Thursday, January 13, 2011
Slap Bet #2 and Slap Bet #3
Holy crap, this happened two months ago but I forgot to blog about it until right now!
Ok, as long-time fans will remember, I lost a slap bet to my friend Kyle over three years ago over the outcome of an online poker tournament. Since that time, Kyle has quite famously used one slap on me, but four slaps (to be doled out at any time over the course of our lives) still remained on the ballot. That is, until a whopping two slaps were accounted for in a thoroughly unusual fashion!
So, not only am I a Slap Bet participant, I'm also an official. You see, for the last three years, I've been the Commissioner of a slap bet between none other than Kyle and his younger brother Taylor. This one also involves poker. You see, Kyle and Taylor made a slap bet in regards to the outcome of the World Series of Poker's Main Event tournament. The field for this tournament has become so large and so littered with unknowns and it's actually become quite rare for a well-known poker pro to make the final table, let alone actually win. It seems like there's one star or so per year that gets all the way to the end --- Mike Mizrachi did it last year, Phil Ivey the year prior, Allen Cunningham finished third a few years back, etc. --- but the last seven or eight actual winners have been relative unknowns.
So back in 2008, Kyle and Taylor made a slap bet about this trend. Taylor argued that a "well-known pro" would win at least one of the next seven Main Events (from 2008 to 2014). Kyle argued that there were simply too many unknowns in the field for a pro to beat the odds, and thus he favoured that the underdogs would keep their streak going through 2014. And thus, the wager was made. It wasn't the classic How I Met Your Mother-inspired 'five slaps over a lifetime' bet, but rather the loser would receive one mammoth, whale of a slap from the winner. Quite possibly in a public place. Or in front of family.
As commissioner of said slap bet, I had a doubly important task. Firstly, I'm the one that has to keep track of this damn thing over seven years. But perhaps more critically, I'm the arbiter that determines who counts as a "well-known pro." Obviously, if some TV regular like Daniel Negreanu or Phil Hellmuth wins the Main Event, then it's a no-brainer. In this age of internet poker, however, someone could be a massively successful online player but a relative newbie in the world of live tournaments. It's a fine line I have to walk to determine if a guy is 'well-known' or not. To use a sports analogy, take last year's major golf championships. Had Kyle and Taylor had similar bets placed on those four tournaments, my job would've been to determine whether or not Phil Mickelson, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen and Martin Kaymer counted as "well-known." To the layperson, Mickelson is the only standout, but to golf fans, McDowell and Kaymer were also pretty well-known and well-regarded from their Ryder Cup exploits, so I would've counted them both too.
Needless to say, this is a bit more added responsibility than your average slap bet commissioner usually wields. But still, imagine my surprise when, in gratitude for my services, Kyle chose to forgive TWO (!) of his remaining four slaps! Two of them! My entire debt was halved like Harvey Dent's face! Such a development was completely stunning to me, and while appreciated, I also have a bit of apprehension. It's possible that marriage and fatherhood are turning Kyle into a big ol' softie....or, he has two particularly hilarious scenarios concocted in his brain that will lead to my being slapped silly, and having two additional lesser scenarios would water down the whole project. If only the producers of the Superman movie franchise had shown the same restraint.
So yeah, that's two fewer slaps for me. I feel like a big weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. A two-pronged, hand-shaped weight. I owe a debt of gratitude to the big-name poker pros who choked it up in the last three WSOP Main Events; had your ineptitude not lasted this long, Kyle wouldn't have thought to half-release me from my debt. Thanks for blowing it, Phil Ivey!
(Oh, and as for the other bet update, you'll notice in the first link on the page that I also make mention of a $200,000 bet I made with my friend Sarah that Lindsay Lohan will win an Oscar between 2007-2017. Sarah bet on yes, I bet on no. As we approach the fourth set of Oscar nominations since we made this bet, my confidence is bordering on the cartoonish. Let's just say that I'm not exactly sweating the chance that Lohan's supporting turn in 'Machete' brings her Oscar gold. Sarah, I'll tell you what, in a nod to Kyle's magnanimous gesture, I'll release you from our bet for a mere $80,000. Really, you're saving money in the long run.)