Prop betting – eccentric side bets designed to spice up the table action – have become a staple amongst poker players. From the daring to the downright degenerate, here are the game’s top ten wacky wagers…
10) The Cutoff
The 1996 WSOP main event champion accepted a bet to grow his rug for a full year without shaving. Gawky Californian Huck Seed was coasting until he had to attend a funeral, ditching the scruffy chin muffler out of respect for the deceased.
9) Runner Runner
We’re all partial to the odd flutter, but stumping up a million dollars is obscene.
A number of confident investors laid money down on the fact that Ashton Griffin, a Pot-Limit Omaha specialist and former college wrestler, couldn’t run 70 miles in 24 hours. The event would take place on a treadmill, and walking would not count towards the total mileage. What’s more, Ashton got steaming drunk the night before.
Ashton overcame his hangover and completed the herculean feat with 45 minutes to spare, pocketing the $1 million bounty. Enough money for a cash out, right?
There’s no such thing as relaxing on the beach when you’re sat next to the ‘Poker Brat’ Phil Hellmuth, a lesson that Huck Seed had to learn the hard way.
Rumour has it Phil challenged the zany WSOP champ to stay in the ocean for 18 hours straight, a wager accepted by Huck before he folded after just 3 hours. The man himself has disputed this claim, however, claiming that he bought out early for just a tenth of the $50,000 fee.
Either way, the lanky basketball aficionado deserves kudos for his marathon skinny dip.
7) Lex, Take This Outside
In 2011, Lex ‘RaSZi’ Veldhuis and Bertrand ‘Elky’ Grospellier’s banter spiralled into a full on kickboxing fight. Unfortunately for Elky, his pride was slammed to the mat in the second round.
Beginning as little more than a light-hearted exchange at the tables of the EPT 2009, Lex agreed a formal bout with the golden-haired geek in Marbella, Spain. As excitement bubbled, veteran pros Doyle Brunson and Daniel Negreanu weighed in on Twitter and exchanged a slew of bets.
The nerd collision – both fighters played professional Starcraft before turning to poker –saw Lex dominate from start to finish.
6) Hold ‘Em…For a Year
Sin City socialite and poker pro Antonio Esfandiari affirmed his legendary status by scooping first prize in the Big One for One Drop - an unprecedented million dollar entry tournament.
Winning over $18m in one sitting hasn’t curbed Antonio’s enthusiasm for prop bets or the Vegas party scene, but this chastity challenge might be a bridge too far.
Bill Perkins, a millionaire and amateur poker player, has stumped up a million of the finest if self-confessed ladies’ man Esfandiari can resist having sex for a full year. The challenge was issued via Twitter and it remains to be seen if the former magician will accept.
5) The Classic 7/2
Okay, so maybe it’s not as extravagant as the others on this list, but the time-honoured seven deuce prop bet is legendary. It’s pretty straightforward too – everyone at the table agrees on a predetermined figure which can be anything from $10 to $10,000.
If a player takes down a pot with a measly seven deuce, everyone has to pay up the agreed amount. Naturally, this lends itself to some outrageous bluffing. Not so nice if you’re caught with your hand in the cookie jar…
4) Who Ate All the Pies?
Mike ‘The Mouth’ Matusow never shies away from controversy, but when he tackled Ted Forrest he bit off more than he could chew.
Following a series of smaller wagers, Mike offered odds of 20:1 that the New Yorker wouldn’t be able to drop from his current weight of 181lbs to 140lbs before the next World Series of Poker event in 2008. After a promising start Forrest was left with an energy-sapping 15lbs to shed in just 9 days, so he did what any dedicated prop better would – he starved himself.
The five time bracelet winner finally tipped the scales at just 138lbs, leaving Mike to pay off the mammoth debt in $5,000 weekly increments.
3) Out on the Bubbles
What would you do for $22,500? For cash game specialist Nick DiVella, it’s spending six straight days in a bathtub.
With nothing but a few old books and the same sandwich five times per day, our aquatic acquaintance accepted. The task was set to start in September 2013 but was delayed after Andy, the millionaire investor involved, had to go away on business. The stage is set for the near future, and Nick has even tweeted a snap of himself trying out the tub.
DiVella is no stranger to crazy wagers. He once smeared icing all over his face throughout a tournament to snaffle a seemingly arbitrary $1,260. Now that really takes the cake (sorry, we had to).
2) You Want Fries With That?
Despite being built like a tank, disgraced former Full Tilt Poker owner Howard Lederer is a devout vegetarian.
Fellow pro David Grey tested Howard’s resolve by wagering a hefty sum against him eating a hunk of beef. Tossing his ethics aside like a busted flush draw, Lederer wolfed down the cheeseburger to claim a cool $10,000.
Interestingly, Grey had a chance to win it all back by eating a single olive, but he hates them so much he refused. I guess some of us have principles, ay Howard?
1) And Breast of All…
Seven deuce you say? I’m on board. Grow my beard? Sure buddy. Breast implants? Of cour- wait, what?!
Taking the enviable top spot for ALL the wrong reasons it’s screwball Brian Zembic. The loose cannon became known as the man who’d do anything to win a bet after he accepted the titillating challenge of receiving breast implants for a full year. Unbelievably Mr (or should we say Mrs) Zembic not only won the wager, but became rather accustomed to his pert pair and decided to keep them.
He certainly made his money’s worth from the bet, becoming a mini celebrity and featuring in the book The Man With the $100,000 Dollar Breasts and Other Gambling Stories. Top pair.