‘I’ll Bet on Most Things:’ Peter Christensen Talks Betting Against Jonathan Bales, Twitter Beef & More
Peter Christensen (@draftcheat) is the guy betting against him and the one who thought of the challenge in the first place.
I recently had a conversation with draftcheat to get a sense of who he is and how he thinks the pushup prop will play out.
A Conversation With Peter Christensen (draftcheat)
Matthew Freedman: In my Q&A with Bales, I describe you as a “Twitter provocateur extraordinaire.” How would you describe yourself?
draftcheat: I’ve never heard that term, but that does sound pretty accurate. I wouldn’t say that I provoked Bales into this challenge at all, but I’ve had some boxing matches fall through over the years, so I’m excited that at least one of these challenges is going to be delivered upon for the people.
MF: Tell us a little about yourself? How did you get into DFS and the industry?
DC: I’ve kind of always been a little bit of a gambler. I played online poker, professional poker, for a few years out of college and in college, and then Black Friday happened, and that kind of went away. I was 95% an online player, and so I left that career, if you will, and worked a normal job for a couple of years with some digital marketing and then found DFS and have been in the fantasy sports/gambling space ever since.
MF: You were the loudest voice on Twitter in January about Bachelorgate, when Tanner Tolbert apparently used a DraftKings account belong to his wife, Jade Roper Tolbert, to enter more lineups than allowed in the DraftKings Millionaire Maker. That’s an extraordinary example, but what gives you so much pleasure in finding and highlighting shady situations in DFS?
DC: What’s interesting about that is that my main beef ending up being with Tolbert’s friend Chris Randone. And we’ve actually over this last month made some degree of peace between us, but his reaction to it all — the group claiming that they didn’t know or that they didn’t do it, just all of that stuff — just seemed … I understand that there are kind of gray areas in the DFS industry and in the gambling industry in general. And of course people are always tiptoeing the line. But for me when it’s as blatant as this was, in my opinion — I don’t really have any doubts about what happened here, and I don’t think that most people who take an objective look at this do — I just kind of feel the need to call it out.
MF: As part of the fallout from Bachelorgate, you and Randone agreed to a fight. What’s the status of that match?
DC: Frankly, I think it’s unlikely to happen at this point.
I’d still be down to do it. A lot of people are trying to step in, trying to get a real arena, get boxing licenses and all that. What I really wanted to do was just throw down and box somebody. (Laughs.)
I don’t have any boxing experience whatsoever, but it seems fun to fight someone that you’ve got some beef with. It would be fantastic entertainment for the Twitter community, which really does mean a lot to me.
So I would still be down to do it, but if I had to guess right now, I would say no. And of course with what’s going on in the world at the moment, it’s on hold until we can travel again and all that stuff.
MF: I think you also at one point were slated to have a fight with Seige. What happened there? What led up to that matchup, and do you think that’s ever going to happen?
DC: No, Seige isn’t going to fight me. I don’t know if he was ever planning to. I think twice he’s agreed to box me, and then one time I think that he claimed he had scar tissue in his shoulder so he couldn’t get a doctor’s clearance, which somehow happened one day after we agreed to the fight.
MF: Why are you looking to fight people? (Laughs.) You’re the common denominator in all these proposed matchups. What’s going on there?
DC: I don’t know. (Laughs.) … A lot of this starts out very tongue-in-cheek. I really don’t take myself very seriously on Twitter. A lot of what I tweet is done with me laughing with a smile on my face.
And then a lot of the best interactions with people are when they don’t pick up on the sarcasm or take me too seriously and then fire back, and then one thing leads to another, and we get boxing matches being scheduled.
MF: Let’s get to the Bales pushup prop. How did this come about?
DC: So on Monday morning, I just woke up, and people who are familiar with my Twitter account know that, especially now with no sports to research, I’m just kind of tweeting stream of consciousness — that’s kind of how I’d describe my Twitter account, where I just tweet whatever I’m thinking about, if I think it would be funny or entertaining or whatever.
So I tweeted on Monday this hypothetical — as gamblers, we tend to think in hypotheticals a lot: How many pushups do you think you could do in 12 hours if you were highly motivated, so if you were paid $1,000 per completed pushup? I tweeted that to everybody.
So obviously there were all sorts of answers coming in from that, but then Peter Jennings said he could do 3,600, which I found to be a preposterous number, so I called out Peter on that. He modified his number to 2,400. And then Bales jumped in basically saying he could do it and he’d be willing to wager on it.
MF: So you don’t think he can do it.
DC: I do not. I actually don’t know if anyone knows he can do it. I read his Q&A with you, and I do believe him that he doesn’t know if he can do it. He said that the most pushups he’s ever done in one day is 500.
We’re talking about 2,400 pushups here. In my opinion, people are underestimating the exponential growth factor of the difficulty of the pushups.
People are looking at Bales, maybe Bales is looking at himself and saying, “I’m strong, I can lift a lot of weight.” It is my opinion that raw strength — one-rep max bench-press power — has very little bearing on whether or not he will be able to complete this challenge.
I think he’s mentally strong enough to do it. I think he’ll have a good plan. And I do believe if he’s physically capable of doing 2,400 pushups in 12 hours he will almost certainly win this bet.
I just think his muscles will give out and he will end the challenge essentially physically unable to do any pushups at all.
MF: What are some of the wild props you’ve bet on or participated in?
DC: Bales certainly has more experience with the Gambling Olympics and all that than I do. Back in the poker days, I used to live out in Vegas every summer for the World Series of Poker, so we’d gamble on all sorts of things, but I can’t think of anything quite like this that I’ve been involved in.
MF: For DFS if you’re thinking about stacking, you create in your mind the way that you think a game is going to play out. How do you envision this prop playing out?
DC: So I do think he will have a proper strategy, which to me is basically pacing out the pushups for the whole 12 hours. If Bales does succeed and win this challenge, I do believe it will be in the last hour, so there’s a good chance we could get a fun sweat out of this.
One thing that’s interesting is that I’ve seen a lot of people say, “Oh, there’s no way he’s going to get to 2,000 pushups or 2,200 pushups and then fail. If he gets that close, he’s a lock to finish.”
I disagree wholeheartedly with that. I think there’s actually a good chance that he finishes somewhere between 2,000-2,400 pushups, that he gets to 2,000 pushups and then just starts slowing down significantly and eventually can’t do any more pushups and has to throw in the towel.
MF: With that in mind, do you have any thoughts on whether you might be looking to live bet this? Or do you feel satisfied with the position you already have?
DC: I think I’m going to cap out with where I am. I have the $2,000 wager with Bales and about another $1,000 on it with other people, some of which I got at decent plus-money odds, because people generally think that he can do it. It seems like a lot of the sharps, a lot of the big money thinks that Bales will complete this challenge.
But I could see live wagering it.
If he employs the plan that I think he will, where he’s pacing out a steady number of pushups, it seems like the live number would not change all that much.
Obviously if he goes for a different strategy and puts out 500 pushups in the first hour, at that point I think people would assume that he’s likely going to win if he’s way above pace. I would actually be more likely to bet against him on the live number if he does something like that, because 1) I think that’s not the right strategy, and then 2) I think I’d be able to get a plus number.
MF: So you have maybe $3,000 total on this. What is the largest position that you know of on this bet?
DC: One person has told me that they have over $20,000 on it, not all with one person, but just spread around. And I don’t want to name names, but my guess is that there’s one person in particular who could end up putting a significant wager on it before it’s all locked in.
There are still some details that need to be figured out before some people want to bet.
We agreed upon a set form. He posted a video doing five pushups, and I said, “Yes, that’s acceptable form.”
But now we’ve got some people asking me, “Well, what happens if he wants to change his form, where he still has acceptable form, it’s still a pushup, but he changes where his hand positioning is?”
We’ve got to figure out a couple more details. I don’t anticipate there being any issues or hangups that prevent the challenge from going through at all.
So I think as it gets closer to the start of the challenge, we’ll see some big-money wagers come in privately between people on Twitter mostly.
MF: The person who has around $20,000 invested: Is that on the over or the under?
DC: On the under. I saw you tweet out, “Who’s the market maker? Who’s booking these under bets?”
Because it seems like a lot of the bigger bettors are on the over: Obviously Bales himself, Peter Jennings, Adam Levitan are all booking action on the over, so there’s got to be some people taking action the other way.
And it’s crazy how polarizing this is: I guess it’s a good number, because it seems like both sides are pretty confident they’re going to win, but nobody knows, so it makes for a pretty fun wager.
MF: You mentioned that there were some questions about the form of the pushups. How do you think that’s going to be settled? Will you guys kick it over to the panel of the judges? Or are you and Bales going to iron that out just you two?
DC: We’ll iron it out, I think working with the judges, because they’re ultimately going to have to say, “These pushups that you’re completing are good,” or, “They’re not good.”
He’ll have a chance to rectify any pushups that are deemed by the judges to not be of proper form. There are minor details that we’ll have to work out. So maybe every 10 minutes or half an hour they’ll say, “Yes, all of those 100 pushups you did were good.” Maybe they’ll say, “We saw 3-4 pushups that are not going to count.”
He’ll need to be informed of that so he has time to modify his strategy. He’s not going to complete the challenge and then be told, “Oh, no, there were three pushups that weren’t good, you lose.” That’s not in the spirit of the bet.
There will have to be a level of trust between us, where I’m not just trying to call him out on some super small technicality. If he does the 2,400 pushups with good form, in good faith, all on camera, then I think he should win, and I’ll give him his congratulations and tip my cap. It’s the spirit of the bet, and I think that we’re both on the same page, and I don’t have any doubts that we’ll be able to work all that out.
MF: What do you think the size of the market will be by the time Bales starts on Thursday morning?
DC: Seven figures. I think there’s a good chance it gets to that. We obviously won’t know most of these bets, but that would be my guess. It’s over six figures for sure right now, and the event is close enough to where the hype won’t die down before it happens. And people don’t have all that much to do at the moment. (Laughs.) So I do think we’ll see a pretty big market.
It certainly has blown up more than I thought it would. I knew it would be popular and that people would wager on it, but not to the extent that we’ve seen over the past two days.
And that does bring into question — the more money wagered, the bigger the money gets, the likelier it is that there’s going to be some controversy, on the form especially.
If this were just a $2,000 wager between the two of us, with the three judges, I feel pretty confident that we wouldn’t have any controversy and the winner would be determined without any real problem. But the bigger the market gets, I do get a little concerned about some big controversy. Hopefully not. Hopefully it’s decided one way or another in a pretty clear manner.
MF: You mentioned earlier that you don’t think you could do 2,400 pushups in 12 hours. What is the number you think you could do?
DC: I’ve got to be careful here, because whatever number I say, I’m going to have people coming at me trying to wager. Maybe close to 1,000, but probably under that.
MF: If you lose, will you continue to bet on physical prop bets
DC: Yes. (Laughs.) I’ll bet on most things. I would have no problem. One of the reasons I’m trying to keep my wager amount relatively low is I want to be able to enjoy this challenge, at least to some extent. If I have too much money on it, it’s just going to be too stressful for 12 hours watching him grind out these pushups.
So at $3,000, if he does it, if I lose, again, I’ll have no problem giving him a hearty congratulations, a tip of the cap, and paying out and moving on.
But if it starts getting into five figures — I don’t want to be watching his form exactly on every pushup. I want to try to enjoy myself on the greatest sporting event that we might have in April.
MF: Do you have a plan for watching this? Are you going to watch all 12 hours?
DC: I will definitely be there for the kickoff of this challenge. I’ll probably play some online poker on one of my monitors and have the Bales live feed on another. Enjoy a few adult beverages during the whole thing. And the poker group: We’re for sure going to have a Zoom meeting, where we’re all watching and hanging out and laughing at Bales.
I’m genuinely excited to watch this competition go down.
Maybe it’s not for everyone to watch a stranger do pushups for 12 straight hours, but it is for me. I’m excited for it.
MF: In the past, Bales has done some physical prop bets, where the person betting against him has bought out at a certain point. Do you think something like that could happen here?
DC: Perhaps, but he would still have to continue to do the challenge, because he’s got money on it with people other than me, and there are other people betting on it. So, no, I don’t think I’d do that.
For me, I would almost feel bad for the people who are on my side of this if I bought out. I’ve had some people suggest that I should being trying to get some money on the other side as a hedge at a better number.
That’s not something that I’d do. I’m not going to bet on Bales to do this after tweeting multiple times that I don’t think he can do it. That’s not the way I’d approach this.
MF: What are some of the prop ideas you have for after this?
DC: I tweeted just as a joke yesterday that I think I could walk 60 miles in 24 hours, which I don’t actually think I could do.
So yesterday I did a sort of testrun — I walked 12 miles to see how I would feel, and I felt pretty fine after 12 miles in I think 3.5 hours. That would be an interesting one. I would have to lower my number pretty significantly from 60 miles to 40. I would probably be willing to bet that I could walk 40 miles in 24 hours.
One interesting tweet I saw related to this is “How many pushups would Bales be able to do on Friday, the day after, assuming he does complete the 2,400, and after sleeping for a night?”
I think that number would be really, really low. I think he’s just going to be wreaked even if he does complete the challenge.
I’m sure over the next month or so, there will be some more physical or other types of challenges for us to bet on with no sports around to entertain us.
MF: OK, final question. I’m partially joking, but partially not. I’m looking to get some money on the over. Who do I need to talk to who will take my action?
DC: I’ll DM you.