Jeopardy!‘s latest super-champ, Cris Pannullo, continued his winning streak on Tuesday, November 29, picking up his 17th consecutive victory after a closely-fought game.
The New Jersey native banked another $44,000 on Tuesday’s episode after defeating healthcare administrator Matt Harvey and philanthropic advisor Sheila Anderson. Pannullo’s total winnings now stand at $610,344, putting him in fifth place for all-time regular-season earnings (and ninth if you include tournaments).
Pannullo, a former poker pro and customer service operations manager, has also climbed to ninth place for the longest Jeopardy! winning streaks, surpassing fan-favorite Ryan Long, who won 16 games in a row earlier this year. However, he’s still a ways off the top spot held by Ken Jennings (74 wins) — today (November 30) is actually 18 years to the day since Jennings’ reign as Jeopardy! champion ended when he lost his 75th game to Nancy Zerg.
Tuesday’s game was Pannullo’s toughest test yet, as Harvey gave him a run for his money. Heading into Final Jeopardy!, the totals were $24,000 for Pannullo, $21,400 for Harvey, and $4,200 for Anderson. Harvey was actually leading for most of the episode until the reigning champ went all-in on a Daily Double, giving him the lead heading into the final.
“You’d easily be in first place if not for Cris’ remarkable Daily Double bet,” Jennings told Harvey. However, Pannullo nailed the Final Jeopardy! clue and wagered a huge $20,000, comfortably securing his 17th victory.
“Cris was holding on to his pen until the last moment and I thought for sure he hadn’t written down anything,” wrote a fan on the Jeopardy! Reddit forum. “Great poker face befitting the professional poker player that he is!”
“Holy moly, talk about a nail-biter. If Jeopardy gave out an award for Game of the Year this one would be hard to top,” added another commenter.
Meanwhile, the show’s producers revealed they have a nickname for contestants bested by Pannullo. On the recent Inside Jeopardy! podcast, longtime producer Sarah Foss said, “Something does happen to the challengers when we get into these big runs. People… they’re just excited to play against a super champion. They’re like, I get to say ‘I was Pannulo’d!’”
Former Jeopardy! champion Buzzy Cohen, who was a guest on the podcast, laughed at the phrasing. “I promise you no matter what happens in my life, I will never say I was ‘Pannullo’d’,” he stated. “Even if I played Cris Pannullo, I don’t think I’d want to say I was Pannullo’d.”
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