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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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February 4th, 2014
06:15 PM ET

'Jeopardy!' champion Arthur Chu: Villain or hero?

(CNN) – "Jeopardy!" champion Arthur Chu has so far won $102,800 in a four-game winning streak that is dividing fans of the popular game show.

The 30-year-old insurance analyst and aspiring actor has been both criticized and praised for turning the game on its head.

Instead of completing categories from top to bottom, Chu jumps around the board to find the Daily Doubles, sometimes bets odd amounts on them, and places final wagers to tie instead of win the game.

But he's not the first game-theory devotee to take "Jeopardy!" by storm.

"Everything I have done has been done by past champions," Chu told CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

Chu learned strategies online, in chat rooms like JBoard.tv. He studied categories using J1! Archive, and perused past champion Keith Williams' blog The Final Wager, which he says he used as a "tutorial for how to wager in Final Jeopardy."

Contestant Roger Craig – who currently holds the all-time record for single-day winnings: $77,000 – played like Chu, as did IBM computer system "Watson."

And Chu's strategy of moving around the board? That's also been done before, it's called the "Forrest Bounce," named after 1985 contestant Chuck Forrest.

So why employ the "Forrest Bounce”?

"It's looking for Daily Doubles, trying to get those early on because those are very, very important, they can turn the course of the game around. Trying to get as much money as I can without leaving money on the board. … If they cut to commercial and there's still clues uncovered, that's money you left on the table," said Chu.

Jumping around the "Jeopardy!" board also adds the element of surprise.

"One of the few choices you have in the game is which clues you pick, and making yourself predictable, you give up a huge edge," said Chu.

Some Jeopardy! fans have called Chu a "villain," and take issue with his unorthodox playing strategy. But the champion takes it in stride, saying such criticism is in jest ... mostly.

"Some people actually are offended. And my response to them would just be: It's a game, and we're playing for real money," said Chu.

"Ultimately, it's $10,000 or more every time you win a game of Jeopardy! And my primary concern up there was taking home the money for me and my wife," said Chu.

For critics arguing he is messing with the purity, or integrity of the game, Chu emphasizes that everything he is doing has been done before.

"Now that this is going viral for whatever reason, either more people will do it and change the way Jeopardy! is played, or if they really don't want Jeopardy! to be played that way, they can actually make it against the rules, and change the game," said Chu.

Chu returns to Jeopardy! on February 24, after the "Battle of the Decades" tournament with former champions to celebrate the game show's 30th anniversary.

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