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Poker Player Crushing Jeopardy With Unorthodox Strategy

Alex Jacob Wins For The Third Time On Quiz Game Show

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Former poker pro Alex Jacob won for the third time on Jeopardy Tuesday night, bringing his total winnings to $72,200, but what makes his run so impressive is the dominating fashion in which he is winning. Out of his three wins so far, Jacob has yet to even sweat the Final Jeopardy round, having locked up each victory in Double Jeopardy.

So how is he doing it?

The 30-year-old is crushing the show by using an effective, but unorthodox strategy that employs game theory to fluster his opponents and maximize his winnings by gambling big. Once he gains control of the board, Jacob bounces around from category to category, picking off the highest value clues using a method invented by Chuck Forrest in the ’80s.

The method has two benefits. First, it confuses your opponents by changing the category. Second and perhaps more importantly, it allows you to hunt for Daily Doubles, which can really put some distance between you and the other two players. This in turn causes them to panic and often answer incorrectly on high-priced clues.

"Let's bet it all"Jacob, who is no stranger to gambling after winning more than $2.6 million in live poker tournaments, now spends his days trading currency at the Gelber Group in Chicago. But he isn’t the first poker enthusiast to employ this unorthodox strategy on Jeopardy.

In late January of 2014, Arthur Chu went on a game show heater, winning 11 times and banking $298,200, along with an additional $100,000 for finishing runner-up in the Tournament of Champions.

Like Jacob, Chu also had no problem betting big, even if it did rub some Jeopardy purists the wrong way. His reasoning was simple. You only get to keep your cash if you win the game. Second and third place are only awarded $2,000 and $1,000 each, so you might as well go all out to finish on top.

“In order to encourage big bets, Jeopardy is winner-take-all,” Chu explained. “Only the person in first place keeps their total at the end of the game. There’s a very powerful incentive to be aggressive. You really do need to make sure you win the game. The most important thing isn’t the absolute number of dollars you have on the board. It’s how strongly you’re beating the other players. How far ahead are you? What’s the spread?”

We don’t know how long Jacob will continue to win, but we do know that we like his chances moving forward. He has a long way to go before catching the Jeopardy record holder, Ken Jennings, who won 74 matches and $2,520,700 in 2004.

Watch Jacob’s third victory below and watch him defend his title Wednesday night.