(WANE) — It only took $2,600 for a Fort Wayne man to walk away with a victory in his debut on the game show Jeopardy! Wednesday night.
Fort Wayne resident and Huntington native Jesse Matheny won his first game of Jeopardy! Wednesday night after a tightly contested match between him and the other two contestants.
Matheny played well throughout the game despite costly incorrect responses on two “Daily Double” questions and had over $10,000 going into the final round.
Matheny said he was just happy that it all worked out despite missing two questions in subjects he considers a strength of his.
Going into Final Jeopardy!, the other contestants and Matheny had similar amounts of money, but all three contestants did not guess the final question correctly.
However, the other contestants wagered more than Matheny, allowing him to stay afloat and move on to play another game.
On Thursday, Matheny spoke with WANE 15 about his victory — while wearing Jeopardy! themed socks — and said that he thought he was done for after missing the Final Jeopardy! question.
“Hearing Ken [Jennings] say ‘no, that’s not correct,’ that was definitely an ‘oh shoot’ kind of moment like ‘this is probably it, this is the end of the run,'” Matheny said.
Matheny finished with $2,600, the returning champion finished with $2,000, and the third contestant finished with $1,000.
In the months between filming the show and it airing on WANE 15, Matheny said keeping the victory a secret was one of the hardest secrets he has had to keep.
“The last two weeks, I was pretty much constantly peppered with questions,” Matheny said. “A lot of my coworkers said ‘well, we know you didn’t win $1 million because you’re still here.'”
Those interested in seeing if Matheny can start a winning streak can watch Matheny’s second game of Jeopardy! on WANE 15 at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 27.
Even if Matheny loses on Thursday, he said he will be back on Jeopardy! again at a later date through one of two end-of-season tournaments.
If Matheny wins at least five games, he will be able to participate in the Tournament of Champions.
However, with Matheny’s win on Wednesday, he is guaranteed to be a contestant in the new Champions Wildcard tournament, which will feature every contestant who won a game of Jeopardy! during Season 39 but did not qualify for the Tournament of Champions.
The winner of the Champions Wildcard tournament will move on to the Tournament of Champions.