyone aspiring to follow his lead, a lot to wager. The significance of the table above isn’t that he’s had some big days, it’s that he’s averaged something like $75K/day for > 3 weeks with no end in sight, legitimizing a high-stakes strategy that could significantly increase payouts even after he’s gone. If that’s offset by excitement, eyeballs & ad revenue, all to the good, but if not…
    “The Man Who Broke The Bank At Culver City”.

    • theholgates permalink

      Nah, they still have The Bank of John Marick. 😉
      (I’ll leave you to figure out that reference. It’s not too hard.)

  13. Karl permalink

    After nearly a month without update the news (30 May 2019) is that James Holzhauer now holds 20 of the 1st 22 ranks, including all of the 1st 15.
    This table started out much smaller (50), but as names were added, none (I think) fell off the back of the wagon. That’s good because otherwise it would soon show very few names. It would be sad to lose Frank Spangenberg, whose name is currently on rank 30. Matt Jackson would already be gone.

  14. Donna Brown won $45,600 on 12/22/2017, and was rerun on 6/1/2019 on the Saturday rerun

  15. Alfred Ehman permalink

    Strange the highest winner not mentioned once.

What do you think?