Mattress Mack on Losing ‘More Than $13 Million’ in Bets: ‘I Feel Like I Hedged Perfectly’
Darren Rovell. Pictured: Mattress Mack
- When the Washington Nationals beat the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the World Series, one of the largest monetary bets on a single team in sports history came to an end.
- Darren Rovell caught up with Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale immediately after the game that cost him "more than $13 million" in bets.
HOUSTON — The sweat heard ’round the world is over.
Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, a 68-year-old furniture mogul and philanthropist, told The Action Network he lost “more than $13 million” in bets after the Washington Nationals defeated the Houston Astros, 6-2, in Game 7 of the World Series.
The wagers would’ve profited approximately $25 million, according to McIngvale.
McIngvale had spent the past month betting millions on his beloved Astros to win the World Series as a means of hedging a season-long promotion running at his furniture stores that promised to refund all purchases of more than $3,000 if the Astros brought home the title.
Mack has said his liabilities for the promotion are north of $20 million.
“I feel like I hedged perfectly,” McIngvale told The Action Network while sitting in his car after Game 7. “The worst my customers got were great mattresses, the best would have been great, free mattresses. I would have loved for the Astros fans to win, but we had two bad games.
“My mattresses obviously had profit baked into them. I would do this again tomorrow — and I probably will. It’s fun to be part of the greatest story in gambling history.”
McIngvale’s month-long journey took him to at least nine different sportsbooks in three different states, traveling the country by private jet, many times the morning before attending an Astros game in person, to drop more cash on his hometown team.
The new-age of sports betting — which now includes 13 states taking legal wagers — provided Mack more outs as he tried to hedge his promotion, but still not as many as he would’ve liked.
“I would like to thank Beau Rivage for not taking my $500,000 bet today. Unibet for always having the highest odds against the Astros, causing me to bet elsewhere. FanDuel for cutting me off. You really did save me money!
“I would also like to thank the Scarlet Pearl Casino in Mississippi for taking all my action and being incredibly gracious and accommodating. They outdid the big boys.”
By our count, the Scarlet Pearl Casino, which has a DraftKings Sportsbook inside, stands to make the most money off McIngvale’s bets.
Column: ‘Mattress Mack’ could lose $15 million if Astros win World Series. He’s OK with that
Jim McIngvale isn’t much of a gambler. At least that’s what the Houston furniture store owner known as “Mattress Mack” claims when asked about the big wagers he has made.
“I couldn’t pick a big dog out in a room full of Chihuahuas,” he said. “I don’t gamble. I hedge.”
Whatever you want to call it, McIngvale has sports books across Nevada looking the other way when his name comes up.
Two years ago, McIngvale, 68, who earned his nickname by wearing a mattress in local ads, offered a refund on any mattress purchase of at least $3,000 if the Astros won the World Series. He hedged the promotion through insurance policies and multiple six-figure bets on Houston at various sports books.
When the Astros won, McIngvale returned about $13 million in mattresses. But by successfully hedging the bet, he lost only about $1 million — a small price to pay for the exposure he got.
“The word of mouth on the promotion was remarkable in 2017,” McIngvale said. “Everyone knew about it. We developed loyal customers with over 60% buying more furniture.”
Looking to make a similar splash this fall, McIngvale is offering the same deal and is currently on the hook for more than $15 million in mattresses if the Astros win the World Series. There’s only one problem: This time, insurance companies and sports books aren’t offering the same deal when it comes to the hedge.
McIngvale didn’t look to hedge on his promotion until last month, after the Astros had added pitcher Zack Greinke at the trade deadline. They currently have the best record in baseball and are favored to win the World Series at most sports books. The favorable insurance rates and odds he got two years ago when the Dodgers were favored are no longer available.
“I bought a huge insurance policy before where I didn’t have to do much hedging in Nevada,” he said. “I don’t have any insurance this year. The reason is, the Astros have been hot all year and the insurance rates weren’t as good as they were, and then the Astros got Greinke and became the favorites. So I’ve had to hedge in Nevada, but the Astros are more prohibitive favorites, so the price is lower.”
McIngvale had his attorney reach out to Anthony Curtis, a gambler who publishes the popular Las Vegas Advisor newsletter and various books on gambling. Many sports books that had happily taken McIngvale’s action two years ago were now turning him away, so he needed a local to help him out.
“Insurance is gambling, it has to do with odds and that’s how they set prices,” Curtis said. “So Mack didn’t pursue the policy fast enough before they made their big moves. So they gave him a cost that wasn’t as good as he could do by just going to the gambling market.
“The problem is the sports books don’t want to cooperate. I’m flabbergasted by their reticence. They’re worried about their balance sheets. This isn’t a professional gambler with an edge. This is a businessman looking to hedge and they should accept his bet, but they’re not and it stuns me. We can’t make legal bets for him and it’s disappointing.”
Many of the sports books that turned down McIngvale’s money or capped a possible wager in the low five figures wouldn’t go on the record to explain why, but privately they each had a similar reasoning for their decision: They like the Astros to win the World Series, and they like their current position on the wagering and don’t want to lose it all on one massive out-of-town bet.
Mattress Mack loses $1 million betting against the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV
Mattress Mack loses $1 million betting against the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV
Mattress Mack loses $1 million betting against the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV
By Mark Lane February 2, 2020 11:51 pm ET
By Mark Lane | February 2, 2020 11:51 pm ET
It isn’t often that Mattress Mack takes an L, but he took one to the tune of $1 million on Sunday evening when the Kansas City Chiefs executed a 31-20 comeback against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium.
James Franklin McIngvale, who operates the Gallery Furniture stores and goes by the furniture themed cognomen, placed a bet on the Niners to win the Super Bowl. Who knows why Mattress Mack went against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs? One would think the way the Chiefs whipped up on the Houston Texans 51-31 in the AFC divisional and the Tennessee Titans 35-24 in the AFC Championship Game that Mattress Mack would have sided Kansas City.
It isn’t the only fortune that Mattress Mack has lost in the last year. As any true Houstonian would, McIngvale bet $13 million on the Houston Astros to win the World Series against the Washington Nationals. Even though the Astros lost the series 4-3, McIngvale said he would do it again.
Of course, part of Mattress Mack’s bets are promotions for Gallery Furniture. If the 49ers would have won, then any customer who bought $3,000 or more Gallery Furniture or Tempur-Pedic mattresses would have received 50$ of their money back or 100% back in in-store credit.
That means it wasn’t just Mattress Mack betting on the Niners. If any of his customers were in the market for a new mattress and they spent thousands, and if San Francisco won, they would get a discount. If the customers were wrong, then they paid full price for their mattresses.
Nonetheless, Texans fans would love to see Mattress Mack place a bet on their NFL team in the Super Bowl someday. No Houston pro football team has won their league championship since the Oilers in 1961 when they defeated the San Diego Chargers 10-3. The Oilers would have made it a three-peat, but the Dallas Texans beat them in double overtime at Jeppesen Stadium. Those Texans turned out to be the Chiefs who beat the 49ers Sunday night.
Mattress Mack Net Worth 2019: How Much Did Jim McIngvale Lose Betting on Houston Astros?
By: Caroline John – Published: November 1, 2019 at 8:04 am
Honoree Jim McIngvale speaks onstage during the Fifth Annual UNICEF Gala Houston 2018 at The Post Oak Houston on May 4, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images for UNICEF)
*Disclaimer:The estimated net worth numbers are based on our research done on the Internet and are for entertainment purposes only. We do not guarantee the accuracy of these numbers.
Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale is one of the most reputed businessmen in Houston, and he’s willing to pour any amount of money into his hometown and customers. The “Saves you money!” entrepreneur has an estimated net worth of $300.0 million in 2019, a fortune largely intact despite incurring massive losses thanks to his tendency to place bets on major league sports. Just how did Mattress Mack build that net worth and what are his most infamous stakes, particularly on the Houston Astros? Find out about Mattress Mack’s exciting financial escapades here.
Jim McIngvale Owns Gallery Furniture
Jim McIngvale was born on February 11, 1951 in Mississippi, graduated from Bishop Lynch High School in Dallas, Texas, and attended the University of North Texas in Denton. With a knack for fast-paced sales pitches, he built the persona of Mattress Mack through his marketing skills.
He started Gallery Furniture in Houston in 1981, with $5,000 of his own and a pickup truck. Despite an investor failing to give him a loan, his business did fairly well.
However, a few months into the business, the setbacks in the oil industry negatively impacted his sales. To salvage his then-fledgling venture, McIngvale put the last of his $10,000 into local commercial spots that aired on two stations.
During the filming of the commercial, he was frustrated by the pace of things, the limited time, repeated takes. So he did a fast ad-lib, pulling out money from his pockets and declaring, “Gallery Furniture saves you money!”
That single moment made for a successful commercial that led to increased sales for Gallery Furniture, gave him his signature phrase, and turned him into Mattress Mack.
Gallery Furniture is now one of the most successful furniture retailers in the country. In the past, it has reportedly earned $150.0 million to $200.0 million in annual revenues.
He owns three stores in Houston and still manages to earn massive revenues despite his reluctance to take his business nationwide. Nonetheless, the inventory has since expanded from inexpensive furniture to more high-end lines.
McIngvale Earns and Loses Big on Sports Bets
Major league sports thrill McIngvale, who played collegiate football. And he’s a major player in the legal sports-betting-through-wagers game.
A huge Houston Astros fan, McIngvale had very high stakes in the team’s 2019 World Series run. He’s bet on the hometown team often, but this time it was big.
A post shared by FOX 26 Houston (@fox26houston) on Oct 1, 2019 at 8:12pm PDT
He put out a “Win it All” promotion this season, in which customers who purchased mattress sets totaling more than $3,000 would get their money back if the Astros won the World Series. The entire idea would be a loss of $20.0 million in refunds had the Astros won.
As the Astros were looking good to win the World Series title, Mattress Mack tried to offset the prospective loss by refunds with more bets on the Astros that escalated as the final games went on.
He bet a total of $10.9 million on the Astros in 2019. He lost an Oct. 1 bet of $3.5 million to win $7.7 million and an Oct. 3 bet of $1.5 million to win $3.3 million.
If the Astros had won the title, he’d have won $18.9 million, the largest amount ever bet on a single team. However, the Astros lost to the Washington Nationals in Game 7 and McIngvale lost the wager.
The Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort in D’Iberville, Mississippi made $6.2 million on bets from McInvgvale, including a $700,000 wager. The most notorious gambler took the loss like a sport, though he does have a little regret.
“I wish the Astros had won, because all the happy customers would tell their friends for the next 20 years about the mattress they got,” said McIngvale. “It’s all about the customers.”
But the loss doesn’t dent McIngvale’s fortune. He wagered smartly based on advice of Las Vegas gambling adviser Anthony Curtis and Steve Heston, a finance professor at the University of Maryland who daily crunched numbers to determine favorable odds as the betting lines changed.
McIngvale did a similar promotion in 2017, when the Astros won their first World Series title. He lost $13.0 million in refunds that year, but the publicity Gallery Furniture got from his gamble made up for it.
He also launched a promotion during Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014, offering refunds on purchases above $6,000 if the Seattle Seahawks won. The Seahawks did win and Gallery Furniture refunded around $7.0 million worth of purchases.
McIngvale Is a Philanthropist
Mattress Mack donates as much as he gambles for his beloved city of Houston. Most recently, he opened the showroom of Gallery Furniture to about 120 people displaced by a tropical storm, Imelda. The people were also treated to warm clothing—a Gallery Furniture sweatshirt—and food from the store’s in-house restaurant.
It wasn’t the first time he provided shelter to hurricane victims. He had first done it during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and again during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. He also donated $80,000 towards Hurricane Harvey relief.
He donated $500,000 towards cancer research in 2016 and has also given away free Super Bowl tickets and furniture to people.
Mattress Mack loses at least $11.6 million in Astros bets
HOUSTON, Texas — While many Houston Astros fans must now recover from the heartbreaking loss to the Washington Nationals that ended their race for a second World Series title in three years, they likely aren’t out the millions of dollars Jim ‘Mattress Mack’ McIngvale bet on the team.
In fact, Mattress Mack made history as he placed some huge bets on the Astros, including $3.5 million that ranked as the largest bet ever taken by a U.S. bookmaker at the DraftKings sportsbook at Scarlet Pearl casino in Biloxi, Mississippi.
McIngvale, the owner of Gallery Furniture in Houston, ran a promotion this year offering to refund purchases of mattresses costing $3,000 or more, if the Astros won the World Series. McIngvale says sales spiked when the Astros picked up starting pitcher Zack Greinke at the Major League Baseball trade deadline, and then again over Labor Day weekend, when Justin Verlander tossed a no-hitter.
In 2017, when the Astros won the franchise’s first World Series, a similar promotion cost Mattress Mack more than $13 million in refunds. Sources told ESPN that year that McIngvale went around Las Vegas, sportsbook to sportsbook, placing more than $1 million in bets on the Astros to win the World Series at around 3-2 odds. Houston defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in a thrilling seven-game series.
How much would he have had to refund?
While his potential liability on the refunds is growing by the day, estimates are that it’s north of $20 million.
What did he do to offset the liability?
McIngvale enlisted the help of two high-level gamblers from Las Vegas to find American bookmakers willing to take giant bets. With just a few days left in the regular season, and the Astros around +220 to win the World Series at most sportsbooks, "Mattress Mack" partnered with Anthony Curtis and Frank Betti, two well-known Las Vegas sharps, to scope out which places in Las Vegas and New Jersey will take the biggest bet at the best price. He hoped to get $10 million down on the Astros to win more than $20 million to help pay for mattress refunds.
On Oct. 1, he placed his $3.5 million bet on the Astros to win the World Series at the DraftKings sportsbook. At +220 odds, the wager would pay a net $7.7 million.
If the Astros had won Wednesday night, it would have become DraftKings’ biggest single bet payout ever, chief revenue officer Matt Kalish told ESPN.
On Oct. 3, McIngvale was in New Jersey to place another large wager on the Astros to win it all. He bet $1.5 million at the same +220 odds at the FanDuel Sportsbook at The Meadowlands. The wager would have won $3.3 million and is believed to be the largest legal online wager in the state’s brief sports betting history.
McIngvale also placed a $200,000 World Series bet on the Astros +250 at the South Point in Las Vegas and had additional wagers for undisclosed amounts with Nevada bookmakers Caesars, MGM, Treasure Island and Circa Sports.
On Thursday, The Action Network reported that he flew to Mississippi to place another $675,000 on the Astros to win Game 7.
How much did he bet overall?
While not even ‘Mattress Mack’ knows the exact amount he’s bet on individual games in the World Series, along with futures wagers on the Astros to win, he had at least $11.6 million in play.
What has he learned
"I normally don’t take private jets" McIngvale told ESPN. "But because of the fluidity of the situation — the Astros win the price goes down, the Astros lose the price goes up — I’ve got to be able turn on a dime and get back before the game starts. I’m dreading seeing my American Express bill with these jet charges."
Would he do this again?
"I’ve had a lot of fun doing it,"McIngvale told ESPN. "You know, I’m a marketing guy, and we’ve got millions and millions of dollars in earned media. The people of Houston understand that I’m 100% on the Astros’ side, and I’m pulling for my customers. That’s why I’m doing this."
Was he able to get down as much as he wanted?
Mattress Mack said he originally was aiming to bet around $10 million on the Astros, but as the odds shortened, the amount grew close to $14 million.
"I would say 90% of what we wanted to get down, we’ve got," he said.