A Navy officer’s recent win on “Jeopardy!” wasn’t enough to get him a cup of coffee, but it did put him in some rare game-show company ... with a fellow officer.
After winning on the two shows leading up to Tuesday’s episode, Lt. Manny Abell returned to defend his crown, only to enter the game’s Final Jeopardy phase in dead last, with $1,000 on the board. His fellow contestants, with more than 10 times his total, bet all of their winnings in the last round. Abell bet $999.
When nobody knew the only country that borders both the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf (spoiler alert: Iran), Abell walked away with the victory, and a dollar. He’d cleared a bit more in his previous two-victories: a combined $42,798.
The win also earned him a chance to compete in the next episode, when the officer from Lacey, Washington, lost out to Joanna Kimmitt, a librarian from Long Beach, California.
The $1 win had been pulled off only once before in the show’s long history, per its website, and that’s where Abell’s odd accomplishment gets a little odder:
As a mustachioed, giddy Alex Trebek points out in the video, a super-low-budget win went down for the first time in 1993 thanks to then-Air Force Lt. Col. Darryl Scott. Like Abell’s game, Scott’s opponents went all-or-nothing on Final Jeopardy, while Scott went just shy of it.
The tactical play led to the first of two wins on the show for Scott, who pocketed a more robust $13,401 on his second go-round.