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James Holzhauer speaks on philanthropy, Jeopardy GOAT tournament

Posted at 12:08 AM, Jan 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-10 03:13:02-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Lights flashing on the marquee at The Space Thursday night showcased its headliner, Jeopardy champion James Holzhauer, as the Sin City crowd roared for its hometown hero during a watch party event.

“I love the support, I love the city," said Jeopardy James. "It’s great they rallied behind me."

RELATED: How to watch Jeopardy 'Greatest of All Time' on Channel 13

Holzhauer is in the midst of competing in the Jeopardy Greatest of All Time tournament, facing legends such as Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

“I’m playing a lot more aggressively than I would against them because I know this is the only way I can win this kind of event,” he said.

Holzhauer has won more than $2.5 million in his run on the game show, and he has used his winnings to make a difference in the community.

He and his wife Melissa donated $25 thousand to Rancho High School to install new turf in its field. The donation came after 13 Investigates reported on dangerous conditions there and other high school fields.

Now, the NFL and the Raiders are stepping in with a $250,000 dollar grant, coming after the couple issued a challenge for community support.

“I dreamed it would catch fire in the way that it did, but I didn’t expect it to happen so soon at such a high level,” Holzhauer said.

He credits his wife for the push.

“I like that we’re using his voice as a way to call people to join us," said Melissa Holzhauer. "Let’s help these kids."

Their charity has extended to other organizations, like Project 150, which helps homeless high school students. Proceeds from the watch party at The Space are going to that organization.

Behind the scenes with Jeopardy James:

Holzhauer says he’s making sure his Jeopardy success remains a platform for positive change.

‘It’s not even our direct donations, people hear about the organizations through us. They’re stepping up and helping out,” he said.

The next Jeopardy GOAT match will be Tuesday on 13 Action News at 8 p.m.