Jeopardy! has been a staple of American television for decades, and over the years, the game show has seen some incredible contestants.
Many of these contestants have won big, but only a select few have won the most significant sums of money.
In total, the top ten Jeopardy! contestants of all time have won a mind-boggling $18,763,297 in cash and prizes.
Of the top ten winners, three players have won an incredible two-thirds of the total amount.
Interestingly, before the start of Season 20 in 2003, there was a rule on Jeopardy! that anyone who won five games in a row would “retire” from the game and take their winnings.
However, this rule changed, and as a result, nine of the current top ten winners won their cash after the rule change.
One of the youngest players on the list is Mattea Roach, who was just 23 years old when she started her streak in April and May 2022.
Roach won a whopping $560,983 in a 23-game win streak, becoming the winningest Canadian in Jeopardy! history.
Roach also became one of just three contestants to reach their age in Jeopardy! victories.
Another notable contestant is Matt Jackson, a college student whose 13-day cash winnings totaled $411,612.
Jackson finished in second place in his season’s Tournament of Champions, earning $100,000, and winning another $100K in the 2019 All-Star Games as part of Ken Jennings’ team.
With the $2,000 consolation prize from his original loss, Jackson took home a total of $613,612.
Larissa Kelly, a college professor from Newton, Massachusetts, won a six-day cash winnings total of $222,597 in Season 25 in 2008.
In 2009, she was the first runner-up in the Tournament of Champions, securing another $100,000, and she received one-third of the $1 million prize from the 2019 All-Star team tournament.
With the $5,000 she got as an invitee to 2014’s Battle of the Decades and her original $1,000 consolation, Larissa Kelly took home a total of $661,930.
Cris Pannullo is the most recent addition to the top ten list. He went on a 21-game win streak that started in September 2022, accumulating $748,286 in winnings, good for seventh place on Jeopardy!’s Leaderboard of Legends.
His streak puts the customer success operations manager from Ocean City, New Jersey, at sixth place in consecutive wins.
David Madden, an art historian from Ridgewood, New Jersey, earned cash winnings totaling $430,400 in 2005.
Following his 19-day run on the show, he also split the $1 million prize for being part of the All-Star team that included Larissa Kelly and Ken Jennings, for an additional $333,333.
Not included in the official total are the $10K consolation prize from his Tournament of Champions and the $2,000 consolation from the loss in his 20th game. In total, Madden took home $775,733.
Finally, Matt Amodio‘s 38-game win streak ended just a couple of months shy of Amy Schneider’s first appearance.
Amodio earned $1,518,601 in cash winnings ahead of the Tournament of Champions. Both Amodio and Schneider were supposed to appear on the game show before Alex Trebek’s death, but when COVID shut down production, each
Additionally, it’s worth noting that Brad Rutter, who many consider one of the greatest Jeopardy! players of all time did not make the top ten list of total winnings.
However, he still holds the record for the highest total earnings from a single tournament, with $4,455,102 from Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament in 2020.
Overall, the top ten Jeopardy! winners showcase the diversity of contestants who have found success on the show, from college professors to art historians to customer success operations managers.
And while some have dominated the game with long winning streaks, others have shown that it’s possible to win big with a shorter run.
As Jeopardy! continues to air new episodes with its rotating lineup of guest hosts, we’ll likely see new players emerge and make their mark on the show’s history.
But for now, the top ten list of all-time winners stands as a testament to the skill and knowledge of these contestants, who have proven themselves to be the very best at America’s favorite quiz show.