Rovell: What It’s Like To Watch An Astros vs. Phillies World Series Game With Mattress Mack
Picture by Darren Rovell. Pictured: Mattress Mack.
There are two type of gamblers: The quiet ones and the loud ones.
The guys that hold everything inside and the guys that scream at the top of their lungs and turn red in the face.
The most recognized gambler in America is a quiet one. He’s recognized because his story and face have been plastered everywhere — not because he says “look at me.”
I know because Wednesday night’s Game 4 was the third time I’ve sat next to Jim McIngvale — otherwise known as “Mattress Mack” — for a sporting event.
So what’s it like to witness a game with a man who can win the most money in sports gambling history? A man who has so much hedge money on the line that Caesars in their conference call this week said that their profitability for the fourth quarter would be dependent on him?
Well, it’s incredibly tense because you can sense how much is bottled up inside.
I arrived at the ballpark with Mattress Mack — who wins $75 million on $10 million wagered if the Astros win it all — nearly three hours before first pitch.
In those three hours, he stood in the same position, hands on the top of the Astros dugout, and generally didn’t move except for when he pointed his fingers at players who were coming onto the field.
As is tradition, he had only eaten breakfast and hadn’t drunk a thing for six hours — not a beer, soda or sip of water.
There are some who say that this all doesn’t matter to the Houston-based mattress and furniture magnate.
His promo of “If the Astros win, you win” gives mattress customers a refund on purchases over $3,000 if the Astros win the World Series. Mack hedges that promotion with sizable futures wagers on the Astros.
Either way, he’ll make a profit. So why does he care?
Because the man loves a good sweat. And he’s a genuine fan.
He takes deep breaths at tense moments and uses a single tissue to wipe the sweat off his face and mouth, like a nervous tick.
There wasn’t much action in Game 4, seeing as the Astros threw a combined no-hitter and Houston’s only runs came in a single inning.
But during that inning, Mack’s emotions weren’t hidden. When Alex Bregman drove in two to put the Astros up 3-0, the 71-year-old Mack let out a scream and a “Woo Hoo!” reminiscent of a school boy riding down a big hill on his bike for the first time.
And it’s that overall youthful demeanor that sticks with me.
Mattress Mack has nothing to lose. Besides maybe the greatest win in gambling history.