Brandeis employee proves tough competitor on ‘Jeopardy’

May 3, 2019

A Brandeis employee and alum who competed on “Jeopardy” came the closest to beating the show’s current reigning champ after over two weeks of runaway games.

Adam Levin ’94 is the sports information director at Brandeis. He lost to champion James Holzhauer by $18 in the episode that aired on April 29.

Levin was the first contestant in Holzhauer’s then-18 games to prevent Holzhauer from having a runaway game (where other contestants, no matter how much they bet, cannot catch up to one person’s total going into Final Jeopardy). Both Levin and Holzhauer got the question right, leaving Holzhauer with $54,017 for the day, and Levin just $18 behind with $53,999.

It has been Levin’s “lifelong dream” to compete on “Jeopardy,” according to an article he wrote for BrandeisNOW. Levin was on the College Bowl (now Quiz Bowl) team while he was a student at Brandeis, which “got me hooked on the competitive aspect of trivia,” Levin noted.

Levin had auditioned for “Jeopardy” twice before, in 2006 and 2008, without being selected. About 10 years later, he made it on the show, competing against Holzhauer and the episode’s third contestant, Jasmine Leonas.

Holzhauer is a professional sports gambler from Las Vegas who has made headlines not only for his succession of runaway games but for his record-breaking daily totals. Holzhauer has the second-longest winning streak in the game show’s history and holds the top spot for single-game winnings: $131,127 in one game.

As of press time, Holzhauer has won $1,608,672 in total—the second-highest in total winnings behind Ken Jennings, according to the Jeopardy Hall of Fame.

Despite his loss, Levin is proud of the experience, he said. He compared the experience to the student-athletes he works with at Brandeis: “Sometimes, you can give your all-out best, and it’s just not enough. But if you left everything out on the field (or stage), it’s all you can ask for.”

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