ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque math teacher has been running a clinic on a how to win big on ‘Jeopardy!’ and now he’s breaking some of the show’s all-time records.
A 17-year Albuquerque resident, Jason Zuffranieri is getting national attention for his historic run on the long-time TV game show. On Friday, Zuffranieri won his 16th straight game.
“Being on the inside is such an honor,” Zuffranieri said in an interview with KRQE News 13 Friday. “I’ll take what I can get.”
The honor has also been mind-bending for Zuffranieri, who says being a contestant on Jeopardy has been a life-long dream.
“Let’s say in February if you’d have told me eight months from now, all of this stuff is going to be happening, I never would have believed you,” Zuffranieri said.
Friday night’s victory for Zuffranieri brought him above $437,000 in winnings. The total marks the third-most total winnings for a contestant in regular-season Jeopardy.
“Unbelievable,” said Zuffranieri. “The goal going into this whole thing was maybe I can win one, maybe I can come out on top, I can say I’m a champ and they’ll never take that away from me.”
Zuffranieri’s streak started around late March when the program recorded the final episodes of the last season. He won six straight, then took six weeks off, a break that host Alex Trebek questioned Zuffranieri about this week.
“For me, I really knew an awful lot going in because I had studied so hard over the summer that it was… it was more about the other stuff. You know, get the timing down right,” Zuffranieri said.
So far, that big break hasn’t phased him. Sixteen-weeks deep, Jeopardy just put Zuffranieri in the show’s “Hall of Fame.” Despite the ranking, Zuffranieri says he doesn’t see himself as one of the best.
“I know I’m not in the class of those true greats,” he said.
Living his dream, Zuffranieri hopes he’s making New Mexico proud, too.
“I hope I don’t let anyone down. So far, so good!” Zuffranieri said.
While his win streak continues, Zuffranieri couldn’t talk about just how far his streak goes, but he’ll be back on another episode Monday. That episode will be his 17th in a row.