The $7500 Joke

We were playing $400-$800 limit HORSE with Jerry Buss at the Bike where I was the High Limit Host. A couple of the guys told a joke.

I said I got one. A guy goes to his doctor and says I feel terrible, Doc, can you check me out? The Doctor said let’s take some tests and see what is the problem.

The guy comes back but gets worried when he sees the Doctor has a very sad face. “Doc, what’s wrong?” The Doctor says I’m sorry but I have very bad news. Well spit it out, Doc. The Doctor says you have AIDs, syphilis, and cancer and you have only 6 months to live. The guy drops to his knees and starts crying and pleads to the Doctor, “please, please, Doc, there must be something you can do for me?” The Doctor thinks and says there is one thing I can advise. The guy excitedly says, “What is it?” “Well, you could marry a fat broad that will constantly nag you and move to Des Moines, Iowa.” The guy is puzzled by the advice and asks, “how will that save my life?” The Doctor says, “it won’t save your life, but it will make the next 6 months seem like eternity.”

“I’ll bet that,” I hear. I looked up and it’s Johnny “World” Hennigan. “What?”, I asked. “Bet what? That was a joke.” “I’ll bet that I can spend one month in Des Moines,” World responds.

Interesting I thought. World was an action junkie who was betting $5k a game on the NBA. In the game we were playing regularly each hand cost $4k. John had “forced” me to bet $5k that he could quit smoking for 2 weeks. I don’t like to bet on activities where someone will have to do something unhealthy for me to win so I declined. He reminded me that he had given me a tip where I was a favorite and won $45k getting 3-1 odds. After he threatened not to give me another bet, I reluctantly accepted. 20 minutes later he asked for a settlement. “No, John, after we went through all that, let’s just keep the bet.” 10 minutes after that, he tossed me a $1k chip and said the bet is settled and went out to smoke. Willpower did not seem to be his strength.

The key to winning this bet would have to be size. The amount could not be too large but it would have to be big enough for him to accept. $10k was still a buy-in for a tournament so the size of the bet would have to be between $5k and $10k. I offered $7500 and he accepted. This was in the spring and he had until the end of the year to complete the bet- spend 30 consecutive days in Des Moines. Of course, I didn’t realize it but he had already outsmarted me.

As soon as I saw the phone call the next morning was from Huck Seed, a feeling of dread came over me. I realized that I had overlooked a very important stipulation. Huck erased all doubt when he chirped, “Yosh, that was such a great bet I bet 15,000 on it.” I had failed to stipulate that John could not bet anyone else. I wished you just asked me for a piece I told Huck because now he has $22,500 at stake. We decided we were still favorites and Huck gave me the authority to settle the bet.

A few months go by and I get a call from John. “Well, I just checked in to the Holiday Inn and checked out the local pool hall. Looks like a pleasant place and I’m looking forward to drying out here for 30 days.” “Well, have a good time,” I replied.

Every couple of days he calls me with an update. After a week, I can sense the edginess and he brings up that he would be open to a settlement. “No John, if you win it you win it. Good luck to you,” I said. Now the calls seem to be more frequent and the edginess is clear as he keeps imploring me to offer a settlement. I keep saying no offer.

After 3 weeks in Des Moines, he calls me and he is very agitated. He says he has spent 3 weeks and even though it was killing him, he was determined to win the bet and finish out the last week so I should settle. He did spend 3 weeks and with only one more week left, it did appear he was going to win so I asked, “what are you offering?” “I’ll take half and you can be sure I will make it another week!” That was a savings of $3750 for me and $7500 for Huck. I know people that would have enjoyed the sadistic pleasure derived from making John suffer for another week but I decided a dollar saved was a dollar earned. I figured I was making $3750 so I said, “okay John the bet is settled”. He got the hell out of Dodge and did not stop at Go!

This is a room at the Des Moines Holiday Inn. John may have bluffed me. After 3 weeks he may not have been able to stand another week.

This story was not intended to offend any of the fine citizens of Des Moines, Iowa or any women with a weight problem. In fact, Chuck and Gena Norris endorse Meta-Switch for sustainable weight loss: