'Jeopardy!': James Holzhauer hits $2 million mark, inches closer to Ken Jennings' record

Anika Reed

"Jeopardy!" winner James Holzhauer hit another major milestone Friday with his latest victory.

After Holzhauer's win Thursday put him within $10,000 of the $2 million mark, he crossed the threshold on the popular quiz show with his 27th win.

Holzhauer ended the week with $2,065,535 after earning $74,400 in Friday's matchup.

The professional sports gambler from Las Vegas is just the second "Jeopardy!" contestant to cross that threshold in regular-season play. Ken Jennings, the show's top money winner, took home $2,520,700 during his 74-win run. Holzhauer is No. 2 to Jennings in show victories, too.

On Friday’s episode, Holzhauer went into Final Jeopardy with $39,400. He wound up wagering $35,000 of that and won the money with a correct response (after crossing a wrong answer out). With that money added to his earnings, he easily crossed the $2 million territory.

More: 'Jeopardy!' champs Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer had an unexpected encounter

Although Holzhauer is nearly 50 wins behind Jennings' total, a sign of the all-time champ's game skill, the current champ could push past Jennings' money total in about a week if he keeps winning games at his daily average of $76,582.  

To put the money totals in perspective, Holzhauer's average daily winnings are just slightly below the previous one-day high, $77,000, set by Roger Craig in 2010. 

The size of Holzhauer's money hauls is even more impressive than his streak. He holds the single-day record for prize money, $131,127 (April 9), having beaten a record he previously set.

Holzhauer explained his aggressive clue selection and wagering approach last month to the New York Times.

"You can see as soon as I get control of the board in the first game, I’m going for the $1,000 clues whenever I have the opportunity," he said, likening his approach to a poker strategy.

"There are big advantages to having a lot of chips early on in a poker tournament. You can make plays that other people can’t."

Jennings, for one, is impressed with the 34-year-old's bold strategy. Jennings told Wired in April he is "gobsmacked" by Holzhauer. 

"I’ve always been on the record as believing that my streak was replicable," Jennings told Wired. "The reason I’m so confident in that is that I was the one who did it! I was there. I know it can be done."

"Jeopardy!" and Trebek are celebrating their 35th anniversary season. With a weekly audience of 23 million viewers, it's the top-rated quiz show on television.

Contributing: Bill Keveney, Carly Mallenbaum

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Jeopardy!': James Holzhauer hits $2 million mark, inches closer to Ken Jennings' record