This season of “Jeopardy!” has featured three outstanding champions.
First, Matt Amodio kicked off season 38 by creating a second-place win streak of 38 games. In January, Amy Schneider knocked Matt’s win streak down to third place as she set a new second-place record of 40 games. Although 23-year-old tutor Mattea Roach is the youngest super champ in the “Jeopardy!” Hall of Fame, she only managed to make it to fifth place before she was eliminated by 31-year-old marketing manager Danielle Maurer.
Danielle recently sat down with “Jeopardy!” producers to talk about what it was like defeating a super champion.
Danielle Maurer Won ‘Jeopardy!’ By A Dollar!
Last Friday, Danielle defeated 23-game winner Mattea Roach with a calculated wager of $4,200 dollars, which was enough to beat Mattea by a dollar and give her a one-day total of $15,600 dollars. Mattea had bet $3,601 dollars, and was unable to come up with the correct response, and finished in second with $15,599 dollars.
“I was just standing up there with my pen and paper thinking this is the most important math that I will ever do in my life,” Danielle recalled of her Final Jeopardy! wager. “I knew Mattea would bet to defend. She will bet as if I’m going to bet everything. So if she gets it right, I lose. There’s no win scenario there for me. So, I’m going to bet as if she gets it wrong because that’s the only chance realistically that I am going to have.”
“I did not expect to win going in there until they revealed her answer, and then I could just feel my heart start pounding,” Danielle continued. “I’m from Atlanta, I’ve lived here for almost ten years. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the airport I fly out of constantly. So, I looked at that clue like surely it can’t be that easy, can it?”
As current host Ken Jennings pointed out during the episode, Final Jeopardy! clues are written months in advance and selected randomly, so although it was an easy clue for Danielle, it wasn’t easy for the rest of the contestants. Similarly, earlier on in her run, the Canadian super champ got a Final Jeopardy! answer where the question was asking for the national anthem of Canada.
Danielle Maurer Reveals What She Plans To Do With Her Winnings
Danielle only stayed on the show for two days, but that was enough money to help her achieve her financial goals.
“I have a basement that needs finishing,” Danielle said when asked about what she plans to spend her winnings on. “I do cosplay work and the basement is supposed to become my craft room. So, that’s a pretty good payment to get it completed.”
Danielle also revealed that she’s a lifelong “Jeopardy!” fan who has been trying to get on the show since she was 13-years-old. “I have been trying to get on the show for more than 15 years,” Danielle said. “This is something that I’m going to carry with me the rest of my life. It means more to me than I can say.”
Danielle, who had been watching season 38, knew that there was a “strong possibility” that she’d encounter a super champion during her run. “I had been following the season. I knew about Matt. I knew about Amy,” Danielle explained. “In fact, Amy’s episodes were airing when I got the call. So, we sort of practiced as if I was playing against Amy.”
Danielle, her husband, and her best friend would play “Jeopardy!” using clues from previous games to help her prepare for her time on the show. “We would check my results against Amy’s, like ‘Oh well, Amy missed the Final, but you got it,’” Danielle recalled. “‘So, you might have had a chance to take her there.’”
Although Mattea’s run seemed to shock everyone else in the studio, Danielle said that her training left her unfazed. “When I walked into the studio, and they were like, ‘Our current 19-day champion Mattea Roach,’ I could just see the color draining out of everyone’s faces around me,” Danielle said. “For me, I’m sitting there like — yeah that’s about what I expected.”
Danielle also had one final piece of advice for “Jeopardy!” hopefuls: “It doesn’t matter how well you do the day that you’re on the show. Just getting there is such an achievement within itself.”
Matt, Amy, and Mattea, and the other champions from this season will return to compete in the 2022 Tournament of Champions, which airs later this year.