News

This Total Genius Won 'Jeopardy!' With Only $1

Every aspiring Jeopardy! champion probably yearns to dominate the show en route to a lucrative, life-altering payout. Most contestants do get to flex their trivia muscle while dodging subtly insulting commentary from host Alex Trebek, but one man managed to become a Jeopardy! champion with perhaps the most measly earnings available on the show: $1. 

Manny Abell is the lucky winner, and we might as well call him Mr. Money Bags. Abell pocketed the dingy loot during the Final Jeopardy! round on Tuesday night's show. The two other contestants were clearly in the hunt for victory with earnings of $12,300 apiece, so they wagered to go the double-or-nothing route, all but ensuring a grandiose payday if they answered the question correctly. But Abell, the cunning sportsman, decided to wager $999 of his $1,000 winnings, a gambit that guaranteed just a dollar if his opponents fell short. 

Lo and behold, the decision paid just enough to scrape victory from the jaws of defeat after two of the three contestants answered the question about East Asian geography incorrectly. Now, let it be known that Abell is no slouch: the dollar brought his three day winnings to a grand-total of $42,799, which is a handsome purse in its own right.

His one dollar victory, though, is something that hasn't happened on the show in quite a while. The same thing happened in 1993 to Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Darryl Scott, who last earned the prestigious title of one dollar Jeopardy! champ. In a bizarre twist of fate, both one dollar winners were military men. Whether or not future contestants will seek to game the system with a bit of Abell's sly strategy remains to be seen, but it's always good to know that one dollar can still fashion you game show winner. 

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.
 

Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Esquire. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster