|American Librarian, Professional Gambler, Jeopardy! Game Show Participant
Emma Boettcher will always remain the woman who prevented James Holzhauer from getting the longest-winning streak in Jeopardy. The American professional gambler and librarian made a huge buzz after defeating James. But how much is Emma Boettcher’s fortune? How much did she win? And what does she do for a living?
Let’s find out.
Born in 1992 in Chester County, Pennsylvania, Emma was a talented child. Her parents Kevin Boettcher and Kristine Krenzke made sure of that. She also has a sister, but we do not know her name. Emma doesn’t speak a lot about her childhood, private life, and history.
From 2010 to 2014, she attended Princeton University. She completed her graduation with a degree in English Language and English Literature. And then, from 2014 to 2016, she studied at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There, she earned a Master’s degree in information science.
During her time at UNC, she even wrote her master’s thesis on the Jeopardy archive. She titled her thesis “What is Difficulty Estimating the Difficulty of Fact-Finding Questions Using the Jeopardy Archive”.
Many competitors use the archive to prepare for their time on the show. But Emma used it to write her thesis, and then stop the second-longest-winning streak in Jeopardy.
She won the Elfreda Chatman Research Award and the Dean’s Achievement Award thanks to her thesis.
She grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But Boettcher also has ties to Iowa. Her parents grew up there.
Since 2016, she works as a librarian at the University of Chicago. She describes her work as “coordinate usability testing and research for the University of Chicago Library”. Emma employs methods such as card sorting, focus groups, surveys, and interviews. And of course, think-aloud usability testing to evaluate library web interfaces.
Her other tasks include conducting interviews with staff. And she then documents their workflows and runs reports using Google Analytics.
In 2018, she got appointed as the product owner for FOLIO. There, she manages product backlog for loans and item state. Emma facilitates remote focus group discussions with subject matter experts to determine system requirements in FOLIO.
But she also does test development work from three different teams and conveys feedback.
Emma worked as a librarian at the University of North Carolina from 2014 to 2016. Following her stint there, she moved to the University of Chicago
During a brief period, from 2014 to 2015, she also worked as a circulation assistant at the Orange County Public Library in Hillsborough.
She got famous in June 2019, after beating James Holzhauer on Jeopardy. She beat him during the June 3rd episode, ending his streak of 32 games and winnings of $2,464,216. Emma used a bold strategy, matching his stride for stride and beating him by more than $22,000. In the end, she took home $46,801.
She went ahead $26,000 in the final round against James. She planned to find the Daily Doubles on the board. Boettcher played the game with full confidence, which is how she managed to beat James.
Boettcher ended James’ streak of 32 games and winnings of $2,464,216. Holzhauer, a professional sports gambler from Las Vegas, fell short of $58,484 of Ken Jennings’s record for the most money. And of course, he couldn’t get close to his 74-game streak.
Before getting to Jeopardy, she hadn’t heard of James Holzhauer. But then-27-year old librarian shock the world and Jeopardy by beating Holzhauer.
With the win, she established herself as one of the greatest players of the game.
As a book and theater lover, she tried out for Jeopardy in high school. But she didn’t make it. Yet, her father bought her books on topics that she needed to learn more about. And she continued to chase her goal of getting into Jeopardy.
During her college years, she even wrote a thesis on the subject. In the 70-page final paper, she explored whether certain characteristics of the show could help her predict the difficulty level. In other words, she tried to see if a computer could make a difference between a $200 clue and a $1,000 clue.
Some might say that her thesis helped her win on Jeopardy. In any case, she left the show after stopping the second-longest winning streak on the show.
As of December 2020, Emma Boettcher’s wealth is more than $1.5 million.