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Roger Craig
Roger Craig.jpg
Name: Roger Alan Craig
Birth Hometown: Newark, Delaware
Occupation: computer scientist
Known for: Jeopardy!

Roger Alan Craig (born c. 1977) is an American game show contestant and computer scientist. He held the record for highest single-day winnings on the quiz show Jeopardy! from September 14, 2010 (surpassing Ken Jennings) to April 9, 2019 (when James Holzhauer surpassed him). In 2011, Craig returned to win the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions. In 2014, he competed in the Battle of the Decades tournament, finishing third overall behind Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings.

Early life and career[]

Craig, who was 33 years old at the time of his initial Jeopardy! appearance in 2010, is a native of Ferndale, Pennsylvania. He grew up there and later in Virginia, where he graduated from Annandale High School in 1995.

He holds a first degree in biology and biochemistry from Virginia Tech, and a master's degree and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Delaware. He was working on his doctorate at the time of his first appearance on Jeopardy!, and completed the degree later in 2010.

In his scholarly career, he has published eight papers in the field of bioinformatics, specifically on topics of combinatorial protein synthesis and protein-protein prediction.

As of November 2011 he was living in Newark, Delaware, and working as a computer scientist. He is the founder of Cotinga, a company which performs data analyses and creates learning applications for smartphones. Craig was a guest on KFC Radio of Barstool Sports on August 23, 2012.

Jeopardy![]

Preparation[]

Craig prepared for Jeopardy! by studying the online archive of past questions maintained on the J! Archive website. Using data-mining and text-clustering, he identified the topics most likely to occur in game questions, then used the spaced repetition program Anki for memorization and tested himself using his own program.

Craig played quiz bowl as a student at both Virginia Tech and the University of Delaware. Before his Jeopardy appearances, he played numerous Jeopardy scrimmage matches against his friends with quiz bowl experience.

Craig believes his attendance at the two universities helped the most in his success:

Appearances[]

Original Run[]

Craig set his record of $77,000 on the second day of the 2010–2011 Jeopardy! season on the episode airing September 14, 2010. In his record-setting appearance, he had a score of $47,000 after the game's first two rounds, then wagered and won $30,000 in the Final Jeopardy! round. Prior to Craig, the single-day record of $75,000 was held by Ken Jennings. Craig lost to North Carolina sportswriter Jelisa Castrodale in his seventh appearance. He had the lead going into the Final Jeopardy! round, in the category "Sports and Media". Castrodale won when she gave the correct response to the Final Jeopardy question about the winner of the 2010 Super Bowl, while Craig gave an incorrect response.

In his seven-day run, Craig earned $231,200, all except $1,000 of which was from winning episodes. This total was the sixth-highest amount of money won non-tournament on the show, ranking Craig behind Ken Jennings, Julia Collins, David Madden, Arthur Chu, and Austin Rogers.

On April 9, 2019, professional gambler James Holzhauer broke Craig's single-day record, surpassing it fifteen more times during his own run; the record now stands at $131,127 as of April 17, 2019. Holzhauer, like Craig, relied on aggressive Daily Double and Final Jeopardy! wagers to amass his totals. Holzhauer also surpassed Craig's records for most earnings won in a player's first five games and largest successful bet on a Daily Double.

Game No. Air Date Final score Cumulative Winnings Notes
1 September 13, 2010 $37,000 $37,000
2 September 14, 2010 $77,000 $114,000 He broke the one-day record, shattering Ken Jennings's $77,000 from his 38 games. In addition, he became the first participant to achieve more than $100K in just two games. Mark Runsvold, the four-time champion from the same season is the other player who also won more than $100K in just two such games ($103,000).(Video)
3 September 15, 2010 $24,401 $138,401 He holds the winnings record through three games; the entrant closest to his three-game winning streak so far is James Holzhauer's $133,451.
4 September 16, 2010 $28,400 $166,801
5 September 17, 2010 $29,000 $195,801 He becomes 5-day highest total winnings from the double era and the second 5-day highest winnings from all-time (Frank Spangenberg’s 5-day record of $205,194 - adjusted for double dollar values).
6 September 20, 2010 $34,399 $230,200
7 September 21, 2010 $4,599 $231,200

Tournament Play[]

In 2011, Craig returned for the Tournament of Champions, which aired in November. In the quarter-final match, he had $200 shy of $40,000 going into Final Jeopardy! and won despite losing $20,200 after getting it wrong. In the semi-final match, described as "a bloody, epic, inter-planetary death match... the Jeopardy! equivalent of a title-unification fight", Craig beat Joon Pahk and Mark Runsvold, the sixth and tenth regular-play all-time money winners on the show[1]. On the first night of the two-day finals, he became the first player in the history of the show to uncover two Daily Double items in succession, wager all of his money on both, and win both times.

When Craig hit the first of his back-to-back Daily Doubles, he wagered his entire pot of $9,000, and won when he correctly identified Anne Brontë as the author who wrote the 1847 book Agnes Grey under the pseudonym 'Acton Bell'. After switching categories and uncovering the second daily double, he wagered his entire pot of $18,000, winning when he correctly answered, "What is Suriname?" after being given the clue "Although Dutch is the official language, Sranan Tongo is spoken by most people in this South American country." His $18,000 win was, at the time, the largest successful Daily Double wager in the show's history.(Video)

Craig won the Tournament of Champions. In the finals, he defeated Buddy Wright and Tom Nissley, to win the $250,000 tournament prize.

Craig returned for the Jeopardy! Battle of the Decades tournament on April 1, 2014, as part of the 2000s Week. Facing Vijay Balse (2010 Tournament of Champions winner) and Stephanie Jass, he defeated Balse by $1 and advanced to the quarterfinals. He won in the quarterfinals on May 5, facing off against Robin Carroll (2000 Tournament of Champions winner) and Leszek Pawlowicz (1992 Tournament of Champions winner).

He defeated Pam Mueller (Fall 2000 College Championship winner) and Colby Burnett (Fall 2012 Teachers Tournament and 2013 Tournament of Champions winner) in the semifinals and advanced to the finals where he placed third. Craig was hurt in the finals by two "True Daily Double" wagers, one on each day of the two-day final, in which he risked $10,200 and responded incorrectly both times.

He later appeared in the 2019 All-Star Games with team captain Austin Rogers and 2013 Teen Tournament winner Leonard Cooper. His team went home with $75,000 after losing the wild card match.

Records[]

During his Jeopardy! appearances, Craig set the following records:

Description Set Record Current record
Highest 5-game total on Jeopardy!, first 5 games (unadjusted) $195,801 $298,687 (James Holzhauer)
Highest single-game total on Jeopardy! $77,000 (September 14, 2010) $131,127 (James Holzhauer, April 17, 2019)[2]
Largest true daily double bet (unadjusted) $18,000 (November 14, 2011) $20,200 (James Holzhauer, January 14, 2020)
Largest daily double bet (unadjusted) $25,000 (James Holzhauer, April 9, 2019)[3]

Trivia[]

  • Because he was the one who broke the record of one-time record-breaking one-game record-breaking Ken Jennings in about six years, many people had high expectations for a champion with 10 or more wins in a long time since David Madden, but he, too, will retreat after a six-game winning streak. Nevertheless, like him, Mark Runsvold, who had accumulated $100,000 in two days, only won four in a row, and considering that other talented players cannot continue their winning streak, this is a great record.
  • Until James Holzhauer came out, he was the recipient of the most prize money in a regular game among the ToC winners.[4]

References[]

  1. It was as if they could be called the group of death, and the competitors showed their skills comparable to that of him. All three have earned over $100,000 in 3 games, and some have achieved over $50,000.
  2. Prior to that, he had renewed himself in the episode aired on April 9, 2019 ($110,914).
  3. Previously, it was renewed by Philip Tiu on the March 15, 2016 episode ($19,000).
  4. Among the previous ToC winners, the longest winning streak is 9 consecutive wins between Dan Pawson (S25) and Buzzy Cohen (S34).
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