The PokerNews Top 10: The Top 10 Prop Bets
With high-stakes poker players, the action hardly ever stops once the river card is dealt, the tournament finds a winner, or the table's biggest fish racks up for the night. Proposition bets are a favorite pastime for many of your favorite pros, whether it's betting on the color of the flop, the sex of the next person to enter the room, or feats of athletic prowess. In this week's PokerNews Top 10, we've looked at some of the poker world's wildest prop bets of all time—from eating bets, to weight bets, to some of the nuttiest wagers ever to take place on a golf course.
10. Huck Seed Stands in the Ocean
Perhaps one of the greatest proposition gamblers of all time, 1996 WSOP Main Event champion Huckleberry Seed makes his first of three appearances on our list at #10. Seed once claimed to Phil Hellmuth that he could stand, submerged up to his shoulders, in any body of water for 24 hours. Hellmuth took him up on the offer and with $50,000 on the line, Seed donned a wetsuit and entered the Pacific Ocean. It turned out to be too much, even for this prop-betting heavyweight, and after three hours in the water, Seed returned to shore and paid off Hellmuth.
9. Howard Lederer's One-legged 50-yard Race
Huck Seed once boasted to Howard Lederer that he was a shoo-in to beat him in a 50-yard dash… hopping only on one foot. With $5,000 on the line, Lederer took him up on the offer and the two men hit the track. After watching Lederer execute a preliminary "run," it became glaringly apparent to Seed that he was on the losing end of this wager, and he promptly paid off the five grand.
8. Mike Matusow Loses 60 Pounds for $100,000
During a tournament at the 2007 WSOP, Mike Matusow, then tipping the scales at 241 pounds, was chatting to his tablemates about how he longed for the days when he weighed in at a svelte 181. Ted Forrest overheard the conversation and challenged Matusow to a $100,000 weight bet. In order to collect, Matusow would have to weigh in at 181 pounds exactly one year later, on June 3, 2008. Though Matusow was eating healthily and running up to 12 miles a day, he still found himself 15 pounds short of his goal only nine days before the weigh-in. Thanks to the "Master Cleanse" (which involves consuming only a maple syrup, lemon and cayenne pepper concoction for a week) and many hours in the steam room, Matusow managed to weigh in at 179 pounds and collected his winnings.
7. Howard Lederer Eats a Cheeseburger for $10,000
One night, while playing in a high-stakes cash game, David Grey challenged Howard Lederer, an avowed vegetarian, to eat a cheeseburger for the princely sum of $10,000. Lederer quickly took him up on the offer and ordered one straight to their table. Lederer ate the burger, won the $10,000, and much to Grey's chagrin, didn't even get a stomachache. Knowing Grey's distaste for olives, Lederer later offered Grey a chance to even things up by eating a shot glass full of the briny fruit, but Grey declined the offer.
6. Ted Forrest Runs a Marathon
Another prop-betting all-star, Ted Forrest, has engaged in some wacky wagers in his lifetime but this one takes the cake. Forrest once bet a cadre of gamblers $7,000 that he could complete a marathon in under six hours. Not only did Forrest hit the track at UNLV to gut out the 26.2 miles, but he did it on the hottest day of that year in Las Vegas, the mercury hitting 115 degrees as Forrest crossed the finish line and collected his winnings.
5. Johnny World Attempts to Live in Iowa for 30 Days
Back in the days before online poker allowed players to take their game anywhere, the regulars in Johnny "World" Hennigan's high-stakes Las Vegas cash game offered him a six-figure amount to live in the casino-free town of Des Moines, Iowa for a 30-day period, knowing full well that Hennigan's penchant for "action" would make it extremely difficult for him to survive out there. True to form, Hennigan lasted only two days in the Hawkeye state and was forced to pay off the wager.
4. Huck Seed Does a Standing Back Flip
Standing six feet, seven inches tall, you'd think it would be nearly impossible for Huck Seed not only to complete a standing back flip, but to learn the maneuver in only two days' time. Once again, Howard Lederer was Seed's challenger and they settled on a $10,000 wager. Little did Lederer know, Seed's uncle was a former acrobat and taught his nephew the move by hooking him up to a harness suspended over a swimming pool so he could practice. 48 hours later, Seed executed a perfect back flip and emerged $10,000 richer.
3. Jay Kwik Lives in a Bellagio Bathroom for 30 Days
Only last year, high-stakes online cash gamer Andrew "good2cu" Robl challenged his pal Jay Kwik to spend 30 days living in a bathroom at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. Numerous parameters were established, including his access to food, a DVD player, and a strictly limited number of cell phone minutes. A webcam was even mounted outside the bathroom to supervise the wager. Kwik, though, was so successful at bathroom living that Robl bought him out of the wager early, for a reported $40,000.
2. Erick Lindgren Breaks 100 in 100 Degrees… Four Times in One Day
After being eliminated from the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event at the 2007 WSOP, all Erick Lindgren wanted to do was relax and play some golf. However, after a cocktail-fueled evening with his pal Gavin Smith, his plans for a casual 18 holes turned into a monster wager totaling over $340,000. Lindgren bet Smith, Phil Ivey, and Chris Bell that in a single day he could shoot four full rounds of golf from the pro tees on one of Las Vegas' toughest courses, break 100 on each round, and walk all four rounds carrying his own clubs. Starting at 6 a.m., Lindgren completed the first two rounds with relative ease, but once the temperatures climbed past 100 degrees in the afternoon hours, he began to struggle. However, with Smith, Bell, and a camera crew looking on, Lindgren sunk his final putt and won the bet. Lindgren later confessed that he lost 17 pounds that day due to severe dehydration and that the wager "probably took a few years off his life."
1. Amarillo Slim Drives a Golf Ball over a Mile
The folks at Amarillo Slim's country club were utterly baffled when Slim declared that he could drive a golf ball a distance of one mile or more and backed up his claim with a $40,000 wager. After establishing that Slim would attempt the feat hitting from a regulation tee with a PGA-approved golf club (and not hitting it off a mountain, dropping it from an airplane or actually "driving" the ball for one mile inside his car) he got a slew of takers, most of whom thought it would be easy money. Finally, the method to Slim's madness emerged. A crowd of onlookers followed Slim as he drove across town, parked next to a huge frozen lake, and teed up. Slim swung his club and the ball skipped across the ice, not stopping for over a mile and a half.