Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mad Props

"'Make it $7,000 and it's a deal.'

Svobodny agreed before Ted [Forrest] woke up enough to realize what he'd gotten himself into. It was the Fourth of July in Las Vegas, and the temperature was expected to climb above 110 degrees. The UNLV track was red, rubber urethane, which would radiate the heat.

...Huck finished first and the UNLV track coach, amazed that someone was out on the track, asked what Forrest was doing. 'He could die out there,' the coach said."

--The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King

The biggest and best gamblers in the world, like poker pro Ted Forrest, are precisely that because they know how to take a risk when they have an edge. They know when the potential payoff of a bet is greater than the odds of them actually winning it, and they apply this edge over and over again for profit. Most of the time, this comes in the form of a casino game, typically poker, but even poker players get bored sitting at the table all day long. They make up for that lack of excitement with prop bets. Like running a marathon in 110-degree weather with no training whatsoever. Or betting a friend that he couldn't live for a month in Des Moines, Iowa, or that you could beat him in ping pong using only your cell phone as a paddle (all real, documented props between well-known poker players).

Wouldn't life be a lot more exciting if we all took prop bets? Things would be a lot more fun if people more often randomly showed up in their offices wearing clown suits, or tried to walk from LA to Vegas while only sleeping twice, wouldn't they?

Maybe that's why a friend of mine made a bet with another friend last night in between a game of flip cup that he couldn't perfectly flip his cup, bottom-down, into another cup sitting on the table. As soon as he sunk the shot, my friend making the bet realized that offering to go over to the White House gates and belt out "We Are the World" probably wasn't the greatest idea. In the end, it didn't actually happen (I suggested that he simply stand in front of everyone at the kickball postgame happy hour and sing it), but the point was clear: we need more of this.

Any takers?


At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prop bets would be more likely to take off if people actually went through with them, rather than chickening out in the end.

At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anthony, you have no entire four years at college was spent making lame bets. Like the time I bet a friend of mine two tacos at Taco Bell that I could walk blindfolded from my dorm room all the way to Economic Development class, in Hill Hall. I did it.

The best part was that I passed my friend Emily on the way, who I hadn't told what I was going to do, and who I'm sure had no idea why I was walking all the way to Hill Hall with a visory pulled down over my eyes, holding my hands in front of me, and making sure to keep myself on the grassy edge of the sidewalk to keep myself on a straight line.

She thought nothing of it, and said "hi Shawn!", and continued back to the dorm.


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