‘King of the Nerds’ exclusive: Winner Jonathan Adler on his tools for success, being the champ

Jonathan -Nerds, you have a new king! Jonathan Adler played a heck of a game on “King of the Nerds” this season: He used strategy to keep himself safe from the Nerd-Offs despite being on a team that lost many Nerd Wars, and he of course won when he had to win at the end of the game. While he was a part of the Secret Six, he was also flexible enough to realize that there were times when working with players outside of this group could be a benefit.

So how is the king enjoying his throne? How did he end up sitting there? What position have we landed in his cabinet? Somehow, all of these questions and more are answered in this exit interview. Feast your eyes on it below!

CarterMatt – First of all, congratulations! What is it like to no longer have to keep this secret?

Jonathan Adler – It feels so great. Ever since the cast got announced back in October people have been asking me “so did you win?” And every time I had to chuckle and just make a joke like “if I tell you you’ll have to pay my lawyer fees when I get sued.” But not anymore! Freedom at last.

What do you anticipate your rule as King of the Nerds being like?

I think I will be a laissez faire style of ruler. I have a full time job as a mathematical consultant that keeps me busy, so I unfortunately don’t think I will be quite as involved as I would like with the nerd community. That being said I may go crazy with power; it’s too soon to tell. So far the only real thing I have done is given out arbitrary positions in my cabinet. Matt, you can be Deputy Secretary of Podcasts.

Okay, in all seriousness, what is the biggest thing you attribute your win to: Challenge effectiveness, strategy, personality, or something else?

So first off, I was one of the earliest players to realize just how much alliances and politics were going to matter, which I think really helped. My favorite nerdy thing is board games, and I noticed that this was just like the board game Diplomacy. I have played a lot of Diplomacy with my friends (who are even more cutthroat than me if you can imagine that’s possible). So I was able to use my experience in these sorts of games to avoid going into three different nerd-offs that all had (the potential) to send me home. And I think more than anything, that strategic foresight saved me when other players perished.

I think a lot of viewers felt that the best player is the one who wins the most nerd-offs, but that’s just silly. Every nerd-off you go to is a chance to go home, so why would you ever want to take that chance?

Was there ever a moment in that final showdown with Ben that you felt things slipping away?

There sure was. After the first two games where I had swiftly defeated Ben I felt like I was a sure win, but when he came back to beat me in both a logic game and a math game (!) I thought my doom was imminent. Only after I got that Connect 4 win did I think maybe I was back to having a chance.

Aside from the money, what did you take away from this experience?

Well obviously I made a whole bunch of new friends which has been great; we’re still all in contact with each other and are very close. And I got to have a once in a lifetime experience of being on television. But actually the thing that surprised me the most was beginning to understand how to work under pressure. I don’t think people realize just how enormously difficult it is to do these sorts of challenges when not only are you racing against the other team, but you also know your mistakes will be viewed by millions of people. Between the third episode math challenge (where I didn’t have that skill and messed up a very simple math problem) and the final nerd show down I learned how to keep my emotions in check, avoid tunnel vision, and do the task that needs to be done. And I am sure that is something that will be helpful later in life.

Thanks to Jonathan for his answers, and for bringing so much to the show this season! Now that we have been enriched with a position, we’re teaming up with Jessa to create a “House of Cards” style parody entitled “House of Nerds,” where we scheme our way into seizing as much power as possible. (We kid! We shall wear it like a badge of honor!)

If you’ve missed it, we’ve shared a robust library of content when it comes to the “King of the Nerds” finale. Click here to see everything from our review for the finale to our hopes for next season; also, sign up now to get some other updates on everything we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: TBS.)

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