9:55 PM ET

  • David PurdumESPN Staff Writer


    • Joined ESPN in 2014
    • Journalist covering gambling industry since 2008

James Holzhauer’s 18th appearance in his historic run on “Jeopardy!” came down to $18.

The 34-year-old Las Vegas bettor survived his biggest sweat on the show to this point when he held off Adam Levin, a sports information director from Massachusetts, in a tight match that went down to Final Jeopardy! in Monday’s episode.

Holzhauer finished with $54,017, just ahead of Levin, who racked up $53,999, the highest non-winning total in show history, according to thejeopardyfan.com.

Holzhauer extended his streak and pushed his total winnings to $1,329,604. He trails only past champion Ken Jennings on the show’s all-time, regular-play winnings list. Jennings won more than $2.5 million during a 74-game winning streak in 2004. Holzhauer is on pace to surpass Jennings in 34 games.

Monday’s episode was the second time during his streak that a competitor went into Final Jeopardy! within striking range of Holzhauer. Levin, a 46-year-old spokesperson for the athletic department of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, trailed Holzhauer by $6,517 heading into Final Jeopardy! Holzhauer wagered $20,500, and Levin bet $26,999 on the category “Organizations.”

Both competitors came through with the correct response to, “The oldest of these business booster groups, formed in Marseille in 1599, uses ‘de’ instead of ‘of’ in the name.” Each wrote: “Chamber of Commerce.”

Holzhauer has been correct on 17 of his 18 Final Jeopardy! attempts.

“I did everything I could possibly do and the best I could, and I was a few dollars short, but I wouldn’t trade it,”Levin told The Boston Globe. “I had a huge smile on my face for as much of the time [as] I could because I was living the dream.”

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