After watching the betting furor last week in England concerning the Prince of Cambridge, I wondered, “What were the strangest bets ever made?”
Prop bets, or “proposition bets,” are made concerning one-time events that have nothing to do with – well – anything’s outcome. A good example can be seen in the Broadway musical “Guys & Dolls” when Nathan Detroit tries to set up a prop bet with Sky Masterson that Mindy’s Deli sold more Cheescake than Strudel. Sky doesn’t take the bait, but turns it around on Nathan, covering his tie and betting him the same amount of money on the color tie he was wearing.
Here are some of the craziest prop bets ever made – but I’m sure there are a lot more and a lot crazier!
Ashton Griffin, laid out 3:1 odds on himself of being able to run 70 miles on a treadmill in 24 hours, meaning if he’d lost, he would have paid out 3x the bet. By some miracle, he pulled this off, won $300K, and avoided having to shell out $900K and finished the 70 miles with 45 minutes to spare!
$10K for a Vegetarian to Eat a Burger – Yes, it’s true.
Crazy Las Vegas Bets
It’s almost impossible to decide which of legendary gambler Archie Karas’ bets was the craziest. The man came to Vegas with $50 in his wallet and grew that stake to a staggering $17 million over the course of three years. Whether he was playing pool or poker, Karas’ three-year streak is widely regarded as the most insane in Las Vegas history. By the end, after being banned from the poker tables at most casinos, Karas was just taking $100,000 bets on single dice rolls. And yet, just a year after that, he’d lost it all the same way he earned it.
Man Who Got Breast Implants on a Bet
This one, of course, is almost mythic by now, but we couldn’t not include the craziest bet ever made, bar none. Magician and high-stakes gambler Brian Zembic bet in 1996 that he would get breast implants and keep them in for a year for $100K wager. The craziest part of this story is that Zembic apparently became so enamored with his “additions,” he never had them removed.
Some people come to Vegas to find a mythic transformation, to leave behind everything of their old life and be born again in the fires of chance. Britisher Ashley Revell sold everything he owned, emptied his bank account and put every penny he had—$135,000—on red. One spin of the wheel later and he’d doubled his money. He gave a $600 tip to a dealer and walked out of the casino a rich man.
In Vegas, people will bet on just about anything. 1979 saw a great example, as El Cortez owner Jackie Gaughan decided to start taking bets on where space station Skylab’s wreckage would fall to Earth when it re-entered the planet’s atmosphere. Jackie laid odds on everything from New York City to the El Cortez itself (which paid out 10,000 to 1), but the final resting place of the downed satellite ended up in Australia.
And here are some of the bizarre Super Bowl Prop Bets of the past:
- Anthem Time Length Bet
- Improvised National Anthem Bet
- Opposing Coaches Hugs or Handshakes Bet
- Gatorade Color Bet
That’s all for now.