Poker's cream of the crop - Phil Ivey, Barry Greenstein, Erick Lindgren, etc. - is well known for their prop-bet tactics that sometimes seem over the top to the average bank account. From betting on inconsequential hands to wagering on the first one to bust out, there's always a way to get your money's worth on the felt.
But off the felt, things can get a bit more creative. Golfing is a popular hobby for many pros, and sometimes, just playing the game is not enough.
During a break in the Poker Royalty Lounge, Erick Lindgren told me about a particular prop bet involving fifteen grueling hours of caddy-free golf. Keep in mind that this is Las Vegas, and the average sunrise-to-sunset temperature here in the desert is around…110 degrees Fahrenheit.
So I heard about the prop bet involving you, some golf, and a few other pros. Can you tell me about it?
Yeah, sure! We were at dinner the night before, it was me, Gavin [Smith], Chris Bell, and a group of about fourteen people at a tapas bar - not topless, tapas - I was mad cause I busted out of the $50K H.O.R.S.E. - I thought I played poorly. So I said 'You know, I should punish myself and walk around a golf course from sunrise to sunset'. They're like, 'Yeah, yeah, whatever'.
So I said ,'I'll tell you what. I'll bet you I could go shoot under a hundred four times tomorrow walking the course'. And Gavin goes, 'Well you can bet me hundred thousand!' and I was like, well, wow! And then someone else goes, 'I'll get in for twenty!', and Bell's like 'I'm in for ten!' And before I knew it, I was like, alright, screw you guys, I'll take it!
I asked them if I could get more people in on it, And they're like, yeah, for sure! So I texted Phil Ivey, and Phil took a good portion of the bet, so it was on!
And that was it. So the next day I showed up at the course at 5:30 in the morning.
So that's basically the bet. And I shot 83, 85, 94, 94 in four rounds, and won the money. [Laughs.] Suckers!
How long did you take?
Until 8 p.m. 5:30 in the morning til 8 p.m. It was excruciating though. It was incredibly hard. I almost died. [Laughs.] I think if I did one more round I woulda died. I just went home after and passed out. I lost 12 pounds that day. It was really bad for my body.
Would you do it again?
Not even for the money?
Not even for the money. It really wasn't for the money, you know?
It was for the pride. The challenge, right?
Would you call yourself a degenerate gambler?
No, I wouldn't. Some people might call me one but I wouldn't. I'm older now; I like to gamble, but I know what I'm doing.
But you said you almost died!
Yeah, well. [Laughs.] I'll do it once.
Have you seen the movie "Lucky You"?
Yeah. Terrible movie.
I know. But remember the bet they had in there?
Yeah it was like that. Except that was for the movies, and this was for real.
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We were then interrupted by Daniel Negreanu who came into the room for some Wii fun, and the conversation moves on to Wii bowling - another popular way for the players to make money propositions. Rumor has it that they've been Wii bowling for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
I guess at some point, winning money in poker is just the norm so you've got to find some ways to mix it up. And taking money from your friends is the best way because then you can rub it in their face until they win it back from you.