For the first time ever, the three best Jeopardy! players will be going head to head for the title of "The Greatest of All Time," and fans are beyond stoked. James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings, and Brad Rutter, the three highest money winners, are set to compete in January 2020, and quite a few fans are predicting that Brad, who has never been defeated by a human, will continue his winning streak.
For those who don't know, Brad Rutter is currently the the highest earning contestant on the show. In fact, he actually holds the title for highest-earning American game show contestant of all time. But how much did he win? And how did he do it? Read on to find out.
How much did Brad Rutter win on Jeopardy!?
Over the span of 19 years, Brad has won a total of $4,876,036, including the two Chevrolet Camaros he was awarded throughout his run, but he's not stopping there. Since he's scheduled to compete in Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time, he could be adding another $1 million to that sum. And even if he loses, he's guaranteed to receive at least $250,000.
It all started when he first appeared on the show in 2000, when he was only 22. At the time, he was a college-dropout and working at a record store.
He told Vanity Fair, “I was 22 when I first was on the show so I was still wearing clothes that my parents had bought me to go to funerals and stuff like that. The first time I thought about buying my own clothes was the first time I had money to do so.”
Thankfully, his multiple victories on Jeopardy! allowed him to do just that. After having five consecutive wins (which was the limit at the time), he won $55,102. Then, he was invited to return for the Tournament of Champions in 2001, where he defeated the other champions and won an additional $100,000.
In the following year, he was invited back again for the Million Dollar Masters Tournament and he won the main prize of $1 million, which officially made him the highest earning contestant on the show.
Brad temporarily lost his title as "Highest Money-Winner"
The rules regarding consecutive wins had changed in 2003, so when another contestant, Ken Jennings, had his 74-day run in 2004, he passed Brad and became the Highest Money Winner (for Jeopardy! and American game shows) at the time.
However, he returned to Jeopardy in 2005 for the Ultimate Tournament of Champions, where he got to compete against Ken. He won the tournament and received the $2,100,000 prize, once again earning him the "Highest Money-Winner on American Game Shows" title. Still, by 2008, that record slipped away for a second time, after Ken appeared on other game shows.
In 2011, Brad participated in the Jeopardy! IBM Challenge, the first ever man vs. machine competition. The computer, which was built with a mechanical thumb, went up against both him and Ken. Both lost to the machine, with Brad coming in third place. He won $200,000.
Brad wouldn't regain his title until 2014, when he competed in Battle of the Decades. It featured over 45 champions who had competed within the past three decades, but he eventually won the tournament, along with $1 million.
Brad returns and continues his winning streak.
In 2019, Brad and fellow Jeopardy! champions Larissa Kelly and Dave Madden teamed up for Jeopardy! All-Star Games. Together, they won the first prize of $1,000,000 and he walked away with a third ($333,334).
In a previous interview, the now 41 year old shared how his winnings afforded him the opportunity to pursue a career in acting and TV hosting. When he's not auditioning for roles, though, he's busy rooting for other Jeopardy! contestants.
He explained to Vanity Fair, “Whenever anybody wins about three games, I'm rooting for them to win about 50. Make them bring you back, because that means they have to bring me back.”
Viewers can see Brad in action once again on Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time on January 7.