August 11 – This year’s World Series of Poker brought out a little publicized, but very popular side show; namely, the prop bet. Prop bets, or side bets, are wagers that are made on anything away from the poker felt. Playing to the competitive nature of professional poker players, prop bets can be both funny and painful additions to the action at the poker table.
Although prop bets have been around almost as long as there have been poker players, they received more publicity this year. Bloggers gleefully covered challenges by a number of players. The floor at the Rio Casino was buzzing over the millions in side bets that Tom Dwan had as he attempted to win a bracelet. Some of the male players even dressed in drag at the Ladies Championship due to prop bets gone wrong.
The most painful prop bet of them all may have occurred between pros Mike “The Mouth” Matusow and Ted Forrest. Matusow had won a weight challenge with Forrest in the past, and when The Mouth suggested another with 20-to-1 odds, Forrest jumped at the chance.
Although Forrest only sported an athletic 188 pounds on his 5’11” frame, Matusow laid odds that he couldn’t get below 140 by the end of the WSOP. Unfortunately for Matusow, Forrest put $100,000 on it and the race began.
Matusow admitted, “I made that bet because I didn’t think it was feasibly possible.” Showing his confidence that it couldn’t be done, Matusow even offered 10-to-1 odds that Forrest couldn’t make it by September 24th. He also claimed to fear for Forrest’s safety, saying that he wouldn’t pay if his friend died trying to complete the challenge. The miscalculation on Matusow’s part would lead to a
very painful end for the Full Tilt Poker pro.
Forrest ate less; he began running 16 miles every day, and even went on a 10-day fast near the end. July 15th came, and he tipped the scales at a gangly 138 pounds, meaning that he had lost an amazing 50 pounds in just a couple of months.
Matusow was stunned that he lost. He admitted, “I don’t have the $2 million to pay out. That’s how it came down. I made that bet because I didn’t think it was feasibly possible.” A feeble 33-year payment plan offered by Matusow was summarily rejected by Forrest.
Bracelet bets, cross-dressing bets, and even tattoo bets; the WSOP has seen its share of crazy wagers. Of all the prop bets, it may be the one between Matusow and Forrest that is “weighing” the heaviest on the loser.