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‘Jeopardy!’ champ Mattea Roach’s secret weapon to winning revealed

“Jeopardy!” champion Mattea Roach has a few tricks up their sleeve to help them win the game.

On a recent episode of the Inside Jeopardy! podcast, executive producer Michael Davies divulged that Roach — who uses they/them pronouns — has “never” studied for the trivia series.

The 24-year-old had lost to fellow victor James Holzhauer during the “Jeopardy! Masters” tournament on May 24, placing second.

Roach’s mom Patti had been in the audience during the broadcast and Davies recalled what she said at the time.

“[Patti] told me that Mattea spends zero time, and has spent zero time ever practicing for this show,” the EP explained.

“They don’t learn trivia, they don’t read trivia books, they don’t sit on the floor in the children’s book department like James,” he said, referencing that Holzhauer used to read kids books to study.

“Everything they know is from reading, sitting in front of the TV, reading newspapers and being in front of intelligent people,” Davies revealed.


He then noted how Roach’s parents “were so involved in that, and get so much credit in their broad liberal arts education.”

“It just shows their potential,” he said. Former contestant Buzzy Cohen was also on the podcast, and recalled a moment backstage during one game where Roach joked to him: “When I start making flashcards for ‘Jeopardy!’ it’s over for these motherf–kers.”

Davies quipped: “Mattea could be so scary if the flashcards come out.”

Since “Jeopardy!” involves a heavy knowledge of trivia facts across many categories like arts, entertainment, sports, history, science and more, players must be well-rounded in their intelligence and often use flashcards to help them learn.


On the May 23 episode of the Masters competition, Roach disclosed some very sad news, saying that their father had died.

The Canadian native and host Ken Jennings, 49, shared a touching moment together during the show.

“Unfortunately, my dad actually passed away at the start of the month very suddenly,” they sighed. “He’s a huge part of the reason why I’m here he and my mom instilled an early love of geography in me my dad taught me all about Turner Classic Movies and old music and all sorts of things.”

Roach’s dad passed away from a brain aneurysm and Roach actually found out while filming the game show.

“I could not have asked for better support going through what is the worst day of my life pretty much so far,” said Roach. “Everyone who made sure that I did not have to continue playing I was able to go home and be with my mom and my brothers. My whole family is so thankful for everyone here at ‘Jeopardy!’ for helping us through this really difficult time.”