If this year was the 'Year of the Pro' at the World Series of Poker then last year was probably the 'Year of the Prop Bet'. Not only had Erick Lindgren won the now infamous golfing bet where he shot under 100 four times with no caddy in a blistering Las Vegas summer heat, but the Big Game pros all revitalised interest in tournament poker by betting on whether each other could win a bracelet.
But that isn't to say that the year of the pro has been prop bet free, in fact, if anything the prop bets may have been a pivotal factor in the year or the pro, with the additional money wagered providing that extra motivation to snag gold. Today we are documenting our top five prop bets from the 2008 WSOP:
Mike Matusow's Weight Loss Bet
Last year Ted Forrest bet Mike that he couldn't lose 60lb in one year, dropping from Mikes generous 241lbs to 181lbs. On Wednesday June 3rd a much skinnier, gaunt, calmer Matusow appeared in front of the Pokernews camera crew to prove he had done just that, weighing in at 179lbs, two pounds under target.
Mikey had been training every day, running up to 8 miles a day and towards the end living on a diet of lemonade, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. Mike won $100,000 from Forrest and vowed never to get out of shape again by striking up several more prop bets where he can never go over 185lbs again. Shifting the weight has obviously done Mike the world of good; he won a bracelet this year and cashed in the main event.
Greenstein the Guitar Hero
Every wondered what a middle aged professional poker player does with their spare time, with all that money and nothing to do with it? Perhaps the unlikeliest prop bet of the WSOP and maybe the highest stakes, once again with Phil Ivey having to pay out at the end of it. Barry Greenstein has apparently won $500,000 from Ivey not at the poker table, or golf course, or pool table....but on Guitar Hero. He recently posted on a popular poker forum:
"I just finished a long term bet with Phil Ivey in which he bet me $500,000 I could not get five stars on Dragonforce's 'Through the Fire and the Flames' on Expert difficulty. Today, that bet ended when I scored 567,000 on it, easily breaking the barrier.I had other money on with other people the side, but Phil was the main person involved in this. I will take any amount of action on further Guitar Hero III bets.
Daniel Negreanu's Bracelet Side Bet
Just like Eli Elezra last year, Daniel Negreanu ensures he will win a bracelet by setting up a prop bet that guarantees more than the winners prize. This year Daniel bet with fellow legend of the game Phil Ivey on each other winning a bracelet, for every bracelet won the other player would have to pay out $200,000. Negreanu won the $2k Limit Hold'em event for around $200,000 and immediately had that purse doubled by Mr Ivey.
Phil Ivey's Bracelet Side Bet
For every winner there has to be a loser and that is not a word we are used to associating with Phil Ivey. The most feared player of all time has had a terrible year at the WSOP which has only been made worse by the rumours that Ivey has over $2 million in prop bets, backing himself to win a bracelet this year. He has already had to pay Negreanu for his bracelet win and also is reported to have up to $500,000 with Eli Elezra, who himself won over $750,000 betting in himself last year.
Phil Laak Incognito
We have no idea what category this falls into; was it a forfeit for losing a bet or was it an attempt to win a bet? Either way, the words 'I bet you' must have been somehow linked to this next stunt. The usually not very camera shy Laak appeared to be missing in action on his day one of the main event, with several forums and media crews asking 'just where is Phil? At the same time a few players at table 33 of the Amazon room were wondering just who the old man was in Phil's seat.
It turns out Mr Laak, for whatever reason, had elected to don a latex mask and wig and his grandfathers best slacks and play the whole event in disguise. The normally motor mouthed Laak just sat very quietly until he eventually bust out on day one. Whether he won whatever the bet was remains to be seen, but it was certainly the craziest moment of the WSOP this year, even though few people actually saw it.