May 24 (UPI) -- Reigning Jeopardy! contestant James Holzhauer extended his winning streak to 26 games as he nears a $2 million cash total.
Holzhauer faced stiff competition on Thursday as he trailed behind contestant Nate Scheffey during the first Jeopardy! round.
The 34-year-old professional sports gambler from Las Vegas recovered, however, and pulled ahead by $5,400 before heading into the final question.
Holzhauer and Scheffey both gave the correct response with Holzhauer winning the game by betting $20,908 to earn $52,108. He has now earned $1,991,135 over the course of his winning streak.
Holzhauer, if he wins on Friday and earns at least an additional $8,865, will then reach $2 million.
Holzhauer is only the second contestant ever to reach $1 million in regular-season play. His top single game total equals $131,127 -- a Jeopardy! record.