‘Jeopardy!: 6 Things to Know About Champ Yogesh Raut

Yogesh Raut competes on Jeopardy!
Jeopardy, Inc!

Self-employed blogger Yogesh Raut is the latest Jeopardy! champion to get fans talking after winning his third consecutive game on Friday (January 13).

The Springfield, Illinois native amassed total earnings of $96,403 across his first three games but faced stiff competition last Friday. Raut faced off against consultant Michael Cavaliere and crisis worker trainee Brenda Crowell in a closely fought contest, with Raut trailing behind Cavaliere at various points throughout the episode.

Fortunately for Raut, he answered the Final Jeopardy! clue correctly, landing him a winning total of $21,201, while Cavaliere answered incorrectly, taking his winnings from $16,801 to $4,399.

Fans have had mixed reactions to Raut so far, with one Twitter user writing, “I do not often wish for someone will lose, but Yogesh’s arrogance is totally off-putting.” However, the freelance writer and podcaster began to win viewers over during Friday’s game.

“Yogesh started to win me over this time,” wrote a user of the Jeopardy! Reddit forum. “I found him a bit off-putting (sorry, not sure if that counts as not-excellent) in the first game, and didn’t know about the comedy background. He let that come through on tonight’s show.”

But who exactly is Raut? Here are six things you should know about the Jeopardy! champion.

He Auditioned For 20 Years Before Getting on ‘Jeopardy!’

Speaking to the State Journal-Register, Raut, 38, confessed that he’s auditioned for the long-running game show over half a dozen times over the past 20 years.

“I always knew I would be good enough if I ever got the chance so I just kept trying because there wasn’t anything else to focus on,” he said. “This has been my hobby for most of my adult life and it was the only game with that level of legitimacy and ability to reward me.”

He’s Competed Against James Holzhauer

This might be Raut’s first time on Jeopardy!, but he has experience quizzing against some of the show’s most famous alums. While attending the Illinois Math and Science Academy, Raut took part in the scholastic circuit, where he played against and beat former Jeopardy! tournament winners such as Colby Burnett and James Holzhauer.

“He was Jamie Holzhauer in those days,” Raut revealed. “My team won two Scholastic Bowl State Championships and his team won… zero.”

He Produces His Own Trivia Game Show

Raut, who studied psychology at Stanford University, is not just a fan of competing in trivia games; he also hosts and produces one of his own. Described as a “trivia game show with a twist,” Raut has produced numerous episodes of the podcast Recreational Thinking, which he compares to the games Trivial Warfare and Triviality.

He Isn’t Afraid to Flex His Knowledge

Across Raut’s three episodes, it’s become clear that he isn’t scared about showing off his broad base of trivia knowledge. This was most evident last week when instead of answering with “What is the Statue of Liberty?” he instead responded, “What is Liberty Enlightening The World?”

“Show-off,” host Ken Jennings quipped.

“I LOVED Yogesh’s response! Knowledge is beautiful!!! I think Ken’s ribbing was lovely too! Not mean spirited, but honest and smart. I look forward to more of this between them!” tweeted one viewer.

He’s Broken the 3-Day Curse

Whether Raut can win his fourth game or not on Monday night, he at least broke the three-day curse. As Jennings pointed out during Friday’s game, nobody has won more than two games in a row since super-champ Ray Lalonde’s 13-game streak came to an end on January 3.

He First Appeared on TV When He was 4

In an interview with The Columbian, Raut said he wasn’t nervous about competing on television, and that’s because he already has experience in front of the cameras.

“I first appeared on local news when I was 4,” he revealed, noting how he caught the attention of newscasters for his ability to point to a blank map of the United States and name all the states and capitals.

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