JEOPARDY!’s rising star Troy Meyer won his fourth game on Tuesday with a cool combined total of $137K and quite the final flourish.
He bet big in the last round despite having technically clinched the win, leaving host Ken Jennings nearly speechless and fans with high hopes.
The reigning champ faced Linda Napikoski, an ESL instructor from Phoenix, Arizona, and Joe Incollingo, a film and TV publicist from Los Angeles, California.
Troy, a music executive from Tampa, Florida has certainly already scored fans’ attention, but now he’s become one to watch.
Before tonight, three out of three wins were “runaways”.
In other words, by Final Jeopardy, he has had such a big lead that he couldn’t be caught – after tonight, he’s gone four for four.
Troy was one with the buzzer and had such a lead that even when rival Linda nearly doubled her score on a “Daily Double,” it just didn’t matter.
Troy also showed he’s one with Jeopardy! lore by making a reference to last year’s Tournament of Champions finalist Sam Buttrey, asking for a clue by declaring: “Bring it!”
By Final Jeopardy, Troy had $32,800, Linda $10,300, and Joe $7,400.
The clue under “Foreign-born authors” read: “In the 1950s the New York Times said this author ‘is writing about all lust’ & his lecherous narrator ‘is all of us.'”
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Everyone was correct with “Nabokov” but Troy wanted a larger win than his earlier ones.
Ken turned to him when it was time to reveal his response and wager.
“He could have wagered quite a bit do we have a bigger payoff than this even?” Ken asked.
“$7200 wow!” the host declared in a daze when Troy revealed a bet that was larger than expected – or needed.
“An even $40,000!” the host who knows a thing or 74 about winning concluded.
Troy was declared the victor with a huge total looking so grateful.
He’s now the fifth contestant to qualify for next year’s Tournament of Champions, though viewers don’t think he’s going home to prep anytime soon.
The others are fan-favorite Ray Lalonde with 13 wins, former poker ace Cris Pannullo with 21 wins, five-day champ Luigi de Guzman, and four-day champ and priest David Sibley.
Fans in a Reddit thread were pumped up as the ongoing champ would seem to be picking up steam as he goes.
One viewer wrote: “Troy has been an absolute machine since that first day and it’s been amazing to watch.”
Another claimed: “In terms of four-day totals, Troy is ahead of everyone on the 10+ games list except for Amy [Schneider] and James [Holzhauer], which bodes very well for him.”
“Troy is now going bigger in the Final Jeopardy bet…” wrote a third.
A fourth agreed: “Anything over $130,000 through 4 games is getting into some pretty lofty company.”
A fifth even expressed: “I honestly hope he surpasses Cris Pannullo. So far, Troy is doing a superb job! Keep up the good work, Troy!”
WHO IS: TROY MEYER
Troy began competing last Thursday – Ken revealed that his emotional first win saw him looking up above near tears for the sweetest reason.
Troy’s mother recently passed away and they “shared a big love” of watching Jeopardy! together.
As Troy also briefly touched on tonight and last night, his wife Genevieve was a contestant in 2009 and they anonymously met online when she was practicing to compete.
Troy told the New York Times in their 2010 wedding announcement: “I talked to friends, and they thought I was absolutely nuts.”
They kept in touch as she prepped, but Troy didn’t know what she looked like until her episode aired.
Troy told the New York Times that before then: “I thought she was 55 years old.”
They finally met up in person after she competed: “Within the first 24 hours we just wanted to be together,” Genevieve told the New York Times. They now share a son, 10.
Troy – whom some fans have said looks like Bill Hader – is one of the top U.S. trivia players – or quizzers.
He is a four-time winner of the niche, online invite-only Learned League, a trivia club that has 25,000-plus members, and Jeopardy!-like questions.
It’s no easy feat to “win the scarf,” the prize given to the secret league’s champ, once, let alone four times.
Many Jeopardy! champs are, or secretly were, members including host Ken, per The New Yorker – he had to step down for obvious reasons.
As a result, many fans were buzzing about him online before his arrival and he’s surely starting to live up to the hype.
Meanwhile, Troy also doesn’t have any social media accounts – which is another sign he could be our next serious winner as champs are advised by the show to keep a low profile, or profiles.
‘BLOSSOM’ INTO SPRING WITH MAYIM
Co-host Mayim Bialik, 47, is expected to return to the game show in late February.
With her Call Me Kat schedule running longer than expected, Mayim will be commencing her hosting duties with a new teen tournament.
Fans will be getting more of Ken as he will be hosting the new Jeopardy! Masters spinoff, which is scheduled to air during the spring in primetime.
The six-champ special has invited Amy Schneider, Matt Amodio, Sam Buttrey, Andrew He, Mattea Roach, and James Holzhauer to participate as contestants.
The 20-game, 10-episode special will see all of the players face each other in a round-robin with no one eliminated.