‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Made More Than Year’s Salary In Just Three Days


Sometimes lost in the shuffle Jeopardy! is how money can transform winners’ lives. One recent winner, Emily Fiasco, is highlighting exactly how her winnings have changed her life. Let’s learn more.

Inflation And Game Shows

If you’re in the habit of watching old game shows, the dollar amounts can at times be shockingly low. In the 1950s version of To Tell The Truth, the maximum amount a contestant could make was $1500. The star-studded Match Game 78 boasted a grand prize of $5500 per round. Totals fluctuated of course. The $64,000 Question in 1955 raised eyebrows, but totals stayed relatively low for a long time.

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Then Who Wants to Be A Millionaire took over the world. Contestants regularly left the show with at least $32,000, with a lucky few leaving with a million. Deal or No Deal boasted cash prizes from a penny to $1 million. Even the elder statesman of the game show circuit The Price Is Right introduced the $1,000,000 Spectacular in 2008 to help elevate specific cash prizes to $1 million.

A Typical Night On ‘Jeopardy!’

Totals on Jeopardy! are far more modest in comparison. A winner typically makes about $10,000 to $30,000 on any given night with runner-ups taking home $2000 and $1000. The way to make real money is to string together multiple wins in a row, but that is extremely difficult. 

James Holzhauer famously broke these standards. He holds the top 10 single-game records in the show’s history, topping out with $130,022 on May 27, 2019. While big money can be made, there’s only one James Holzhauer.

Life-Changing Winnings

Emily Fiasco is a band teacher from St. Louis who managed to win three games last week. She won $28,000 in her first game, then $25,201, and finally $34,000. She finished third in her final game after losing by just one dollar, so she got another $1000. Her winnings totaled $88,201.

In an interview with the Riverfront Times, Fiasco discussed how those three days have made an impact. $88,201 eclipses her annual salary: “I had been working towards it for so long…I know it’s a weird goal, but I was really excited.” She essentially doubled her 2022 income in just two hours of work. Not too shabby.

With the money, Fiasco’s plans are fairly modest. “We have a bathroom that I’d like to redo,” she says. “How much money will it take? A lot. And I feel like I’m finally there.” We’d all love the ability to fix a bathroom with our Jeopardy! winnings, so Fiasco is in a way living the American Dream.

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