The Final Lineup for The 2024 Jeopardy Masters Revealed

David B Morris
11 min readApr 13, 2024

And Before I Tell You The Producer’s Choice, Let Me Tell You Who I Was Considering Viable (It Was More Interesting Than the Actual One)

Now that the long and arduous Jeopardy postseason has concluded, Jeopardy fans waited for the inevitable next step: when would the long awaited 2024 Jeopardy Masters take place?

Well, last night we got our answers. On Wednesday May 1st at 8:00, the 2024 Masters will take place. Like last year’s it will be spread over three weeks (I’ll list the complete schedule at the conclusion of this article) with the finals taking place on May 22nd of this year. So at last we know the when.

Those of us who watched the show last year — and judging by the ratings, there were at least ten million viewers — already know the format. The first six episodes will contain twelve games in what will be a scoring event. The winner of each individual match will receive 3 match points, the second place winner will receive 1 and the third place winner will receive zero. This meant that even when James Holzhauer ran away with five of the six first round matches, his opponents still had to take Final Jeopardy seriously: second place was important. This fact came as a source of frustration for Amy Schneider, who finished second five times in the first round and as a result could not advance the next round.

The four high scorers will then advance to three semi-final rounds where the same system will be in play, with the three high scorers making it to the final. As we learned last year, this can lead to immense pressure in the final game as Mattea Roach only made it to the finals as the result of a tie-breaker between themselves and Andrew He.

It will all play out in a two-game total point affair, with the winner getting $500,000. So we know the how.

We have known even before the finals began last year who three of the participants would be this year: James Holzhauer, Mattea Roach and Matt Amodio. We also know who two of the other three participants will be: the winner of this year’s Tournament of Champions, Yogesh Raut, who because of his controversial statements about the show may have already taken the title of ‘game show villain’ away from James Holzhauer. We were told at the start of the Invitational Tournament that the winner would advance. This Tuesday Victoria Groce, a player known more for her performance on The Chase then her record on Jeopardy (though I imagine David Madden knows her only too well) managed to get past Andrew He and Amy Schneider for the fifth slot.

We have been told that the sixth and last slot for this year’s Masters would be filled by a ‘producer’s choice’. Today the name of that individual was revealed. But even before that the announcement (which I didn’t know was happening until yesterday evening) there was massive speculation as to who that individual would be.

It seemed unlikely it would be a participant from the 2024 Tournament of Champions because that would be stacking the deck in favor of this year. There had been some controversy when the inaugural line-up was announced back last March about how five of the six original participants had all competed in the previous season. The show was unlikely to make the same mistake twice.

Would it be someone who had participated from the Invitational Tournament? I considered that but rejected it because the producers had made up their mind before the Invitational took place who that producer’s choice would be.

So who did that leave? Over the last 24 hours I speculated that there were nine very strong possibilities: two that seemed by far the most obvious, two who might have been invited because of their relationship to two of the participants (and neither of whom took place in the Invitational) and five of the most obvious absences from the first Invitational Tournament.

Brad Rutter

By far the most obvious choice was Brad Rutter. I was honestly wondering why he hadn’t been invited to the 2023 Masters because, despite the results of the last time he, Ken and James were on the same stage, Brad is still the GOAT. Prior to that tournament, he had won every special tournament in Jeopardy history: the Million Dollar Masters, the Ultimate Tournament of Champions, the Battle of the Decades, and had been the leader of the Team that won the Jeopardy All-Star Challenge. Ken Jennings was painfully aware of how good Brad was, because he had lost to him in the latter three tournaments. It wasn’t until the 2020 Greatest of All Time that Ken finally prevailed over him. The fact he wasn’t in the Invitational Tournament seemed to add credence to the idea he would be chosen.

The second obvious choice was Buzzy Cohen. He was one of the more glaring absences of the Invitational Tournament, considering that the two men he defeated in the 2017 Tournament of Champions — Austin Rogers and Alan Lin — were there, as well as Alex Jacob, one of the key members of his team in the All-Star Games. Considering that he had succeeded Ken Jennings on The Chase, it made sense he’d be here. Working against it was his connection to Jeopardy. He had hosted the 2021 Tournament of Champions as well as several of the Wild Card play-ins, so there might have been a contractual obligation that he felt would serve as a conflict.

The next two were likely not only because of their skills as champions but because they had a past relationship with two of the finalists.

The first was Jonathan Fisher. Known in Jeopardy lore for having defeated Matt Amodio, he then went on to win 11 games and just under a quarter of a million dollars. The previous season it would have been one of the best records; in Season 38, it was the fifth best in terms of both games and money won. He was also eliminated by Andrew He in his climb to the Masters, so there were more than a few reasons to ask him.

Emma Boettcher.

The other player was Emma Boettcher. Emma, as Jeopardy fans know, is the woman who dethroned James Holzhauer in his original run in 2019. She won three games and just over $90,000 which was enough to get her to the 2019 Tournament of Champions. She then managed to get to the finals of the Tournament and came within an eyelash of defeating James for the $250,000 grand prize. I was slightly shocked she wasn’t invited to the Invitational (I would have chosen her over Victoria Groce for one) but there’s a logic if she was the choice.

And now that left me with five alternatives who were among the most glaring omissions from the first Jeopardy Invitational. Out of fairness, I will list them alphabetically and give a brief summation of why they might be invited. I have gone over most of their records before in my columns but for the purposes of this column, I’ll repeat the highlights to give the logic.

Robin Carroll

Robin was not only the second woman to win a Tournament of Champions back in 2000 but for the space of roughly a year, was the biggest money winner in Jeopardy history. After winning both the 2000 TOC and the 2001 International Tournament, she’d won just over $224,000. That record held until the Million Dollar Masters. She was one of the ones invited but couldn’t get out of the quarterfinals and then Brad Rutter leaped ahead of her. She got a bye into the second round of the Ultimate Tournament of Champions but was eliminated there and while she made it into the quarterfinals of the Battle of the Decades, she lost to one of the players I’m about to name.

Julia Collins

Her exclusion from the Invitational was more glaring that Robin’s. Back in 2014, while the final two weeks of the Battle of the Decades were unfolding, Julia was putting together a streak of 20 consecutive wins and $428,100. The former was the second most in Jeopardy history to Ken Jennings at the time; the latter was third to David Madden. That year she made it to the finals of the Tournament of Champions but finished third to Ben Ingram and Arthur Chu.

She was the only female chosen to captain one of the All-Star Teams in 2019 and her team was the first to be eliminated. One of the members of her team was Ben Ingram and Colby Burnett and Austin Rogers captained their own teams. All three of them were invited back to the Invitational, along with Arthur Chu, Alan Lin, Pam Mueller, Larissa Kelly, David Madden, Matt Jackson, Alex Jacob, Monica Thieu and Leonard Cooper. Lilly Chin, who was an alternate to the All-Star Games, got an invitation as well. In particular, the fact that the last three were extended invitation and she wasn’t seems glaring — unless it was due to the fact she was invited back.

Roger Craig

Roger’s exclusion was, if anything, more glaring than Julia’s. He broke Ken Jennings’ one day record of $75,000 in his second appearance on the show. He managed to win six games and just over $230,000 in his first run and then went on to dominate in the 2011 Tournament of Champions. He did so by both hunting for the Daily Doubles in the bottom of the categories and betting everything on them, something that is now practically a given for almost every super-champion in the last decade.

He managed to get to the finals against Brad and Ken in the Battle of The Decades and was ahead of them in both games in Double Jeopardy, when he chose to bet everything on a Daily Double (in one case egged on by Ken) and both times lost everything. Both times he took it in good spirits, even though he finished third. I expected him to do better in the All-Star Games but as a member of Team Austin, he didn’t help that much in their first match and didn’t do much better in the Wild Card game. Still, the reasons that are valid for Julia being included are even more valid for him, especially considering that Leonard and Austin — his teammates — were invited and he wasn’t.

Frank Spangenberg

The last two I speculated on are ‘Old Masters’. I wasn’t sure either would have been invited back under normal circumstances but considering how well Sam Buttrey did in every tournament he’s played in as well as Chuck Forest’s inclusion, there’s real logic into asking either of them.

Frank, like Chuck, is one of the original GOATs. Indeed, he absolutely shattered the five day record that had been set by Chuck in 1985 when he became the first player in Jeopardy history to win over $100,ooo in his first appearance. His five day record of $102,597 would stand for more than twelve years and it wasn’t until the dollar figures were doubled in 2001 that it happened — and even then, it took two more years for someone to do so.

Frank didn’t get into the finals of the 1990 Tournament of Champions but he’s been a Tournament regular ever since. He participated in Super Jeopardy, won the 10th Anniversary Tournament in 1993, was invited to the Million Dollar Masters in 2002, got a bye into the second round of the Ultimate Tournament of Champions and then nearly managed to get into the finals were it not for, well, you’ll see below. He still won over $105,000 the fourth highest amount of any competitor in the Tournament. He was invited to the Battle of the Decades: The 1980s but though he played well in his match, a tough Final Jeopardy led to him being eliminated in the first round.

With one of the best track record as well as one of the most distinctive mustaches in Jeopardy history, he would seem due to be invited back. The fact that the event took place in New York led me to wonder if that was why.

Jerome Vered

In his original run Frank set a one-day record for $30,600. That record didn’t last as long as his five day record. Less than two years later, Jerome Vered swept past it with $34,000 en route to winning $96,800 in five days. That mark was second to Frank’s until the dollar figures were doubled in 2001; Jerome’s one day record stood for more than a decade.

Watching Jerome originally I thought he would sweep to the Tournament of Champions that year. Instead he finished third to Leszek Pawlowicz (another great Jeopardy player I hope to see invited back). Unlike Robin and Frank we didn’t see Jerome again until the UTC. He made up for lost time, climbing his way to the semi-finals, trouncing Tournament of Champion winners and record holders alike. In a thrilling two-game affair, he emerged victorious over Pam Mueller and yes, Frank Spangenberg. He faced off against Ken and Brad in a three-game final, but by the end of Game 2, he wasn’t going to be anywhere but third place. Still he won just under $390,000 for his work.

I had high hopes for him going into the Battle of the Decades but he couldn’t get started in his first round match and was eliminated. But as a California resident he is still remembered by many. Troy Meyer invited him to the 2024 Tournament of Champions and Ken remembered him fondly. Was that a foreshadowing of what was to come?

And the answer as to who would be invited back is…

(Think Music)

Amy Schneider.

This is both a logical and illogical choice.

On the pro-side, Amy was part of the Masters lineup last year, she is one of the biggest Jeopardy winners of all time (you have to give the people what they want) and she did finish second to Victoria in the Invitational. So it can be argued as a rematch on more levels than one.

On the con side, I’m not convinced she was going to be the original producer’s choice. For one thing, if she had been they would never have put her through the bother of the Invitational Tournament they would have just invited her back. And the fact she finished second does make you question whether the Invitational Tournament was rigged. Would they have done the same thing had she lost to David Madden in the semi-final, which very nearly happened?

I will be curious to see what the online reaction is from fans in the immediate aftermath. If I had to guess many will be excited about the possibility of seeing Amy face off against three people who defeated her in the Masters — and a fourth she lost to in the Invitational. But I imagine many will wonder, like I am, if the dice were loaded in Amy’s favor from the start. Considering a lot of fans didn’t want to see a rematch of the 2022 Tournament of Champions finals in the Invitational Finals, I have little doubt there will be some backlash. How much I’m not sure.

Still, I am glad I speculated because I wanted you to see my thinking. And hopefully when the next Invitational Tournament comes in 2025, the writers will invite many of the names I listed before. Or maybe when the time comes for a producer’s choice, make it one that’s a real surprise.

That said, I am still looking forward to the Masters. It was thrilling last time and it’s hard to imagine it won’t be again. Even the fact that most of the faces are familiar means nothing, especially for those of who spent fifteen years watching Ken and Brad face off in final after final of special tournaments. We already know anything can happen and it usually does.

I’ll start with the breakdown on May 2nd. I’m waiting for it.

DATES (All Scheduled for 8–9pM

Wednesday May 1st

Monday May 6th

Wednesday, May 8th

Friday, May 10th

Monday, May 13th

Wednesday, May 15th

Friday, May 17th

Monday, May 20th

Wednesday, May 22nd



David B Morris

After years of laboring for love in my blog on TV, I have decided to expand my horizons by blogging about my great love to a new and hopefully wider field.