Jeopardy! Champion Generates Controversy With His Unorthodox Tactics
I'll take "Dominant Strategy" for $500, Alex.
February 6, 2014 - 5:00 pm
A 30-year-old insurance company employee and freelance voice actor took to the Jeopardy! stage with a burning desire to win and a dominant style of play. Along the way, he has won $102,800 so far and has picked up a reputation as a sort of villain to the show’s most ardent fans. And Arthur Chu doesn’t really care what the haters think.
Chu’s strategy consists of “bouncing around” the board, grabbing higher-dollar clues to shut his opponents out and hunting for valuable Daily Doubles. He often cuts host Alex Trebek off if he knows the answer before Trebek finishes the clue, and he caused a firestorm for betting a mere $5 on a sports-related Daily Double and cutting the host off to admit he didn’t know the answer. Some have called Chu’s strategy unorthodox, but he says it’s all been done before:
“I’ve told many people already that the first thing I did when I found out I was going to be on ‘Jeopardy!’ was sit down at my computer and literally Google ”Jeopardy!’ strategy’ and see what came up. The game’s been around for 30 years, and there are these communities of people like the J! Archive which has fans writing down the clues and the results from every game of “Jeopardy!” in history, ” Chu told FOX411. “Or the J! Board, which has some of the best champions and most devoted fans in ‘Jeopardy!’ history sitting down to discuss strategy and game play.
“What I would say is that what you can learn from my success on the show is that success is often not about being original or groundbreaking – it is about being willing to study from experts, learn from experience and commit to doing what evidence has proven works.”
Chu defends his strategy to fans of the show, saying it isn’t “something to apologize for,” but he admits that he fears frustrating Trebek.
Even the host couldn’t hide his irritation when Chu rattled off answers while he was still speaking.
“The crew, the production team and Alex, they want you to take the clues in order. That way, Alex doesn’t have to go hunting around for the right note card when he has a clue,” Chu said. “I hope he wasn’t too mad. I don’t want to antagonize Alex. Alex is a national treasure.”
Though Chu calls parts of his strategy “a jerk move,” his unusual tactics are legal – and they’re paying off. Can he continue his winning ways now that his methods are under scrutiny? We’ll see February 24, when his next appearance on the show (already in the can) airs.