The Loop

2021 World Series

It is once again time to root against Mattress Mack, millionaire World Series gambler

October 26, 2021

The Washington Post

Back in February, we alerted you to the scourge of Jim McIngvale, a Houston-area furniture kingpin who goes by the moniker "Mattress Mack" and who loves to gamble obscene amounts of money on big sporting events as a hedge against promotions he runs at his store. Back then, he was putting $3.46 million on Tom Brady and the Buccaneers to cover the +3.5 spread in the Super Bowl against Kansas City. He won, which not only filled his pockets, but gave anyone who spent more than $3,000 at his store a free mattress. It was the largest bet on the Super Bowl that year, and you can imagine Mattress Mack was laughing all the way to the bank.

Now, he's at it again, but to an insane degree: In June, he placed bets at four different sports books backing the Astros to win the World Series, for an amount totaling $3.35 million (including $2 million on the Caesars SportsBook). But this time, if he wins, he stands to gain $38.9 million—his odds were between +1000 and +1600, whereas the Astros are now -150 to beat the Braves—and his payout from Caesars of about $22 million would be the largest single payout in U.S. history. And yet again, anyone spending more than $3,000 at his store will get comped if the Astros win, and they're coming to his store in droves—Gallery Furniture made approximately $5.9 million just last weekend. It's the ultimate hedge.

So why do we root against Mattress Mack? Well, aside from the best reason of all, pure seething envy, there's the fact that a filthy rich guy from Texas throwing obscene amounts of money around on frivolous crap while promoting expensive mattresses is just about the lowest point of the American experiment. He's basically the opposite of George Washington:

In real life, Mattress Mack seems fine–he's even giving World Series tickets to 55 actual nuns, and they're called the "rally nuns," and this is somewhat funny. We don't hate Mattress Mack in real life. But we hate the idea of Mattress Mack, and hating the idea of someone is about as good as it gets.

Still, credit where it's due: He was offered a multi-million-dollar cash out, and declined. You can't hedge a hedger. (This might be less of a maverick move and more of a necessity since the amount of money he'd have to reimburse in furniture might actually be more than he'd get with the cash out.)

Then, of course, we have the critical last factor: The Astros. As we know, they are loathsome cheaters who weren't really punished in any serious way, didn't even have their World Series taken away despite confirmed cheating, and just completely suck in every way a modern franchise can suck. In all, the Astros winning is a far worse outcome than Mattress Mack winning, but it's our good fortune that we can root against both at the same time. No hedge necessary.