James Holzhauer holds off Emma Boettcher, wins 'Jeopardy!' Tournament of Champions

Holzhauer credits his success on Jeopardy! to great buzzing skills (1:55)

"Jeopardy!" contestant and professional sports bettor James Holzhauer joined SVP in April to break down his success on the show. (1:55)

James Holzhauer, who garnered national attention this spring on "Jeopardy!" with a prolific run, won the game show's Tournament of Champions during Friday's episode, fending off rival Emma Boettcher to capture the $250,000 first prize.

Holzhauer, a 35-year-old Las Vegas sports bettor, won $2.46 million during a 32-game winning streak. That streak ended in early June at the hands of Boettcher, who remains the only contestant ever to beat him.

The rematch began Thursday with the first of two contests in the Tournament of Champions finals, and it wasn't decided until Final Jeopardy on Friday.

Holzhauer entered Friday with a sizable $22,926 lead over Boettcher, a librarian from Chicago. Boettcher cut into Holzhauer's lead during the Double Jeopardy round and was in striking distance going into Final Jeopardy.

The final clue from the category International Disputes: "A dispute over Etorofu, Habomai, Kunashiri & Shikotan has kept these 2 countries from ever signing a WWII peace treaty."

Holzhauer wagered $9,812, while Boettcher wagered $17,000. Both answered correctly with "What are Japan and Russia?" Holzhauer prevailed with $76,923 to Boettcher's $65,000.

"I had to get Final [Jeopardy] right to avoid a last-second defeat," Holzhauer told ESPN in an email Friday. "Luckily, it was a question about Japan, and my Granny can rest easy knowing that I haven't forgotten my heritage."

Holzhauer's career winnings on "Jeopardy!" now total $2,712,216, the third most in the show's history, behind only Brad Rutter ($4,688,436) and Ken Jennings ($3,370,700).

Boettcher took home $100,000 for second place in the Tournament of Champions, and Francois Barcomb, a high school physics teacher from New York, won $50,000 for finishing third.

"Everyone played great, especially Emma, whose $65,000 total was more than anyone had ever scored in a ToC final before," Holzhauer said. "I think the big takeaway is just how great a competitor she is, proving definitively that her win against me was no fluke."

Holzhauer was quick on the buzzer during Friday's game, buzzing in first better than 54% of the time, according to community site thejeopardyfan.com. He correctly answered 30 of 33 clues, but Boettcher hung tough and answered all 18 of her clues correctly. She made a big move in Double Jeopardy, successfully going all-in on a Daily Double and surpassing Holzhauer for the day.

Five clues later, Holzhauer misfired on a Daily Double of his own, losing $8,615 and putting Boettcher in position to pull out the win in Final Jeopardy. Holzhauer nailed Final Jeopardy, though, thwarting the comeback and adding to his legacy.

During his captivating run in the spring, Holzhauer authored the 16 highest single-game scores in Jeopardy's 35 seasons and 23 of the top 27 overall. His peak performance came on the April 9 episode, when he won a record $131,127. He appeared on SportsCenter and received a key to the city for Las Vegas. Even New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady tweeted about Jeopardy James.

"I strongly suspect this was not my last appearance on 'Jeopardy!'" Holzhauer said. "Stay tuned!"

He said he has been back working as a professional bettor during football season and isn't sure what's next for him.

"Fingers crossed that I may be back on TV again next year," Holzhauer said.