New Queen of Jeopardy Goes for 20th Consecutive Win Tonight

America, meet your new queen: her name is Julia Collins, and if she wins her 20th consecutive round of Jeopardy tonight, she'll sit alone as the second-winningest player in Jeopardy history.

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Collins, a Wellesley grad, has been quietly tearing Jeopardy the fuck up over the last few weeks, dominating her opponents so hard that usually by the time Final Jeopardy rolls around, she could just wager $0, draw a picture of a human butt with stink lines coming out of it in response to the question, and still win. Here's the Washington Post on that.

In over 60 percent of Collins's matches, the game was over before the Final Jeopardy round. In those matches, Collins had more than doubled her closest competitor's score at the end of the Double Jeopardy round. Since players can at most double their scores in Final Jeopardy, in those matches Collins could simply wager zero dollars and still win, regardless of whether she answered the question correctly.

But despite the fact that Collins surpassed the much-discussed Jeopardy master Arthur Chu's 11-game streak 8 games ago, Collins isn't making as much of a splash in the media. WaPo's Christopher Ingraham suggests that this is because unlike Chu, who would select Jeopardy questions from all over the board in an attempt to disorient opponents, Collins plays Jeopardy in the more typical style of selecting consecutive questions from the same category before moving onto the next one. Vox echoes this sentiment, adding that the flamboyant Arthur Chu was much more self-promoting than Collins, embracing an "abrasive" social media presence and referring to himself as a "machine" in interviews.

Arthur Chu has springboarded his stint on Jeopardy into a Daily Beast gig; lucky for us, he's a fantastic, funny, self-aware writer in addition to being a smart, savvy, Trebek-stumping imp. So, you know, I can't be mad at him for promoting himself; he was selling a damn fine product.

But Collins's fame is slowly gaining speed, and rightfully so. A more dominating player than Chu, the Kenilworth, Illinois woman now the winningest female player in the game's history, amassing $410,000 in winnings over 19 games, and is currently tied for the second-winningest person to ever play Jeopardy.

Illustration for article titled New Queen of Jeopardy Goes for 20th Consecutive Win Tonight
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Apropos of nothing, she's also got an A+ monochromatic sweater game, as evidenced by her wardrobe in the clip at the top of this post, which was assembled after her 13th consecutive win.

DISCUSSION

doctortheopolis2
DoctorTheopolis2

I think the big reason Julia hasn't (yet) become a big deal is because she's so sweet and unassuming. Ken Jennings was sort of a dick — wait, no, TOTALLY a dick — and, well, it's hard not to pay attention to a dick.

Julia, on the other hand, spends the periods between rounds being rather shy and seems to be genuinely surprised by her success (despite the fact that she said she wanted to be a Jeopardy champ in 8th grade). At the end of each show — after she's curb-stomped the competition — she looks around a bit nervously as if to say, "Gosh, did that really just happen...AGAIN?" Point of fact, the other week she talked about how in 1st grade show and tell, she got up to the front of the class and was too shy to say anything. When she said she hoped her teacher could see her now...well...I just had to tear up a bit.

Actually, I kinda want to tear up EVERY TIME she wins. I've been watching Jeopardy for years and years and never really cared about who was the champion. Now I'm tuning in fingers crossed for her, cheering each time she hits a Daily Double, etc.

For a nerd who's had a lot of issues with success and public interaction, she's become somewhat of a hero of mine.