Holzhauer, 34, surpassed the $1 million mark last week in the shortest time ever. However, the sports gambler from Las Vegas faced competitor Adam Levin, 46, the sports information director for Brandeis University athletics, in the game that was taped in February but aired Monday night, according to the Boston Globe.
Levin said he had an advantage, watching the champion play five games before it was his turn the following day.
“I was able to note what he was doing and see how he was playing differently than ever seen before, and I was able to process that,” he told the Boston Globe.
Levin said he was not aware of Holzhauer’s streak until he faced him.
“She [a ‘Jeopardy!’ employee] asked James how many games he had won, and he said 12. Then she asked, ‘James, how much did you win?’ and he said ‘$850-some thousand,’ and I think that’s when the jaws dropped. Those are numbers I had not heard of before, outside Ken Jennings,” Levin said.
Levin ended up with $53,999 versus Holzhauer who finished with $54,017. Despite losing, Levin said he played the best to his ability.
“I did everything I could possibly do and the best I could, and I was a few dollars short, but I wouldn’t trade it,” he said. “I had a huge smile on my face for as much of the time I could, because I was living the dream.”
Contestant Ken Jennings still holds the lead with the highest total winnings in the game show. He had 74 consecutive wins for $2,520,700.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.