“Jeopardy” champ Arthur Chu is just fine with being the Richard Sherman of “Jeopardy.”
Chu has flipped three decades of “Jeopardy” strategy with an approach designed to beat not just his fellow players, but the game himself. Actually, beating the other players isn’t essential: One of Chu’s tricks is to bet to tie in Final Jeopardy, rather than betting to win. His logic is that the most important goal is to come back tomorrow, and by playing for a tie, he reduces his chance of a loss.
Such tactics have upset “Jeopardy” purists who say Chu — known for a fast game that involves sometimes interrupting Alex Trebek — is ruining the game. He doesn’t care.
Chu noted that the anger at him might enliven the game, just as anger at Sherman, the Seattle Seahawks cornerback, made for a better Super Bowl. Sherman offended delicate football sensibilities with his over-the-top boasting in an interview.
“As I started rolling with it, it became fun,” Chu told America Now radio host Andy Dean on Wednesday. “I was like, okay, if people want me to be a villain? It’s sort of like the story about Sherman. When football players get cast as villains. Sometimes the best thing is to own it. You want me to be the villain? I’ll be the villain. It’s fun.”
Part of his strategy is leaping around the board, trying to take Daily Doubles out early. He’s trying to remove a variable that could allow opponents to overcome him. And the sudden jumps between categories disorients the other competitors.
What people at home often forget, Chu says, is that “Jeopardy” players are competing for real money. A $2,000 clue is worth a real $2,000 — the kind of money he can’t just leave on the table.
“I’m not going to apologize for doing what I’m doing for myself and my family,” he told Dean.
“It’s entertaining,” he added. “It’s more entertaining to go in there and mix it up than to hide under a rock and wait for all the haters to go away.”
Watch Chu in action: