Jaime and Matt Staples Win $150,000 Weight Loss Bet from Bill Perkins
Prop bets are notorious for providing intense motivation for people to accomplish some outlandish, demanding, and sometimes nearly impossible undertakings. The odds laid out are a good indicator for just how extreme the task at hand should be. Spoiler alert: 50-1 are some long odds.
But those are the odds that high roller Bill Perkins offered for Jaime Staples and brother Matt Staples to get to the same weight in the span of one year. It was a tall task with Jaime weighing in at 304 pounds (137.9 kg) and brother Matt down at a slim 134 (60.7 kg).
Perkins let the Staples brothers book up to $3,000 to win $150,000 and they snap-called. Jaime saw the bet as a win-win, with nothing much to lose — well, except for all that weight.
Here we are, one year later, and Jaime and Matt Staples did it! The official Weigh-In took place March 25 at 5 p.m. at Jason Somerville's RunItUp Reno event in Nevada. Jeff Gross was the judge and they both the Staples brothers weighted in on 188.3 (85.4 kg) meaning Jaime lost 115.7 pounds (52.5 kg) while Matt gained 54.3 pounds (24.6 kg).
Big Congrats to Jaime & Matt on winning $150,000 in this epic bet! The Final weigh in; 188.3 lbs & 188.3 lbs each.… https://t.co/JUIsyNXJ0D— Jeff Gross (@JeffGrossPoker)
We spoke to Jaime a couple days before the weigh in, when he was down 107 pounds while Matt was up 56 pounds, putting the two just seven LBs apart. Getting to the same weight on Sunday was just a formality with the hard part already done.
The Uphill Grind
PokerNews checked in with Jaime at the PokerStars Championship Barcelona back in August and found him more than 50 pounds down and working hard in the gym with personal trainer Mike Vacanti.
Since August, Jaime has lost around 50 more pounds with the help of consistent execution of a new skill set he had to gain.
“It’s not as if overweight people, such as my former self, don't have discipline, or don't know that it is 80% diet 20% exercise, or that pizza has a lot of calories. I think what’s needed for people like us, is gaining a skill set to turn that knowledge into consistent action. That takes confidence and support and practice.”
"I think what’s needed for people like us is gaining a skillset to turn that knowledge into consistent action."
One such piece of knowledge that has been a game-changer for Jaime, is understanding and counting macronutrients including protein, fats, and carbs. This piece allowed him to find ways to fit in more “normal” foods even on a 1,300 calorie plan and understand just what would have to be done to make up for specific junk food mistakes.
“I can fit in a slice of pizza, but that means a brutal boring and tough day the rest of the day. So that’s something I did once (in NYC). But the freedom is there to choose the volume you want to eat. Super full is super clean food; the hungrier you want to be, the more junk you can eat. I found that eating clean but being full, feels better almost all the time.”
"I found that eating clean but being full feels better almost all the time."
Armed with the understanding of macros, Jaime learned to keep his mindset positive and adjust when mistakes are made, rather than letting them lead to more bad choices or make him feel like it’s back to square one. “No one is perfect and mistakes happen. It’s just that having more awareness towards macros has allowed those mistakes to be smaller, and for the mindset to not change every time I slip up.”
Since the bet, the Staples brothers have lived in six countries and traveled to five tournament stops, forcing them to constantly adapt their daily routine. This part was just a matter of planning to scope out where to hit the gym and do cardio, and finding restaurants that would provide healthy eating options. Other than that, most of Jaime’s limited, calorie-deficient energy was going into planning and executing daily streaming or vlogging content, as per usual.
The prop bet was the catalyst for this massive life change for the Staples, and it has also been a key to keeping up motivation when things got tough, among other factors. When asked what kept him going when things got tough, Jaime answered: “Trying to win against Bill Perkins, do my best for my brother Matt who has worked equally hard on his side. Show all the people that said we have no chance what is possible. Be a role model for the people that have been rooting us on all year.”
The road to dropping all that weight has had its challenges, but Jaime and Matt have been able to keep on the consistent path toward becoming $75,000 apiece richer, with a little help from their friends. Jaime credits the huge amount of support he has received for the success he and Matt have had in achieving the lofty goals set out.
"I am more confident in myself and what I am doing. Life is a lot more fun.”
In addition to the support that Jaime and Matt have provided one another on a daily basis, Jaime says Perkins provided the initial inspiration and trainer Vacanti helped them form and execute a game plan. Along the long and wild ride, the two brothers have been uplifted and motivated by the support from friends and family — especially brother Chris, Jaime’s girlfriend Rebecca, his sponsor PokerStars, and all the people rooting them on and sending support messages every day.
As for Matt, he was definitely on the small side before the bet and looked forward to putting on some muscle. Jaime knows Matt will be looking great after he cuts weight/fat post-bet, and the money will be nice too.
“I think [Matt] is definitely tired of eating and looking forward to the second half of his health journey, which is the cut. It is an incredible opportunity and $75K will go a long way. I think he is excited to collect on that.”
Life as a thinner, much more healthy version of himself has Jaime feeling quite good, and has led to a drastic change in his life. “I feel better than I used to feel even on my worst days. I have earned more respect than I used to have in the poker world. People speak to me differently and give me more of a chance, which is cool. I am more confident in myself and what I am doing. Life is a lot more fun.”
Staples at the 2017 PokerStars Championship Prague
What's Next, Tips for Fans
Jaime has found fatigue to be the greatest challenge during this long-term state of being in a calorie deficit, and he looks forward to living without the strict confines that the prop-bet diet demanded. “Being in this intense of a calorie deficit for this long is really draining. When making my content, especially months 8-12, it shows in my energy level. I am really excited to have a full day of food guilt free and see what that energy is like.”
When asked what is next for Jaime, he responded: “I'm not sure yet. I am sure I want to keep moving forward, setting big goals, and accomplishing them. I also know poker is at the center of what I will be doing and health will remain a constant focus in my life. I am going to evaluate after the weight in as it really feels like a new year for me. It's like the first day of the rest of my life. I'll get introspective at Run It Up Reno and get some clarity as to what is next.”
"I know poker is at the center of what I will be doing and health will remain a constant focus in my life."
No doubt Jaime Staples has become a role model for many, but especially for people who may be struggling with being overweight and don’t know where to start. To them, Staples recommends starting by reading the book The Four Tendencies to uncover what motivates you to be the way you are.
“For me, I really rely on external motivation to achieve my goals. For other people, having all the knowledge and reasons for doing something is what will motivate them. So after you know yourself a bit better, you will be able to come up with a system for how to stay on track.”
His second tip is to download his trainer’s app, Mike’s Macros, to start tracking your eating habits and food intake. “You don't need to share it with anyone; eat how you normally eat, just get into the habit of knowing. You don't have to feel shame here. When you are ready, set some macros that are going to have you in a calorie deficit (assuming weight loss). And then just grind it out!”
Jaime will be streaming the Weigh-In and the lead-up on his Twitch Channel for all to follow along. You can see recent versions of Jaime and Matt from Mike Vacanti's March 11 vlog which includes an #UltimateSweat update via Q&A with the brothers from minutes 3:00-11:00.
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