LOS ANGELES — There’s a new “Jeopardy!” champion to add to the quiz show history books.

Alex Jacob, a currency trader from Chicago, won the $250,000 top prize on the syndicated TV show’s “Tournament of Champions” finale that aired Friday.

He defeated paralegal Matt Jackson of Washington, D.C., and Kerry Greene of Manchester, New Hampshire, a volunteer advocate for children.

Jacob’s total winnings were $399,802, including from six regular-season games. The top five “Jeopardy!” prize winners of all time range from Brad Rutter with $4.4 million to Dave Madden with $430,000, the show said. Ken Jennings, who has the most consecutive games won, 74, is No. 2 on the money list with $3.3 million.

Jacob, 31, said his experience as a professional poker player helped guide his approach, including the heart-stopping big bets that he placed on the show’s “daily double” categories that allow contestants to risk all their potential earnings.

“The natural tendency … is you don’t want your score to go down to zero or end up in the negative. People think of negative outcomes and it causes them to play a bit more conservatively,” Jacob said.

But poker games taught him that “when you have a big edge, when the probability is in your favor, you want to bet as much as you possibly can,” he said.

Another tip from Jacob’s card-playing days: Don’t eat a big meal beforehand to avoid getting sluggish.

Jacob, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics from Yale, says a solid memory helped him win. But he also was serious about studying for the quiz show before he was invited to compete.