It’s a tumultuous time for America’s most nominally reserved game show, as the fervently nerdy Jeopardy! community reckons not only with Alex Trebek’s recent cancer diagnosis, but also with the earth-shattering, record-breaking run of sports bettor juggernaut James Holzhauer. Employing a strategy of aggressive wagers and lightning-fast buzzer skills, Holzhauer has become the game’s latest super-champion, steadily creeping up on the winnings records set by Ken Jennings with his legendary 74-game streak back in 2004. (And please consider this your standard disclaimer that both men’s runs were only enabled by a 2003 rule change that eliminated the five-episode limit on champions, a divergence from decades of earlier precedent.)
But while Holzhauer’s wins have brought increased attention back to America’s last true meritocracy of any worth, it’s also accidentally revealed a horrifying truth lurking at the very center of the show’s heart. Dear readers, please steel yourselves: We regret to inform you that both Kennings and Holzhauer have confirmed that contestants are no longer allowed to wager $69 as their Final Jeopardy bets.
Perhaps the decision to ban the Funny Sex Number is merely in keeping with the show’s overall ethos, which focuses on singular dominance over the joys of pleasures shared. But it’s still a bit of a bummer, especially given that this is a show that once allowed a contestant to trick Trebek into saying “Turd Ferguson” on the air.
Holzhauer went on to say that $69 is only one of five apparently banned wager amounts, and while it initially seemed possible he was only joking, we won’t say our minds didn’t race to certain possibilities. Might the humble $420 bet now be off the table? What of $80,085, or its inverted sister, $58,008? (Amounts which, until Holzhauer’s run, were rarely seen on the show’s scoreboards at all.)
But then we actually did some digging on this—would you be surprised that both Jeopardy! fans and former contestants are active Reddit participants?—and came up what appears to be the list of the other four problem numbers, three of which are associated with white supremacy groups, because of course the fucking neo-Nazis would find a way to take some of the joy out of Jeopardy! The numbers $14, $88, and $1488 (all associated with neo-Nazi propaganda) were all banned from the show last year, allegedly after a contestant accidentally bet the latter number as part of an effort to hit a particular target score. $666 is also out, although $420 is actually fine. So feel free to get high while watching Jeopardy!, friends; just don’t do it with the devil, or any racist trivia-loving pieces of shit you might unfortunately happen to know.