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'Jeopardy James' returns to show for first time after loss

James Holzhauer made his return to Jeopardy on Wednesday night for the first time since his streak of 32 consecutive victories ended last June. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Jeopardy James is back. 

Spoiler alert: If you don’t want to know how he did, don’t scroll any further. 

After his streak of 32 consecutive “Jeopardy!” wins ended in June, James Holzhauer returned to the show for its Tournament of Champions on Wednesday. 

Holzhauer won handily, finishing with $30,635 while the next closest opponent had $14,000. As show host Alex Trebek put it before the Final Jeopardy round, Holzhauer was just doing what’s made him a folk hero on the television program. 

“‘Jeopardy James’ did what he did so often in his initial streak,” Trebek said. “He turned the game into a runaway. There is no way he can be caught.”

Holzhauer’s total non-tournament winnings stand at $2,464,216. If he were to win the Tournament of Champions, he could add $250,000 to that pot. 

The Tournament of Champions is a special version of the show that will run through Nov. 15 and features 15 contestants from the last two seasons. One of those contestants, Emma Boettcher, eliminated Holzhauer in June. Boettcher will play her first match on Thursday. 

Holzhauer, a 35-year-old professional gambler from Las Vegas, stuck to his usual strategy of working from the hardest questions to easier ones to clean up on the board. 

“Which $1,000 clue are you going to go for first?” Trebek joked to Holzhauer early in the show. 

But as usual, the bold strategy worked and the show’s second-winningest contestant of all-time has advanced to the semifinals of the tournament. He’ll be joined by the other four winners of the first round games and the top four earners after that. 

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