Unless you live over in the states, you are unlikely to have heard of Mattress Mack.
He is an American businessman who has run Gallery Furniture in Houston, Texas since 1981, becoming well known for his fast paced hard sell style TV commercials – his catchphrase was “Saves YOU Money!”.
As time has gone on though, Mack has become more famous for the nose bleed stakes he has bet on various sports, winning and losing millions at a time, including what is thought to be the biggest sports bet payout in American history.
He’s worth an estimated $300 million so Mattress Mack can afford the stakes he risks on his bets, but something that is really interesting about him is the fact that he ties his sports bets in with special offers at his furniture business.
For example, he might offer money back on all mattresses bought in a single weekend should a certain team win the game. This attracts higher sales, so if his bet loses his business (and therefore he himself) wins, while if his bet wins he can offset the cost of his special offer with the money won from the bet.
His bets always seem well thought through with appropriate stake sizes relative to his wealth and the risk/reward ratio for the wager in question, so he’s certainly the sort of bettor that knows his sports and does his research.
He’s a clever guy.
Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale's Biggest Bets
Although he was already famous locally for his wacky TV commercials promoting his long standing furniture brand, Jim 'Mattress Mack' McIngvale became famous as a gambler when he wagered $13 million on his beloved Astros to win game 7 of the World Series.
He tied it in with a promotion at his furniture store, so to him the bet was more or an insurance policy and something that might be both fun and rewarding for his customers.
His bet lost, but it opened the door for many more bets like it, and made Mattress Mack an instant gambling legend.
This bet was so big he had to place it across a number of different bookmakers in order for them to spread the risk.
Mattress Mack had been steadily backing his beloved Houston Astros to win the World Series for six months before the final took place, and by that point they were the favourites and at much much shorter odds.
By placing his bets earlier in the season though, Mack had combined odds of 7.5/1 by the time all his bets were placed, and was going into this game with $10,000,000 on the line and a potential $75,000,000 to be won.
One bookie alone, Caesars, would pay out $30,000,000 of that total if the bet came in; the highest sports bet payout in history at that point.
All of Jim McIngvale's bets are carefully planned and tied in with his business ventures to minimise risk, but this one had to hurt just by the nature of how it went down, and how close the Bengals came to winning.
He made two bets on the Cincinnati Bengals winning the Super Bowl, wagering $9.5 million in total and standing to win a cool $16,150,000 if the wager went his way.
It didn't, so he ended up with a $9.5 million hole in his pocket instead, and the poor old Cincinnati Bengals added a 3rd Super Bowl loss to their tally.
Jim 'Mattress Mack' McIngvale had a big win when the Kansas Jayhawks made an incredible comeback against the North Carolina Tar Heels.
It was the NCAA Division I men's basketball championship, and Mack had made a total of $8.8 million worth of bets on Kansas to win the game, and as usual, if his bet won, so would the customers of his store, who would have recent purchases refunded.
It was a thrilling game for those watching in the stadium, and probably equally thrilling for those watching from Mack's store - yes, he held a viewing in his store.
A string of losses for Jim McIngvale was topped off by a gigantic $6.2 million bet that went down the drain in the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Jim backed Alabama Crimson Tide to win the game, but they were soundly beaten by the Georgia Bulldogs, who claimed their first national title since the 1980 season.
It was a tight call before the game began, but most bookies favoured the Bulldogs by a shade, and they were right to do so. McIngvale clearly thought there was value to be had because of this, but on this occasion, he was dead wrong.
It seemed like a last minute decision, with the bet going down just 50 minutes before post time, but Mattress Mack was had been thinking about his bet for a long time before he put it on.
It was the Kentucky Derby over in Louisville at Churchill Downs racecourse, and $1.2 million was the stake.
Mack's bet was so big that it moved the odds and made his horse, Angel of Empire the favourite, which was his plan all along; but if you watched the race, you will already know that his bet was a loser.