We are talking jeopardy as in the long-running game show Jeopardy and yes, in particular Alex Jacob. Jacob is not only a pro at the great game of poker but he also has career poker tournament winnings of $2,603,701. AND moving on to the Jeopardy game show, he's also the reigning champion!
SWEET! Let's get the word out that poker players have a lot going on and all of them aren't distressed mental midgets whose hands have grown into the plastic casing of a mouse due to multi-tabling online poker.
Jacob's occupation was listed as a currency trader from Chicago, Illinois, when he headed into the competition on Friday, April 10th, on Jeopardy. He was competing against Laura Kohlenberg who was listed as a global talent management associate originally hailing from Pemberville, Ohio; and Chris Hurt hailing from New York who was listed as an actor and grants analyst.
The defending champion of the match was Hurt. When the first commercial break hit — after Clue 15 — Hurt had $4,000, Jacob was in second place with $1,800, and Kohlenberg needed to jump start her brain to get in the running because she was at $0. At that point it looked like Hurt might repeat his reign. When the Jeopardy! round was over, the scores had evened up - except for the still trailing Kohlenberg: Hurt had $5,600, Jacob had $5,000, and Kohlenberg $1,800.
The Double Jeopardy! round was where Jacobs surged...he was using a game-theory optimal approach. During the Daily Double Jacob went all-in after selecting the "Science" category for $1,600 — he pushed with his $8,600.
The clue was: "E" is for this hard outer body of an animal. Like a mollusk's shell.
Jacob asked, "What is exoskeleton?"
"Hey Alex, it's just like currency trading isn't it?" host Alex Trebek joked afterward.
That shot Jacob up to $17,200 and when that round ended, Jacob had a lock for the lead with $23,200. Hurt was sitting at $10,800 and Kohlenberg hadn't managed to get over $1,800. Jacob didn't need to play the Final Jeopardy! round and he didn't. If he had, he would have failed, he didn't know the answer.
Just in case you're curious and you don't know the answer: Who was Grigory Rasputin?
Jacob was recognized on the poker forums even if most of the masses have no idea what role he plays in the poker world:
"I watched the show not knowing who he is and was very impressed not just by his general knowledge but also by his smart GTO plays," said TwoPlusTwo member domda. "He made a big move on the first Daily Double by betting all in for $8,600 when he had a small lead, he got the question right and amassed a big advantage. Then when he got the second Daily Double he stalled for as long as possible before making a reasonable safe wager, by the Final Jeopardy! question [which he missed], he had more than twice the second-place player, and already had the match sewn up. I'm looking forward to next week's matches. He's going to be tough to beat."
Jacob made a big run and scored cash in the Jeopardy! game but the prize money is a drop of water in the ocean compared to his poker wins. His biggest cash in poker and his first foothold in the poker world was in 2006 when he won the defunct United States Poker Championship in Atlantic City for $878,500. Previous to that in the same year he finished runner-up to Victor Ramdin in the World Poker Tour Foxwoods Poker Classic for $655,507. The 2007 World Series of Poker found him finishing third in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event for $282,367.
Watch Friday's episode of Jeopardy to see Jacob's game: