JEOPARDY! contestant Stephen Webb’s winning streak has started to look serious after his 7th straight victory on Wednesday’s episode.
He’s amassed a cool combined total of $175K despite finding any Daily Doubles this episode nor barely any during his entire run.
The reigning champ faced Govind Dandekar, a solutions architect from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and Gwen Lockman, a Ph.D candidate from Missoula, Montana.
Stephen is a data scientist from Longmont, Colorado, who returned after Mayim Bialik’s three-week teen tournament concluded.
Ken Jennings, 48, has also returned and will be hosting until April 28th, at which point the sitcom star will finish out the last four months of the season.
Since Stephen’s first game back, he’s stayed winning and his string of victories is starting to gain buzz from Jeopardy! fans.
Not only did Stephen have a runaway, or lock game, by tonight’s Final Jeopardy, but for the third episode in a row he won without the help of special Daily Double clues.
In fact, he has only found five Daily Doubles (of 21) in his seven games, which is either worrisome or seriously impressive – or both.
After nabbing more than half of the 60 clues of the episode, he entered Final Jeopardy with $20,200 while Gwen and Govind both had $8,000.
Final Jeopardy under “Art Exhibitions” read: “In 1898 what’s been called the first blockbuster art show was devoted to him & put on for Queen Wilhelmina’s coronation.”
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No one could draw up “Rembrant” but Stephen dropped just $199 to win with $20,001.
‘SERIOUSLY STRONG PLAYER!’
Game show fans started to pay attention to the beard-boasting rising star in an internet thread on Reddit.
One fan wrote: “Wow Stephen is a seriously strong player. Daily Doubles are so important and crucial to the game, yet he’s still able to find a way to win without them due to his strong knowledge base.”
Another agreed: “You gotta give Stephen credit once again. He doesn’t seem to have the best Daily Double luck, but he is still able to pull off runaways regardless. I’m also very impressed by his stamina.”
A third wondered: “Another super-champion maybe?” which would entail winning 10 games or more.
A fourth worried not finding the special clues (which allow players to wager however much they want) could hurt him.
They wrote: “Hopefully if his luck with Daily Doubles gets better – then we’re guaranteed a long streak.”
Stephen buzzed into the internet thread to say he watched a video about Edward Munch of Scream fame before competing which is why he wrote Munch for Final Jeopardy.
“Before the trip, I had watched this and was like ‘Wilhelmina sounds vaguely Norwegian-ish, Munch was a rockstar in his life, and the timing is right.’ Oops, ah well.”
Stephen, 38, has already qualified for the 2023 Tournament of Champions (which now only has male contestants).
He’s the second contestant to do so in a week along with High School Reunion Tournament winner Justin Bolsen, 18.
Stephen has been correct on 91 percent of clues and now has the third-longest streak of the season behind Cris Pannullo (21 wins) and Ray LaLonde (13 wins.)
According to the Longmont Leader, Stephen has been a Jeopardy! fan for 25 years “but he never imagined that he would be on the other side of the television.”
He took the Anytime Test in 2020 because his wife “noticed that I knew all the answers.”
Some fans knocked Ken for allowing him to respond “is that” instead of “what is” in an earlier game and have spotted that he seems hilariously stressed out while winning big.
He even admitted as much after his fifth win, which was a huge comeback moment where he doubled up in Final Jeopardy when he was trailing opponent Roy Camara.
Stephen dished on Reddit: “After this game, I had to sit down in the restroom in the contestant changing area for a few minutes until I stopped shaking.”
Stephen has no social media presence, which is another sign of success as champions are advised to keep a low profile – or profiles.
But his aunt wrote on Facebook: “My nephew – on again tonight. For how long, we don’t know. He’s not permitted to say and adheres closely to the rules.”
When Mayim returns on May 1, fans will still get more of Ken as he is hosting Jeopardy! Masters, a round-robin 20-episode tournament in primetime on ABC.
It’s said to be airing in the early spring but the date is TBA – it includes legends like James Holzhauer.