When it comes to having what it takes to win on "Jeopardy," poker dealer Kirby Burnett has it in spades.

Burnett, who's been dealing at Canterbury Park in Shakopee since 2000, appeared on the popular television quiz show for three days this week and departed with $59,800.

The avid "Jeopardy" watcher defeated his two opponents on Monday and earned $27,600. He turned back both challengers again Tuesday and collected $30,200. On Wednesday, he was dethroned and given $2,000 for second place.

"I had a nice little run," he said Friday from his Prior Lake home. "I could've done better, but I could have done a lot worse."

He qualified for the show after an initial online quiz and then another one in person in Kansas City in June. He was chosen as a contestant for segments that were recorded in Los Angeles on the same day in November.

Having only a few minutes between each "day," Burnett said that "by the third show [Wednesday's] I was mentally gasping and froze up on a couple of questions that weren't particularly difficult."

Burnett, 57, was studying for his doctorate in history at the University of Iowa when "I figured out I really didn't like the professor thing." That's when he turned to competitive poker then dealing cards at Canterbury.

He describes himself as "always having been a competitive games person," winning $1,200 in a national chess competition and scooping up $11,000 at a Canterbury poker tournament.

Since "Jeopardy" gives itself more than six months to distribute the winnings, "I haven't even got the money yet," Burnett said. "It's not life-changing money, but it's a nice shot in the arm."

To see Burnett on Tuesday's installment, visit www.startribune.com/a985.