James Holzhauer gets to keep barely half his Jeopardy! winnings after taxes

James Holzhauer’s spectacular run on Jeopardy! ended this week in the episode that aired Monday. The professional sports gambler from Las Vegas lost in Final Jeopardy to University of Chicago librarian Emma Boettcher, who’s on a little run of her own now.

Holzhauer left the game show as a 32-day champion and the owner of the top-10 single-game cash records, accumulating $2,464,216 in winnings, which includes the $2,000 for being the runner-up in Monday’s episode. He’s about $58,000 shy of catching 74-day Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings in total winnings.

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But of course, he doesn’t get to keep all that cash because winning money on game shows is never really what it seems. So after federal and California taxes, how much is he really walking away with?

Barely half of his total.

Via Darren Rovel of The Action Network:

Even though Holzhauer is a resident of Nevada, the game show took place in California, which means he is on the hook for taxes in the state, which has the highest rate in the nation at 13.3%. Holzhauer shared with The Action Network that the actual check he received had those taxes withheld.

Robert Raiola, director of the sports and entertainment practice at PFK O’Connor Davies, said that federal and California taxes will trim Holzhauer’s net winnings to $1.29 million, a 47.6% haircut.

Now, $1.29 million is still quite a paycheck for playing a trivia game. But Holzhauer’s situation is just another reminder that getting rich quick on a game show isn’t nearly as easy as it looks — because to win $1 million, you’d still have to, you know, win dozens of Jeopardy! episodes.

Holzhauer recently told NBC News that he and his wife are planning to take a food tour in every country in the world and has donated some to local children’s charities in Vegas.

He’ll also be back for Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions next season, so maybe fans will get another chance to see the Jeopardy! GOAT play again.

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