Bay Area 'Jeopardy!' contestant relives facing-off against super player James Holzhauer

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Millions of fans have followed super-contestant James Holzhauer's record-setting run on the legendary quiz show "Jeopardy!" Holzhauer's amassed more than $1.3 million during his run on the show and isn't slowing down soon.

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But what's it like facing such a trivia powerhouse? A young man from the Bay Area named Sameer Rai knows all too well.

The 23-year-old offered to come to ABC7's studios to not only be interviewed about his time playing against Holzhauer but to play a game of mock "Jeopardy!" with ABC7 News Anchor Dion Lim live on Facebook. As expected, Rai got the questions about history, Shakespeare, U.S. Presidents and more correct... but the one category he and Dion both struggled with? Finishing a song lyric by Prince.



"There are some aspects of the pop-culture category that I need to improve on, particularly baseball and certain things relating to alcohol content. Beer, wine. I can definitely learn a little bit more about those categories," smiles Rai.

That being said, there are many things Rai is an expert at. He can thank his curiosity and watching "Jeopardy!" for the first time at the age of 9.

"I remember watching the show and seeing the category of capitals. I brought it upon myself to learn all the world capitals. When I got to high school, I started participating in a very good activity called quiz bowl that involved a lot of buzzer-based quizzing and trivia similar to 'Jeopardy!'"

Rai is a former National History Quiz Bowl champion.

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"Being curious and learning the most that you can is the best way to prepare," says Rai, who had prepared and trained so much over the years for the show, even two of his college letters of recommendation were written by former "Jeopardy!" champions.

It seems only fitting that after a lengthy application process, the Los Altos resident was alerted he had made it onto the show while at the library.

"I was studying the almanac at the time and can you believe I got the call letting me know I was going to be on the show!? I was so stoked!" beams Rai.

From there, Rai attended college trivia nights and practiced his buzzer speed by clicking a ballpoint pen over and over again, as many contestants do. He also took notes from Holzhauer' own strategy.

RELATED: Is game theory the secret to winning 'Jeopardy!'?

"I tried to get the Daily Doubles like he did and I was amazed by the amount of courage he had to bet the amount of money he did."

While Rai ultimately placed second behind Holzhauer, earning $2,000, he has no regrets about losing and is optimistic about the future.

"I knew a lot of the questions I was expecting myself to know. It was a historic match because it was the first time $100,000 or more was won on one show!"

While the "Jeopardy!" rules don't allow contestants to apply to be on the show again, he has his sights set on other goals... such as "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" and law school in the fall.

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