Ocean City man is three-day champ on Jeopardy!, will be back Wednesday

Update after Wednesday night's 'Jeopardy!': Is New Jersey's Cris Pannullo the next 'Jeopardy!' super champ?

OCEAN CITY - A South Jersey man is now a three-day “Jeopardy!” champion and will defend his title on Wednesday night.

Contestant Cris Pannullo, an Ocean City resident, won Tuesday night's episode, crushing his competition with a lead of more than $9,000 after the first round before taking a commanding $27,900 Double Jeopardy lead into Final Jeopardy.

He then wagered $15,221 in the Asian Country Names category and closed the game with $20,079 after incorrectly guessing the answer.

The final clue: Like the T-U-V in Tuvalu, this landlocked country has three consecutive letters in its English name in alphabetic sequence.

The answer: What is Afghanistan?

Pannullo now has a three-day total of $83,458.

Pannullo first appeared on the gameshow Sept. 30, beating out the four-day winner David Sibley.

"I'm not as good as James Holzhauer," Pannullo said to host Ken Jennings on Monday's episode following a reference to the 32-game winning “Jeopardy!” contestant ranked fourth all-time in consecutive games won.

Though Pannullo didn't correctly answer Friday night's Final Jeopardy clue, his lead was large enough to be declared the winner and move ahead to the next round. Pannullo redeemed himself in his next appearance correctly answering Monday night's Final Jeopardy clue "These five words that end a poem are also a proverb; one citation across the centuries includes a reminder not to make the wall too high," in the category 20th Century poem endings.

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A poker player and customer success operations manager by day, Pannullo has amassed $63,379 over the span of his two-day winnings. Before ending up on “Jeopardy!” Pannullo appeared on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” in 2018 according to IMDb.

While Pannullo aims to continue his winning streak, this isn't the first time a South Jersey resident's knowledge was put to the test on “Jeopardy!”

In 2020, Williamstown resident Kevin Walsh first appeared on the show with an impressive five-game winning streak. Walsh returned to “Jeopardy!” as a Tournament of Champions contestant the following year. Although he did not win his 2021 game, he popped one final Jeopardy question, by proposing to girlfriend Kate Wiswell, at the end of the show.

Before Walsh, Cherry Hill resident Sean Udicious appeared on Jeopardy! in 2018 ending his run with a two-game winning streak.

Pannullo will return to the “Jeopardy!” stage Wednesday night at 7 p.m. on ABC.

This story may be updated.

Nicolette White is the Diversity and Inclusion reporter for the Burlington County Times, The Daily Journal and Courier-Post. She is a Temple University graduate with Dallas, Texas roots. Send tips to nwhite@gannett.com and follow her on Twitter @nicolettejwhite. Please support local journalism with a digital subscription.

This article originally appeared on Cherry Hill Courier-Post: Ocean City resident is the latest Jeopardy! winner