Jeopardy! fans floored as divisive champ Jake DeArruda loses to retired teacher who ‘can’t believe’ stunning upset

JEOPARDY! contestant Jake DeArruda has lost in a twist ending for the books on Wednesday.

Retired teacher Patti Palmer beat the ongoing champ, whom some viewers called well-meaning but “irritating” on Final Jeopardy.


Jeopardy! champ Jake, who just wasn’t for everyone, lost in a wild wayCredit: ABC
Only the wonderfully purple-haired retired teacher knew Final Jeopardy, ending his 3-day streak.


Only the wonderfully purple-haired retired teacher knew Final Jeopardy, ending his 3-day streak.Credit: ABC

Jake, a delivery dispatcher from Ludlow, Vermont, had been Jeopardy!’s ongoing champion since beating fan-favorite six-day champ Troy Meyer.

Unfortunately, his “quirky” on-stage behavior didn’t help win over skeptics while winning $86,000 total.

Jake faced Aaron Bola, an emergency medicine doctor from New York City, and Patti, a bookseller and retired teacher from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The champ got the first Daily Double of the game and pumped his fist, but the wonderfully purple-haired Patti put on her game face.

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She bet $6,000 of her $6,600 on the last remaining Daily Double, got it correct, and a huge round of applause ensued.

Going into Final Jeopardy, Jake had $24,800, Patti $16,200, and Aaron $7,400.

Jake had gone 0/3 on Final Jeopardy per, which was the second sign of trouble.

The third came from host Ken Jennings, 48, who warned: “Patti works at a bookstore…”

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The category for the game-clinching clue was “Literature.”

The clue read: “Published in 2011, PD James’s final novel, ‘Death Comes to Pemberly,’ was a sequel to this novel from 200 years earlier.”


Patti put down her stylus pen fairly quickly – and when it was time to reveal their responses and wagers, she closed the book on Jake.

She correctly wrote: “What is Pride & Prejudice?” and Ken was stunned when she revealed she bet a massive $16,000.

Jake had incorrectly guessed: “What is Northanger Abbey?” – right author, wrong book – and lost $7,601.

Patti was declared the winner in quite the upset with $32,200 and she simply said: “Oh, wow!”

“She looks like she can’t believe it but she’ll be here tomorrow!” Ken declared, as Jake and Aaron respectfully clapped.


Fans couldn’t believe it either as one celebrated on Reddit: “Come awwwwn Patti! Loved her!!”

“Nothing whatsoever against Jake, but I was thrilled for Patti at the end of this game!!” wrote another.

“For all the haters out there – you can visibly see Jake clap and smile for Patti when she won. That showed great sportsmanship,” applauded a third.

“I rooted for Patti when she made that big wager in the DD3. I hope she goes on a streak, too. Apparently, I get attached to older but fearless players. Sam Buttrey, Ray Lalonde, and now Patti!”

A fourth tweeted: “I don’t tweet about #Jeopardy! contestants often, but this lady Patti tonight is just a delight. Bright, humble, human, pleasant, and non-traditional age. Go, Patti!”

Jake then chimed in under the Reddit thread too and wrote: “Aaron and I were, and still are, absolutely thrilled for Patti. She earned it today, no doubt about it!”

“I was not certain it was Austen at all. And when I did finally write down what I did, I couldn’t come up with anything else fast enough. So it goes.”


Viewers have made it no secret that Jake was not everyone’s cup of tea, though there seemed to be no ill will on the board.

Some people accused he was “unwatchable” while others more kindly compared him to Mattea Roach, as he was just a bit of an acquired taste.

When Jake would find a “Daily Double,” he would often pump his chest or tickle his chin.

Other times, he’d plant his head on his fist in a thinking pose – or talk quickly or over host Ken.

His interview segments were often so fast that they were hard to take in, and he did some flashy gestures, including a fake basketball dunk, during his on-screen intros.

On Twitter one fan wrote last night: “6 minutes in and jake is already irritating.”

Another posted: “I think Ken is also annoyed by Jake.”

A Facebook user perhaps rightfully defended: “Take it easy on Jake. He seems like a good guy who may be a bit quirky. But I don’t see any arrogance.”

Another tweeted: “Y’all need to ease up on Jake from #Jeopardy he’s just emotive and quirky. Seems someone having a personality is just too much for y’all. Awful lot of hate for an ‘intelligent’ audience.”

So far this season, four other contestants have won big enough to qualify for the 2023 Tournament of Champions.

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Those would be fan-favorite Ray Lalonde with 13 wins, former poker ace Cris with the most wins and money (21 and $748,000), five-day champ Luigi de Guzman, and four-day champ and priest David Sibley.

Since four wins makes a contestant a qualifier, Jake will probably not be in it.

Jake DeArruda was in the lead going into Final Jeopardy.


Jake DeArruda was in the lead going into Final Jeopardy.Credit: ABC
But after nabbing a huge $6,000 Daily Double earlier, Patti Palmer was the only one correct, and her rivals clapped.


But after nabbing a huge $6,000 Daily Double earlier, Patti Palmer was the only one correct, and her rivals clapped.Credit: ABC
Ken Jennings was stunned and said: 'She looks like she can't believe it!'


Ken Jennings was stunned and said: ‘She looks like she can’t believe it!’Credit: ABC

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