Extremely high stakes
Things are really heating up for renowned high-stakes sports bettor Jim ‘Mattress Mack’ McIngvale. The wealthy furniture store owner is on the precipice of winning the largest payout in sports betting history. His $10m wager on his beloved Houston Astros to win the MLB World Series at +750 could return $75m in just two games’ time.
an expletive-laden shouting match
With a record-breaking payout on the line, Mattress Mack is understandably tense. On Wednesday night, this was clear to see when he got into an expletive-laden shouting match with some Philadelphia Phillies fans outside Citizens Bank Park. Barstool Sports owner Dave Portnoy took to Twitter to share a video of the incident, deeming it “inevitable:”
In the video, Mack was leaving Game 4 of the World Series in which the Astros had just won to make it 2-2 with the Phillies. Game 5 will take place at Citizen Bank Park again before heading back to Minute Maid Park for the final two games of the MLB season.
Explanation and response
Speaking with the Houston Chronicle shortly after the incident, Mattress Mack gave some insight into why he lost his temper with the Phillies fans. “We were walking out and some drunk old man said to pull the jerseys off all the Astros and show their buzzers,” the 71-year-old explained. “And then he said, ‘Jose Altuve will never make the Hall of Fame because he is the biggest cheater ever,’
and that’s when I lost it.”
In a similar vein to Portnoy, multiple social media users have jumped up to defend the high-stakes bettor. One self-described Phillies fan @robncypress urged his city to “do better” after labeling Mack a “legit hero” who “steps up when real people need help.” @rrossjd, meanwhile, shared his interpretation of the city of Houston’s response:
Even McIngvale’s beloved Houston Astros took to social media in the wake of the incident to share their support for their number one fan:
One of many bets
Mattress Mack placed $10m on the Astros back when they were at odds of +750. They have since moved to -225. As with his many other high-stakes wagers, the bet is part of a promotion at his Gallery Furniture store. He has promised free mattresses for customers spending at least $3,000 if the $75m payday comes in.
The Houston businessman has an up and down relationship with betting. In May, he lost $2.6m betting on the favorite in the Kentucky Derby. However, that loss came shortly after a huge win of $10.4m wagering on the Kansas Jayhawks to win the NCAA championship.
His bets on the Houston Astros have proven particularly unsuccessful. He lost $11.6m in October 2019 when the Astros suffered defeat at the hands of the Washington Nationals in Game 7 of the World Series. Then, just one year later, history repeated itself as the Atlanta Braves thumped Houston 7-0 in Game 6 to take the MLB title. He lost $3.5m that time and a potential payout of more than $35m.