Prop bets of enormous proportions are extremely common among affluent poker pros. They happen all the time, often in a public forum to ensure the loser pays up. Four years ago, one such proposition was made between professional poker players Ted Forrest and Mike Matusow, and documented by ESPN. Forrest claims to have lived up to his end of the bargain, but Matusow is still refusing to pay the substantial remainder of the $2 million debt.
In May of 2010, just before the start of the World Series of Poker, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow bet his good friend (at the time) Ted Forrest that he could not drop down below 140 pounds before the WSOP came to a close in mid-July. At 5’11”, Forrest only weighed in at 188 pounds to begin with, thus such an intense weight drop would not only be difficult, but potentially harmful to the poker pro’s health. Matusow was so confident that his friend could not accomplish the goal that he offered 20-to-1 odds on the bet, and even went so far as to present an extension to September 1st with 10-to-1 odds if Ted couldn’t get the job done before the end of the WSOP.
With little to lose (in the monetary sense) and a lot to gain if he could pull it off, Forrest began shedding the pounds right away. He hired a trainer, fasted and spent hours each day running 16 miles on a treadmill. Just before Las Vegas’ premier poker series came to a close, the 6x WSOP bracelet winner weighed in at an amazingly low 138 pounds. Unfortunately, “The Mouth” waved it off, claiming he didn’t have the money and refusing to honor the prop bet.
Payment of the outstanding debt has been an issue between the two elite poker pros ever since, and last week, the situation got heated. A very long discussion arose on Ted’s Twitter page in which the lack of payment was the main subject. During that conversation, Forrest said that Mike had paid him a total of $70,500 so far, including $20k right after Matusow won the NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship over 13x WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth.
Partway through the thread, Mike Matusow finally chimed in with the scathing remark that Ted should “stop lying about me to people in public or I will out you for the thief and crook that you are, take care my friend, Mike”.
Since then, Ted Forrest has made it clear that, while he sees court as a “last recourse”, if Mike Matusow is unwilling to make good on his debt, he will file a lawsuit in the matter. Who would win that case, however, is a matter of even larger debate.
There have been accusations that Ted used weight loss drugs to drop the poundage, which was against the terms of the prop bet, and the fact that Mike Matusow is a known abuser of drugs and alcohol could even get him an acquittal from a judge. Then again, if Matusow has already paid on a portion of the bet, in my eyes (and Ted’s), that represents his acquiescence to having legitimately lost the bet, and subsequent acceptance of a debt owed.
Interestingly enough, there’s a backstory to this prop bet as well. Two years prior, in 2008, Mike Matusow wasn’t exactly in the best physical form. Forrest bet the stout 250 pound Matusow that he couldn’t drop his weight to 181 or below within a year’s time. With $100k on the line, Mike took the bet and dropped the weight. $100k richer, that was the inspiration behind Matusow instigating the follow up bet in 2010.