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James Holzhauer cruises to victory in 'Jeopardy!' return

At one point 'Jeopardy!' James surprised everyone, including Alex Trebek, with what Holzhauer called a 'truly disappointing' wager.

James Holzhauer returned to "Jeopardy!" on Wednesday and made it look easy on his way to securing a spot in the Tournament of Champions semifinals. 

The quarterfinal match was Holzhauer's first time competing on the show since his 32-game record-breaking run earlier this year. 

"Jeopardy! James" had the win in the bag even before the Final Jeopardy clue was read Wednesday.

Host Alex Trebek remarked that Holzhauer "turned the game into a runaway," a commonplace occurrence for the contestant who raked in more than $2.4 million during his first run on the show and made a habit of massive single game totals.

Despite the runaway victory, Holzhauer surprised everyone, including Trebek, when he wagered just $1,109 on the "Daily Double." James joked it was a "truly disappointing bet." 

"You toy with me sir," Trebek remarked. 

And with more than a $19,000 lead heading into Final Jeopardy, Holzhauer bet conservatively there as well, wagering just $326. The bet included a secret shout-out to his nephew, whose birthday is March 26, Holzhauer confirmed to the Naperville Sun

Credit: AP
FILE - In this May 2, 2019, file photo, "Jeopardy!" sensation James Holzhauer speaks after being presented with a key to the Las Vegas Strip in front of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign in Las Vegas.

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He later joked online that his conservative bets on Wednesday's show was sure to kick off "another round of 'why did James bet so small?' conspiracy theories." 

Holzhauer will compete next week in the semifinals of the Tournament of Champions, which runs through Nov. 15. The winner will take home $250,000. 

Emma Boettcher, the Chicago librarian who ended Holzhauer's historic run on "Jeopardy!," has her quarterfinals match up on Thursday.