Fresh off a dominating run in Jeopardy!, James Holzhauer is set to try his hand in the World Series of Poker.

Jeopardy Champ James Holzhauer Plays World Series of Poker

I’ll take the biggest poker series in the world for $1,500, Alex.

James Holzhauer, renowned for his 32 appearances on Jeopardy, made his surprise debut at the 2019 World Series of Poker this week.

Holzhauer, who’s no stranger to the gambling world as he was a professional sports bettor prior to Jeopardy, decided to play the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty event yesterday.

The Las Vegas native made a deep run in the 1,867-player tournament but eventually fell short of the money. German Jonas Lauck would go on to win the event for $260,335 after a marathon 16-hour day.

Holzhauer wasn’t finished with the Super Turbo Bounty event, however. He teamed up with legendary partypoker pro Mike Sexton to play the $1,000 tag team tournament, where players take turns at the table.

Unfortunately Holzhauer was also eliminated from that tournament but it was actually during a round that Sexton was playing. The famed poker pro lost a couple of races back to back and the Jeopardy James dream at the WSOP was effectively over.

Is the WSOP the Ultimate Game Show?


Holzhauer famously won $2.4 million over his 32-game streak on Jeopardy but poker is one of the few games where the prizes are actually on a somewhat comparable level. The WSOP Main Event, for instance, regularly awards $8 million-plus for first place.

Even the more approachable tournaments — such as the Super Bounty Turbo that Holzhauer played — feature prize pools that number in the millions.

Holzhauer, who has a degree in mathematics, broke numerous records during his time on Jeopardy, including the best single-day haul ever with $131,127. He took a unique approach to the game that included taking higher-value clues in an attempt to find the Daily Double.

In addition, he was very aggressive when it came to betting Daily Doubles and it paid off in a huge way thanks to his 94 percent accuracy when answering Daily Doubles. Making huge wagers when you are getting the best odds is a strategic concept that should be very familiar to poker players.

Interestingly, poker pro Alex Jacob famously appeared on Jeopardy in 2015 and also had success using an aggressive strategy on the game show that included spamming the buzzer and betting big on the Daily Doubles.

It’s not clear if Holzhauer has plans to play any more tournaments at the WSOP but after busting out of his last tournament, he jokingly tweeted, “I lost on purpose because my daughter wanted me to come home.” The tweet was a reference to conspiracy theorists who claimed he lost Jeopardy on purpose.

Schwartz, Chidwick Break Through at WSOP

It’s been quite a week for some longtime poker pros as Stephen “Stevie444” Chidwick, Luke “FullFlush” Schwartz and Ari “” Engel all broke through with their first WSOP bracelets.

Chidwick and Schwartz are exemplary players from the U.K. Chidwick in particular is renowned for his MTT mastery and a staggering $24 million in lifetime live tournament earnings. He outlasted all 278 entries in the elite $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha tournament to win $1.6 million.

Meanwhile, Schwartz burst onto the poker scene in 2009 playing as the enigmatic _FullFlush1_ in some of the biggest games ever held online. He started playing live tournaments and now has nearly $2 million in earnings.

Schwartz beat out 100 players in the $10,000 buy-in 2-7 Triple Draw Championship to earn $273,336.

Finally Ari Engel is the consummate grinder with tournament scores around the globe. Hailing from Toronto, Canada, he has earned over $6.6 million in live tournaments with significant victories coming in the Aussie Millions and WSOP circuit. Engel has been amazingly consistent over the years with 317 separate cashes since he started posting results in 2006.

Engel outlasted 996 entries to win the $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em tournament to take down $427,399 and his first WSOP bracelet.

All three of those players have been included on various “best player without a bracelet” lists so it’s definitely a case of them finally getting their due.

Including big-game player Joe Cheong, who won his first bracelet last week, this is quickly becoming the WSOP of first-time bracelet winners.

More 2019 WSOP Coverage

Back to Top