Has that ever happened on Jeopardy! before?

On the March 16 episode the returning champion had Final Jeopardy all to himself because the two challengers had negative dollar amounts at the end of Double Jeopardy. I would have thought Mr. Trebek might mention if that had ever happened before, but he didn’t. Anyone here know?

According to the Sony Jeopardy message boards, it hasn’t happened in regular game season play since 1987, and has also happened in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions.

It appears that it has happened before but is pretty rare. I found this thread on the Jeopardy! forums discussing this topic.

If you notice the final post, apparently in the pre-Trebek era, there was a game where all three contestants finished with negative scores. I wonder what they did for the Final Jeopardy in that game. Probably just showed more cigarette commercials.

I could not believe how bad the other two players were last night. The man would ring in, then either say nothing or stutter and stammer. The woman gave painfully wrong answers. Halfway through DJ I thought “what happens if these two finish in the hole?” Now I know!

So did the guy bet anything on Final or did he wimp out?

Wimped. He bet $400 (and got the answer right, natch).

Suppose he bet it all, answered incorrectly, ended up with zero dollars. He still would have won.

And how about that Nixon impression, eh?


I remember seeing it happen, but I had no idea it had been that long ago.

The way I remember it, when there was just one player in Final, they would show his wager first, and then his answer; keeping the only suspenseful part 'til the end. I was surprised they didn’t do it that way last night.

Huh, I could have sworn that happened during Jennings’ run… Felt sorry for the poor folks, they both got flustered.

I was really hoping he would bet it all! It was the one chance he’d have to possibly get a **huge **win, and if not he was still guaranteed to come back the next day anyway. Unless it was a category you knew you had no knowledge of, I don’t know why you wouldn’t bet a ton!

IIRC (no cite) that one of the former Jeopardy! contestants said you have to win something (at least $1) for it to be considered a win. So, if that is true, he would had to be Cliff Claven-esque, to bet it all.

When I was a Jeopardy contestant (in 2008), we were told by the contestant coordinator that a player must win at least $1 in order to become a “champ” and go on to the next game. If everyone finishes with zero or negative scores, three new contestants would play next time.

Thanks for clarifying that. Although I posted my comment as a statement of fact, I was in fact asking.


No, he bet $1,200 although he had $29,200. I’d have bet almost all the money, like $29,000 of it.

I’d have gone $29,199. Get it wrong (which I didn’t) still a dollar and a chance to come back. Get it right, huge payoff.

I was SO pissed at him for not doing that.

I’ve always told myself that if I were a multiple returning champion and found myself in that situation, I’d risk everything except a couple of dollars. That’s a risk I’d want to take. A couple of weeks ago I was pretty harsh on a woman who had a game won and blew it by betting too much on FJ, but I’d be willing to potentially throw away some money going for a big bet like that if nobody could catch me.

Dude’s funny. Looks like a cross between Adam Carolla and Frankenstein.

He looks a lot like Adam Carolla.

In a category like “vocabulary,” I’d have bet a lot more than that, especially if there was no chance I’d lose the game. Even numbers are one of my little OCD things, so if I had $29,200 I’d probably have bet $10,800 to come out with $40,000. Of course, maybe he just isn’t comfortable with that category – it would be like me getting “Asian Geography.” I would have bet a buck.

A related question: What’s the lowest winning dollar amount they’ve ever had?


Jeopardy! records