Prop bets are woven into the fabric of our game. Often these bets are outlandish and ridiculous, so much so that anyone outside the poker world would be flabbergasted. For those of us exposed to such bets regularly, they’re as commonplace as a bad-beat story, though almost always more entertaining. With that said, I stumbled upon a crazy bet between members of the TwoPlusTwo Forums involving a tattoo that left me shaking my head.
Before I jump to specifics, let me preface this by saying that I have my own crazy tattoo story, which I believe qualifies me as a judge in crazy tattoo cases. At one time, many years ago, I wanted to impress an ex-girlfriend. I wanted to get back together, and thought the best way to do that was to make her believe I was more spontaneous, So I told her I finally got the tattoo I had always talked about pre-break up. I was bluffing, of course, and being the stubborn man I am, I dug myself a hole. I won’t elaborate, but suffice it to say things spiraled out of control, she kicked me out of her house, and the next day I was at the tattoo shop getting a tattoo — the same one in the same location I had lied about (I told you I was stubborn). I showed her the next day, she was happy, and we ended up getting back together, but we’re not together anymore.
Now, I think my tattoo story is off the wall, but it pales in comparison to the story you're about to read. The long and twisted road to this tattoo and began when John “Acesflow11” Watson, a 26-year-old poker player from Niles, Michigan, posted the picture to the right in the Poker Beats, Brags, and Variance (BBV) forum.
Watson posted the picture as a brag after winning $4,775 in a $2/$5 game in Niles, Michigan. Watson was proud of turning his $500 buy-in into his largest-ever cash-game score. “It’s where poker players go to brag about wins and whine about losses,” Watson told me when I asked what led to the post. “I posted the pic as a brag and was trying to start a new thread in the part of the forum for pics of sick chip stacks, that’s why I labeled it 'Chip Porn.' What I didn’t know was that in the Brags, Bad Beats and Variance threads on TwoPlusTwo were notorious for trolls! Anyone who posts anything in BBV is extremely ridiculed and made fun of.”
Indeed, Watson was immediately and mercilessly ridiculed by various posters, many of whom took the opportunity to Photoshop the original pic. Variants included Watson’s face atop Scarface, the Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man in the World, in the background of an infamous Doug-Lee-toolbox photo, and superimposed on a Matrix parody starring Watson, Lee, and a special appearance by Kathy Liebert (I must admit, even I got a good laugh out of the last one).
The thread spread like wildfire and quickly reinvigorated the BBV thread. It proceeded to grow into a cult phenomenon and led to an far-fetched prop bet. “I first learned that there was a bet on the tattoo when I signed on to TwoPlusTwo and had a PM from someone telling me that there was a bet,” Watson explained. “Some guy with name of ‘Diet Ketchup’ was going to get my pic tatted on him for $500. I learned that he was committed to get the tat as long as enough members shipped money to an escrow account.”
Sure enough, a new thread had sprung up to iron out terms, and the TwoPlusTwoers jumped at the opportunity to see one of their own with the iconic “Acesflow11” picture forever etched on their body. They quickly raised the $500 as various members contributed in chunks of $5, $10, $20 and even $50 (they also covered the cost of the tattoo), and on Thursday, Nov. 15, “Diet Ketchup,” who lived half a world away in the United Kingdom, held true to his word. He hopped two trains, traveled to the tattoo parlor, and to prove he wasn’t getting a fake, live streamed the tattoo process.
Not surprisingly, reactions in the forum spanned the spectrum, though there seemed to be more praise than condemnation:
- “Take note everyone, this is how legends are made.” –AoO
- “I see this as very much the greatest achievement of the ‘Trolling Era.’ Prior to that there was of course the ‘Photoshop Era.’" –cc79824
- “****ing epic haha well done bro.” –ruo42
- “Getting a bbv mods alias tattooed onto yourself whilst begging for cash for it, you know when ya hit rock bottom.” –DubBlondeXOXO
As far as “Diet Ketchup” was concerned, it was all in good fun. “Sup dudes. Yeh I defo kinda expected people to hate it because it isn't like a complete photo realistic copy, but please understand. The original pic to get a portrait like that would have really took some imagination. I was happy to go with the vector/charactery look because IMO it's still a really accurate representation of all acesflows features,” he posted on TwoPlusTwo.
“Sorry a few of you don't like it or was expecting a super photo realistic Kat Von D portrait, I was on a budget for the tat have to remember this. To those saying it's stupid and was begging for cash, well that's just how I roll. I really enjoyed doing it and loved the whole experience of doing it was awesome. Anyway thanks to those who do love it and understand.”
For someone who doesn’t peruse the forums too often, I must admit I became enthralled in the whole “Diet-Ketchup's-Calf-Meets-Acesflow” saga. Over the course of five months a simple brag went from picture in a forum to ink on a leg — all for $500. At first I thought “Diet Ketchup” was insane, and I still think he is for doing it for such a low price; however, it was a quick and easy way to achieve poker immortality, even if it’s as the crazy tattoo guy on TwoPlusTwo.
When all was said and done, tattoo firmly fixed, I had just one last question — what did Watson think of the absurdity he’d created? “At first I felt really disturbed that another man was getting my face tatted on his leg and obviously embarrassed some that the ''trolling'' had escalated as far as this,” he explained. “After the tat was done though, and all of the attention that it got, I really think it’s hilarious. I couldn’t be mad about it cause the pic wouldn’t have ever been taken if I wouldn’t have crushed a $2/$5 game for almost $4k. So yeah, definitely is pretty funny too me in the end.”
For those skeptics who think the whole ordeal may be a hoax, here's the recorded live-stream footage of “Diet Ketchup” getting the tattoo. Please note that the footage begins around the 46:00 mark.
*Lead picture courtesy of tattoodonkey.com.