Three Jeopardy Alum Talk James Holzhauer and the Future of the Game

I sat down at Phinney Books on May 16, 2019, with Tom Nissley, an 8-time Jeopardy winner in 2010 and first runner-up in the 2011 tournament of champions, and Matthew Amster-Burton, a strong player who fell victim early in James Holzhauer’s run, to talk about James, his playing style, how to bet on Daily Doubles, and whether the game of Jeopardy has changed forever. (Me? I won two games by the skin of my teeth back in 2012.) Bios of Tom and Matthew below the sound link.

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Tom Nissley won $235,405 across 8 games in late 2010, and he remains the #9 all-time regular play winner. He additionally won $100,000 in the 2011 tournament of champions, placing second to Roger Craig. Tom answered the question of “how do you afford to start a bookstore these days?” by using Jeopardy money to buy a retiring couple’s store and re-open it as Phinney Books in Seattle. The store opened a sister store in a bookstore-free neighborhood in Seattle, Madison Park, just weeks ago. Tom spent a decade at Amazon and wrote the book A Reader’s Book of Days.

Matthew Amster-Burton is a food writer, novelist, and podcaster. He’s written several books, including Hungry Monkey, a journey of learning to cook and eat with his then young child; Pretty Good Number One; and Our Secret Better Lives. He cohosts the food comedy podcast Spilled Milk. Matthew had the signal pleasure of playing amazing well in a Jeopardy match aired on April 8, 2019, in which he racked up a terrific score of $17,600 before Final Jeopardy—but was also one of the first victims of James Holzhauer.