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It appears that we have our first high profile prop bet of 2017. Danielle Anderson and Natasha Mercier have put up $1,000 and challenged each other to run a 7-minute mile by March 1st.

Anderson admitted via Twitter that she hasn’t run a 7-minute mile since she was in 7th grade when she was 40 lbs lighter and before hitting puberty. By that admission, she may have a tough road to hoe in order to win the bet.

The 7-minute mile prop bet got us thinking about prop bets over the years. Some prop bets are the stuff of legends while others make us wonder what they were thinking. Today we present our latest edition of Good Idea – Bad Idea involving prop bets.

Good Idea – Win-Win Scenario Prop Bets

The best types of poker prop bets are those that are win-win scenarios. For example, the prop bet that I made with Jennifer Newell over California iPoker regulation is a win-win prop bet. If I lose the bet, that means that California regulated online poker and that’s a win-win for all poker fans.

One of the best win-win situation bets in poker came in 2003 when a variety of poker pros laid 10:1 odds against Doyle Brunson being able to drop below 300 lbs. Brunson put up $100k and went on a diet involving a combination of Weight Watchers and Atkins. He dropped below 300 lbs and won $1 million.

Bad Idea – Prop Bets That Could Kill You

The worst type of prop bet is one that puts you in physical harm or one that could end you life. Ted Forrest undertook such a prop back in 2010 when he took 20-1 odds that he couldn’t cut weight from 188 to 140 by July 15.

Forrest went on an insane regimen of diet, exercise and eventually starvation to get to 138 pounds and win a staggering $1.8 million. Matusow later admitted that he took the bet because he never believed that Forrest would cut the weight. He thought the bet would kill Forrest.

This bet was a dumb one on several levels. Forrest put his life in jeopardy in order to win the bet and no prop bet is worth risking your life. Worse still, Forrest has only received about 4% of the $1.8 million Matusow owes. Matusow has only paid about $70,500 of the bet and there little chance that Forrest will ever collect.

Good Idea – Prop Bets That Are Fun and Not About the Money

There are prop bets that are all about good fun and while there’s money on the line, it is secondary to the activity itself. One such prop bet was a few years ago at the World Series of Poker between Amarillo Slim and Doyle Brunson.

The two had a scooter race down the halls of the Rio and Slim got the upper hand because he was lighter and had a faster scooter. What most don’t remember is that the race was for $2,000. However, that was immaterial because we all just wanted to see two legends of the game race.


One prop bet that didn’t happen but I wish would have was proposed by Amarillo Slim to one of the live reporting crew during the 2008 WSOP. One of our field reporters was about 6′ 6″ tall and Slim started asking the kid if he played basketball.

The kid told the truth and said that he didn’t really play and Slim then challenged him to shoot free throws with the winner getting $1,000. Of course, he turned Slim down because $1,000 would have represented 2 weeks pay. Personally, I wish he would have agreed to it and PokerNews shot the footage.
Nobody would have cared about the money. They would have tuned in to see Amarillo Slim try and beat someone 50 years his junior at free throws.

Bad Idea – Prop Bets That Could Cost You Your Bankroll

tom-dwan-prop-betSometimes a prop bet will come along for such high stakes that it threatens a poker player’s bankroll. The perfect example of this type of bet was at the 2010 World Series of Poker. Tom “durrrr” Dwan was getting 3.25:1 odds from a large number of poker pros to win his first bracelet that summer.

When durrrr made the final table of Event #11: $1,500 NL Hold’em, the entire poker world went on pause as they watched in utter horror as he navigated his way through the final table. Poker pros were abandoning their tournaments in order to rail this event and see whether they would be on the hook for a large chunk of their bankroll.

According to Terrence Chan, Dwan stood to win between $9 and $12 million that day with about $3 million coming from Phil Ivey. I was in attendance that day and had access to the final table of that event. The degree of nervousness was one I have never seen before – and it all came from the pros railing the event.

Dwan was the picture of calm that day but alas, Simon Watt won the event. Watt has fallen off the poker planet since that time but he will always be remember as the man that saved the poker world’s collective bankroll in 2010.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.