Amy Schneider continued her winning streak on Jeopardy! Monday, and has now notched the second-most consecutive wins in the history of the popular trivia show.
Schneider, an engineering manager from Oakland, Calif., won her 39th consecutive game on Jeopardy! Monday, surpassing Matt Amodio’s 38-game streak set just a few months ago. Schneider defeated Erin O’Leary, an attorney from New York City, and Joanne Mercer, a nursing assistant from Toledo, Ohio.
Schneider had already become the first woman to surpass $1 million in winnings on the show, and will face Amodio in the next edition of the show’s Tournament of Champions. But Schneider will have to keep winning if she hopes to top the 74-game streak set by Ken Jennings in 2004, which remains the longest in Jeopardy! history.
Fittingly, Jennings — who holds the show’s title of “Greatest of All Time” — is hosting Jeopardy! this week, a role he is sharing with Mayim Bialik for the rest of the season.
“It still feels unreal,” Schneider said. “Knowing that I had this chance, I was definitely thinking about it. Then Ken said it, and I thought, ‘Alright, I just accomplished this huge thing’ and it was pretty great.”
One of the few clues Schneider wasn’t able to answer recently had some local flavor: “In 2021, he became the first Democrat re-elected Jersey’s Gov. since Brendan Byrne in 1977; Maybe an arena will be names for him.”
The answer, of course: “Who is Phil Murphy?”
Along the way, Schneider has defeated a number of local contestants, including Westminster College professor Patrick Lackey, University of Pittsburgh professor Ally Bove, and Philadelphia native and La Salle graduate Cory Anotado, founder of the game show news blog, BuzzerBlog.
Long winning streaks have become more common on Jeopardy! in recent years. Since 2003, when the show removed a rule that limited a contestant to just five wins in a row, 12 contestants have had winning streaks that lasted 10 or more games. Six of those 12 winning streaks have occurred in the past five years.
The current season of Jeopardy! has seen three such streaks. In addition to Schneider and Amodio, Jonathan Fisher (who ended Amodio’s streak) won 11 games in a row, and will also compete in this year’s yet-to-be-scheduled Tournament of Champions.
Prior to this season, professional sports bettor James Holzhauer drew massive interest during his 32-game win streak in 2019, amassing nearly $2.5 million in winnings (his run was ended to Paoli native Emma Boettcher). Holzhauer still holds the record for the most money won in a single game ($131,127) but didn’t think there was much to read into in regards to the recent trend of winning streaks.
“People always assume everything is a paradigm shift,” Holzhauer told the New York Times, “when it’s actually fairly normal for results to occasionally cluster.”
Schneider’s streak comes as the show has yet to settle on a permanent replacement for beloved host Alex Trebek, who died in November 2020 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Mike Richards, the show’s former executive producer, was initially selected as Trebek’s replacement, but was forced to resign after sexist comments and offensive language from an old podcast were uncovered by the Ringer.
Trebek said in an 2018 interview that CNN legal analyst Laura Coates could be a potential replacement, but Coates said the show never gave her a chance as a guest host.
“I asked for the opportunity when it came time, when they were looking for people to possibly fill in. I certainly raised my hand and knocked on doors and found them closed,” Coates said last week on an episode of Tamron Hall. “I asked for the opportunity, I was told ‘no.’”