Mattress Mack Won His $75 Million World Series Bet—And Didn’t Make A Dime

The Astros can get the history of Houston’s record payday, but now it will cover $ 74 million mattress sales, plus expenses.

OOn Saturday night during the sixth inning of the World Series in Houston, Yordan Alvarez hit a 450-run three-foot homer to center to put the Astros ahead.

Alvarez’s homerun helped the Astros beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 in Game 6 and win the World Series 4-2, but the Cuban home run also scored Jim McIngvale, a Houston real estate entrepreneur and famous gambler known for well as “Mattress Mack,” won a record $75 million payday.

McIngvale, the 71-year-old, the founder of the Houston-based exhibition, placed a series of future bets worth $ 10 million starting in May on the Astros to win the World Series. With a weighted average of 7.5-1, Mack won $75 million, plus his $10 million bonus, on Saturday. Despite winning what is believed to be the largest payout in legal sports betting history, the Houston tailor won’t be rolling in the dough.

McIngvale says Monday, as I drive with the Astros on the way to the game in downtown Houston to celebrate their championship game.

MORE FROM FORBESMattress Mack is looking at a $75 million payday if the Astros win the World Series

His $10 million income is a hedge against his real estate promotion. In May, June and July, it gives Gallery customers double money if they spend more than $3,000 on a mattress and the Astros win the Fall Classic. He sold so much furniture that he had to change the promotion to an easy refund in August. McIngvale had to cut the promotion prematurely—with four days to go before Game 1 of the Series—after hitting $74 million in sales.

Of the nearly $11 million, he said he has about $1 million in credit card debt alone. He will also pay his salespeople their commissions and throw a few catered return parties. On top of all that, he booked a flight to place a few bets in Iowa and Las Vegas and bought 400 tickets to a World Series game in Houston. After squandering all his money to catch the promotion and get $10 million down on the World Series, McIngvale believed he would break even.

While driving to the race, Craig Biggio, the Astros Hall of Famer, who was sitting behind Mack, was asking for some of his winnings. “Everything goes back to the customer, Biggio!” McIngvale yelled back.

Turning to his phone, McIngvale says that, ultimately, his gambling is about the “joy” the Astros bring to Houston. He said: “It’s not about winning money or doing business or selling furniture. “It is to make these people smile and be proud of their country. That’s what it’s all about, bringing people together, and it’s very satisfying.”

While that may be true, McIngvale’s plan behind the outrageous bet was clearly about increasing sales at the plant. His big wagers are, in that sense, a natural form of marketing and promotional coverage.

“It’s all about building lasting relationships with our customers, and doing good for the community,” he says, “which pays off for decades, not for weeks or months like advertising. silence will happen.”

Looking at the numbers, McIngvale would have been better off financially if the Phillies had won. Of course, he would have lost his $10 million investment but would have kept $74 million in sales. If the Astros lose, he will come home with $65 before expenses.

He said: “That’s the truth—I can’t lose in any way.

But he’s rooting for the Astros no matter what. “My earnings last week hit $100 million – I can’t walk down the street, I can’t do anything,” he says. “When these people get their money, that’s a great experience for the rest of their lives.”

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The promotion also helped McIngvale weather the recession, which also hit the furniture business hard as home sales fell at the same time.

“We sold millions of dollars more in furniture than we would have, especially because the furniture business is flat behind it right now,” he said.

Although McIngvale is confident the Astros will deliver, he’s not above putting in good words to Big Fan Upstairs. Before every home game, McIngvale went to Annunciation Catholic Church, across the street from Minute Maid Park, to pray. At 4:30 pm on Saturday before Game 6, it can fill the pews with Astros fans.

He said: “We had about half the church full—a lot of people came, we didn’t pray for the Astros, we prayed for both teams to do well. “Of course I have a prayer every now and then for the Houston Astros.”

Either way, his customers’ prayers were answered.


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