The fact of the matter is, you can bet on pretty much everything and anything in life. However, for a prop bet to work for all sides involved, it needs to be challenging enough yet not completely impossible.
Of course, it is the person taking the bet who needs to worry about the latter. Those putting money on the line just need to be fairly certain that the person they’re betting against can’t do what they’re proposing.
Over the decades, the poker world has seen many entertaining, crazy, and even dangerous prop bets involving some of the best-known names around. The ones listed in this article probably take the cake.
Poker Prop Bets #1: Antonio Esfandiari Lunge Bet
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Antonio Esfandiari, also known to the broader poker audience as “The Magician,” has never been the one to shy away from a prop bet.
In fact, he is usually the one looking to spice things up at the tables with some extracurricular activities. In 2016, Antonio accepted a rather daring offer from the billionaire Bill Perkins.
He agreed to move only by making lunges for 48 hours during his participation in the PCA Main Event. Perkins put up $50,000, and The Magician took him up on the offer.
It may have been all fun and games for the first couple of hours, but doing lunges all the time quickly started to take its toll. By the end of the day, Antonio was so sore that he just couldn’t muster the strength to even go to the bathroom.
So he pulled a stunt that shocked the poker public.
Instead of going to the bathroom, Esfandiari took an empty bottle and relieved himself under the table. Not surprisingly, tournament officials weren’t thrilled to see this type of behavior, and The Magician was quickly disqualified.
On the bright side, he did manage to win the bet in the end. However, to make up for his stunt, Antonio issued a public apology to the whole poker community and decided to give the entire $50,000 to the charity.
Poker Prop Bets #2: Jaime & Matt Staples Weight Bet
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Another bet involving Bill Perkins saw him offer 50 to 1 on a bet against Jaime and Matt Staples.
The poker playing and streaming brother duo would have to reach the same weight within one year, and Perkins was happy to put $150,000 on the line against the brothers’ $3,000.
Although there is no denying Perky loves to bet on everything and anything, his motivation for this particular prop bet wasn’t financial.
He wanted to motivate Jaime to lose some weight as he weighed 304 pounds (138 kg) at the time the bet was set. Simultaneously, Matt was just 135 pounds (61kg), so gaining some weight was also a good goal for him.
It was a tough one for sure, but the brothers did it in the end. When the time came, both clocked out at just slightly above 188 pounds(85 kg).
Jaime lost 115.7 pounds in the process, with Matt gaining 53.3 pounds. Perkins was happy to settle the debt, but Jaime was more proud of the fact he managed to do the “impossible” and show to the world that there is nothing that can’t be done with enough willingness and determination.
Poker Prop Bets #3: Dan Bilzerian Cycling Bet
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Dan Bilzerian is another guy who doesn’t like to shy away from a challenge, and he got the taste for prop bets as well.
While the millionaire has done some crazy and dangerous things, the 300-mile (482 kilometers) cycling bet he successfully completed in 2016 was definitely amongst more daring ones.
Namely, Bilzerian stipulated he could ride his bike from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, some 300 miles, within the space of 48 hours.
As impossible as this may sound, especially for someone who’s not a professional athlete, Dan managed to pull through, finishing the ride on March 31. According to some guesses, the bet netted him around $1,200,000.
Wondering who was on the losing end of this bet? If you guessed Bill Perkins – you weren’t wrong!
Perky was certain Dan couldn’t complete the bet because Bilzerian stated he hadn’t ridden a bike in 18 years.
However, once the bet was in, he took it very seriously and even convinced the cycling champion, Lance Armstrong, to coach him, promising to donate $25,000 to Armstrong’s charity. With that and another $100,000 spent on training and equipment, Bilzerian pulled off the impossible.
But that’s not where the craziness ends.
Another wealthy celebrity wanted a piece of the action. Rick Salomon staked his $250,000 against Bilzerian’s private jet. However, Salomon would only win the plane if Bilzerian were to die or go “brain dead” during the challenge. It’s hard to say if Rick was actually rooting for himself on this one.
Poker Prop Bets #4: Phil Ivey’s High Steaks
Phil Ivey is easily one of the best-known faces in the poker community. Loved by the fans and feared by his fellow pros, Ivey has achieved pretty much everything one can achieve playing poker.
While he hasn’t been around that much lately, back in the day, he was also known for his love for prop bets.
Almost every WSOP, Ivey would have several bracelet prop bets going to motivate himself to play more, often partnering up for these bets with the likes of Negreanu.
However, one of the funniest prop bets involving “Tiger Woods of Poker” was made on live TV.
Dwan suggested a $1,000,000 bet that Ivey couldn’t go without eating meat for a full year.
At the time, the pro was already considering turning to a healthier lifestyle, so he took Tom up on his bet, thinking it would help with these plans.
For the man with “iron will,” Ivey didn’t last very long on this one. It took only nine days for his cravings for a juicy steak to get the better of him.
He reached out to Dwan and ended up buying out of the bet for $150,000. Easy money for “durrrr.”
Poker Prop Bets #5: Mercier vs. Selbst Controversial Bracelet Bet
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WSOP bracelet bets are nothing uncommon in the USA betting scene and among professional poker players.
Almost all pros who spend the summer grinding in Las Vegas get involved with these bets in one way or another, but a bet that took place in 2016 created quite a stir in the community.
During a drunk night out, Vanessa Selbst decided it was a good idea to offer Mercier 180 to 1 odds against him winning three bracelets during that year’s WSOP.
Mercier only had to put up $10,000 while Vanessa was on the line for $1,800,000 if Jason were somehow to pull off the hard but not impossible feat.
Selbst tried to buy out of the bet the very next morning, claiming she only made the offer because she was drunk, but Mercier was having none of that. In his mind, the bet was accepted, and Vanessa had no way out.
To prove just how much they love drama, poker gods decided to bless Jason with some good run right off the bet.
The pro secured two quick bracelets and almost snatched the third one after losing a heads up skirmish. At that point, what seemed virtually impossible was starting to look more and more like a real chance.
Although Mercier wouldn’t budge, Selbst was able to sell off the bet and get out of it. In the end, Mercier fell short of securing the third bracelet, so he had to pay up the $10,000, but this bet made it a very emotional and one of the more memorable poker summers.
Poker Prop Bets #6: More Than He Could Chew for Mike Noori
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In 2017, poker player Mike Noori stipulated he could eat $1,000 worth of McDonald’s food in just 36 hours.
Noori was taking bets at 5 to 1 in his favor and managed to garner quite a bit of interest, standing to win $200,000 if he were successful.
But that was huge if.
Right from the onset, almost everyone agreed that this just wasn’t possible. That amount of food is around 70,000 worth of calories. The suggested daily intake for a grown male is up to 3,000, so Noori was suggesting he would eat more than three weeks’ worth of calories in under two days.
The prop bet had some very clear stipulations as to what kind of foods he had to include in his budget. At least $300 had to be hot meals, he could spend only $200 on salads, and drinks didn’t count towards the total.
Not only this challenge seemed impossible as it is, but Noori took a rather relaxed approach to prepare for it.
According to his own words, he went out drinking and partying just the night before, setting himself up for an epic failure.
When the time finally came and got down to business, Noori was able to eat “just” $95 worth of McDonald’s goodies before throwing in the towel.
While he lost the bet, this was probably for the best as it’s hard to imagine what kind of health issues he could have potentially experienced if he managed to get to the finish line.
Poker Prop Bets #7: A $10,000 Workout for Timex
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Mike “Timex” McDonald is another famous player who’s become somewhat notorious for his love for prop bets.
Although ready to accept many challenges, Timex has always been one of those smart bettors who tend to take the bets where they honestly believe they have an edge.
One such instance happened during PCA Bahamas in 2015.
Once again, it was Bill Perkins on the wrong side of the bet as he staked $10,000 Timex couldn’t do 300 air squats in an hour.
Mike was quick to accept to offer and breezed through it without breaking a sweat.
Another ten grand out of Perky’s pocket.
McDonald didn’t just settle for the money, though, as he described the whole thing as a fairly easy workout in an interview for PokerNews. Ouch!
Summary: Poker Prop Bets
As you could see in some examples here, players are ready to bet on everything and anything, even if odds seem fairly stacked up against them.
The funny thing is, unlike their poker playing strategy that is guided by math and numbers, these prop bets seem to be motivated purely by the adrenaline and the desire to beat the odds.
It seems the rational part of the mind was thrown out of the window, with some of these prop bets.
While poker fans may not have any direct monetary interest in these prop bets, they certainly add some color and excitement to the mix. The poker world just wouldn’t be the same without them!