Critics of James Holzhauer, who was smoking everyone on the TV game show “Jeopardy!” until the regular show took a two-week hiatus to put on the annual Teachers Tournament, tend to complain a lot about his smile, and even his fans have to admit it appears a bit forced. But The New York Times reports that there’s a reason for it.
In a piece published this week providing some of the backstory on Holzhauer’s journey to TV riches and fame The Times cites Ben Yu, Holzhauer’s longtime friend, saying Holzhauer, a professional sports gambler, solicited advice on an online poker forum about what he should do to make it onto “Jeopardy!”
“The number one piece of advice he got was just, ‘Smile, look like you’re having a good time,’” said Yu. The Times adds that Yu imagined Holzhauer thinking: “I am going to do whatever it takes. I am going to smile as forcefully as I can to make sure these producers put me on.”
The report adds: “The country has seen a lot of that strained toothy smile over the past month, but these days, Holzhauer, 34, doesn’t need to put on a happy face to prove he belongs on ‘Jeopardy!’ Since early April, he has been raking in cash at a faster rate than any other contestant in the show’s history, making $1.7 million so far.”
Holzhauer also now holds the top 12 spots on the show’s list of highest single-game winnings, the story reports.
“His winning streak, now at 22 games, has fueled speculation that he could surpass the reigning all-time ‘Jeopardy!’ champ Ken Jennings, who won $2.5 million over 74 episodes in 2004,” The Times notes.
Holzhauer is due back on the show May 20, when the regular show returns following the Teachers Tournament.
We encourage readers to click on the link above to The New York Times to learn more of Holzhauer’s backstory.