Matt Jackson (Jeopardy! contestant)

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Matthew Barnett Jackson (born June 24, 1992) is a former contestant on the syndicated game show Jeopardy! who is known for winning 13 straight games and earning $413,612, the sixth-highest total in regular play in both categories, after Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer, Julia Collins, David Madden, and Jason Zuffranieri. His 13-episode streak ended with a loss on October 14, 2015. Jackson's total winnings amount to $413,612, which places him 5th on the all-time money-winning list in regular (non-tournament) games.[1]

Early life and quiz bowl career[edit]

Jackson grew up in Washington, D.C. and attended Georgetown Day School.[2] He is the son of Amy Berman Jackson, a judge on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and lawyer Darryl Jackson.[3] His mother is Jewish and his father is African-American and Christian.[3] His middle name comes from his maternal grandfather, Barnett Berman, a physician at Johns Hopkins University whom Jackson cited as an early influence in becoming well-read.[4]

Jackson majored in philosophy at Yale University and graduated in 2014. While at Yale, he was a key player on the university's quiz bowl team, which won several national tournaments, including Academic Competition Federation nationals in 2011 and 2012[5][6] and the National Academic Quiz Tournaments Intercollegiate Championship Tournament 2013 (division I);[7] Jackson served as president of the Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence (PACE), a nonprofit promoting the spread of quiz bowl, for the 2014–15 year.[8][9][10] He works as a paralegal in D.C.[11]


Jackson was encouraged to apply for the show by his friend Sam Spaulding, who won $50,000 after finishing second in the fall 2010 College Championship.[12] After two unsuccessful attempts to enter the college tournament, he auditioned for the regular show in 2014 and was selected as a contestant.[12] Jackson said that he repeated, "I am not throwin' away my shot," a line from the musical Hamilton, for inspiration while preparing for the show.[13] He studied by reading previous champions' books on the experience, such as Ken Jennings’s Brainiac and Bob Harris's Prisoner of Trebekistan.[13]

Jackson initially drew attention for his slow smile while being introduced at the beginning of each show.[11][3] After his first victory, he began using his fingers to display the number of wins in his streak.[14] Jackson also became known for his buzzer speed and for quickly moving onto the next question after giving a correct response.[13][15] In his fourth game, when Jackson said "Boom!" after correctly answering a Daily Double, fans and media quickly proclaimed the exclamation his signature catchphrase, but he never repeated it.[16]

Jackson's 13-episode streak ended with a loss on October 14, 2015. In his 14 episodes he earned $413,612. At the time his 13-win streak was the fourth highest in Jeopardy! regular-play history, trailing only Ken Jennings (74 wins in 2004), Julia Collins (20 in 2014), and David Madden (19 in 2005). He was also fourth-highest in total regular-play earnings. In 2019 James Holzhauer had a 32-game winning streak, moving Jackson to fifth place in both consecutive games won and total regular-play earnings

Jackson returned in November 2015 for the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions. On the November 11 episode he won his quarterfinal game and moved on to the next round.[17] On the November 18 episode he won his semifinal game to advance to the finals. In the two-day final aired on November 19 and 20, Jackson finished second, behind Alex Jacob, winning $100,000.

Jackson appeared in the show's "All-Star Games", which aired from February 20 to March 5, 2019. His teammates were captain Ken Jennings and 2012 College champion Monica Thieu. The team took second place.[18]


  1. ^ Bryant, Jacob (14 October 2015). "Matt Jackson's 13-Game 'Jeopardy!' Streak Ends". Variety. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  2. ^ "He Keeps on Winning!". Georgetown Day School. 1 October 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Heil, Emily (7 October 2015). "Washington 'Jeopardy' contestant Matt Jackson is a pop-culture sensation — and the son of a federal judge". Washington Post. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  4. ^ Miller, Jason (7 October 2015). "An Interesting Jewish "Jeopardy" Champ". My Jewish Learning. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  5. ^ Vinokurov, Jerry (17 April 2011). "ACF Nationals 2011 thanks and discussion". Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  6. ^ "ACF Nationals recap". ACF. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  7. ^ "2013 Intercollegiate Championship Tournament Team Standings". NAQT. 29 March 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  8. ^ Rosenberg, Ryan (14 July 2014). "PACE Officers 2014-2015". Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  9. ^ Zhang, Marianna (13 July 2015). "PACE Officers 2015-2016". Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  10. ^ "About PACE". Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  11. ^ a b Mullins, Jenna (5 October 2015). "The Internet Is Obsessed With Jeopardy! Contestant Matt Jackson and Now So Are We!". E! Online. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  12. ^ a b "WHO IS MATT JACKSON?". Jeopardy!. 5 October 2015. Archived from the original on 20 November 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  13. ^ a b c Ledbetter, Carly (6 October 2015). "What You Need To Know About Matt Jackson, The New Star Of 'Jeopardy!'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  14. ^ Kavner, Lucas (7 October 2015). "Get to Know Matt Jackson, the 23-Year-Old Who Is Killing Everyone on Jeopardy". The Vulture. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  15. ^ Furdyk, Brent (7 October 2015). "WATCH: 'Jeopardy' Contestant Matt Jackson Hits Day 8 Of Winning Streak". Entertainment Tonight Canada. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  16. ^ Amos, Candace (8 October 2015). "'Jeopardy!' champion Matt Jackson breathes new life into show with awkwardly sinister smile, celebratory 'boom!' cheer". NY Daily News. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  17. ^ Heil, Emily (11 November 2015). "Washington paralegal Matt Jackson crushed it again on 'Jeopardy' (with jazz hands)". Washington Post. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  18. ^ "2019 All-Star Games -". Retrieved 29 January 2019.
Preceded by
Greg Seroka
Biggest Jeopardy! winners by season
Succeeded by
Seth Wilson
Preceded by
Michael Bilow
Biggest one-day winners on Jeopardy! by season
Succeeded by
Joe Nguyen
Preceded by
Arthur Chu
Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions first runner-up
Succeeded by
Alan Lin