I knew for sure that the 2011 Jeopardy! Tournament Of Champions was going to be competitive. This season had an excellent cast of champions, making for an excellent tournament. The finalists included thirteen of the top winners within the last season or two, along with the winners of the college and teacher tournaments. However, it was Roger Craig who ultimately came on top and won the entire tournament.
Craig, a computer scientist from Newark, Delaware, was dominant in his first games. He won each of his games so far ahead, that it didn't matter how much he wagered in the final round. He wagered such a high amount in the quarterfinals that even though his answer was incorrect, he still won the game. As for the others, Tom Nissley (a writer from Seattle), Buddy Wright (an engineer from Fort Worth), Joon Pahk (the Physics teacher from Massachusetts), Justin Sausville (a urologist from Maryland), Jay Rhee, Kara Spak, Marc Runsvold, and Erin Mathis (the college champ) were good enough to reach the semifinals and collect the $10,000 prize for making it (the quarterfinalists eliminated in round one took in $5,000 each).
The quarterfinals, with a few exceptions, were very one-sided matches. The champions really dominated and there were a handful of powerful wildcards. However, Kara Spak made it to the semifinals as a wildcard who made just a bit over $6,000 in her match. In that case, it went to show you the depth of the matches. The semifinal matches showed why Craig and Nissley were the most dominant players of the season and how Wright is an underestimated contender who plays to win.
Roger Craig, Tom Nissley, and Buddy Wright were the champions in what was a two-match championship. By the end of game one, they might as well have given it to Roger Craig. He made $50,000 in his first match, next to Nissley's $18,800 and Wright's $6,000. Craig's domination came with thanks to the fact he got two daily doubles in a row and decided to make it a true daily double both times. In order for anyone to take this lead from him on the second day, they would have to have had a dominant performance as Craig did. Ultimately, Craig could not be caught.
For winning the tournament, Roger Craig won $250,000. Tom Nissley won $100,000 for taking second place and Buddy Wright won $50,000 for taking third.
Roger Craig could indeed be called a genius. On his first run, he won $230,200 in six days. In one of the days, he broke the record for most money won on an episode with a total of $77,000. He mentioned that he studied which categories come up most often on the show, whether it be about Shakespeare or the U.S. Presidents. Being a computer person, he really stands his ground in knowing a lot of information. Talk about going up against Watson, he would be a prime candidate to accomplish such a task. New Jersey Representative Rush Holt (a five-time champion on the original series) is the only person to defeat Watson. Craig should have a chance to do the same. This may be the end of this season's Tournament Of Champions, but it shouldn't be the end of Craig's time playing Jeopardy! He has $480,200 in game show winnings to his name. It would be really interesting to see if he gets a chance to expand those winnings.