Epic gamble and nail-biting finish all part of high-scoring ‘Jeopardy!’ game

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It was an exciting game of Jeopardy! on Wednesday, as the current Second Chance Competition carried on with a gutsy bet during a Daily Double, leading to big money won and a dramatic finish.

Season 40 has been an interesting one for Jeopardy!, and this latest foray into recycled contestants and questions — a byproduct of the now-resolved writers’ strike — will feature 36 players from season 39 who didn’t win but showed producers that they’re definitely capable if given a second chance.

Spread across four weeks until mid-January, the Second Chance Competition will include four winners all picking up $35,000 and entry into another Champions Wildcard Competition, where a chance at a coveted spot in the Tournament of Champions will be on the line.

So with the table set, here’s how Wednesday’s game unfolded. And let’s just say that the Chuck Norris reference during the contestant interview portion was rather fitting given the action-packed game.

The big bet

Juveria Zaheer, a psychiatrist from Whitby, Ontario, Canada, was sitting on more than $15,000 during Double Jeopardy when she seemed to be on a roll with and loving the Opera category. When a Daily Double came up for her within that category, she decided to bet “all of it.”

“Oh,” host Ken Jennings replied. “Let’s see if your confidence is earned in Opera.”

And sure enough, it was earned, to the tune of $30,400 and serious control of the game, considering the next closest competitor had just $13,200 at the time.

The big win

When it came time for Final Jeopardy, all three contestants had put together strong games with the third place contestant — Jake Garrett — boasting a $17,900 total that Jennings called, “quite a third place score.”

The category was Countries, and this was the final clue:

“Of the 14 countries that border China, it’s the only monarchy and the only one with a population under 1 million.”

The answer was Bhutan. Garret got it right and doubled his money to $35,800, in second place was Sam Claussen who also got it right and doubled his money to land on $36,000. That meant that Zaheer, with $32,400 earned already, had to get it right and bet the appropriate amount in order to pull out the win.

She of course got it right as well, betting $4,000 and bringing her total to $36,400, which was good enough to win by just $400.

The big reactions

From the big and “true” Daily Double to the high-money earnings for all three to the nail-biting finish, viewers reacting on social media were loving the night’s action.

Rare chance to watch Jeopardy tonight, and that was incredible!

— Alan (@MasonFanatic) December 21, 2023

That was easily one of the greatest #jeopardy games of all time.

Well done to all three contestants, and congratulations to @juveriazaheer on the win and your new spot in the Jeopardy record books! :)

— masterdoge987yt (@masterdoge_) December 21, 2023

What a game on Jeopardy! Crazy high scores.

— Ronnie (@texmexinjersey) December 21, 2023

Zaheer played her way into Friday’s finals for her leg of the Second Chance Competition and will be looking to win her way into the Champions Wildcard Competition next.

Jeopardy! airs weeknights, check your local listings.

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