Some Houston Astros fans lost more than others in the 2019 baseball World Series.
All of them had to endure the disappointment of losing a World Series in which the Astros were the heavy favourites and had two chances to put the Washington Nationals away.
A few had money or other bets riding on the result. But none were in the hole quite like a certain mattress salesman.
Jim McIngvale, the 68-year-old owner of a Houston-area furniture chain now widely known as “Mattress Mack,” saw nearly £10 million in bets on the Astros to win the World Series turn to dust on Wednesday.
Video surfaced on social media on Thursday showing McIngale looking very downcast as the Nationals closed in on victory:
Esta es la cara de un hombre que está a tres outs de perder más de 13 millones que apostó por los Astros, en el Juego 7 de anoche.— Agustín Díaz (@agustindiazg) October 31, 2019
Se trata de Jim McIngvale, de 68 años, magnate de la industria mueblera de Houston. Sus apuestas le hubiesen hecho ganar más de 25 millones. pic.twitter.com/yLM6niybLR
How much money did Mattress Mack lose on the Astros?
By The Action Network’s count, McIngvale had placed $US11,961,000, roughly £9m, on the Astros at different times throughout October in three different states, with his profits totalling $19,641,391, over £15m, if the Astros took the trophy home.
A similar, but much smaller, series of bets paid off for Mack in 2017.
And yet, with sportsbooks officially gobbling up millions from his bank account, McIngvale told Darren Rovell of The Action Network he didn’t mind the gambling loss at all.
“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 said after the Astros’ loss.
Of course, there is a good reason for McIngvale to be fine with the result. A win could have cost him even more.
Why Mattress Mack made all those bets
As it turns out, “Mattress Mack” doesn’t just make bets with sportsbooks. He makes them with customers as well.
In the spirit of supporting the home team, McIngvale presented an interesting offer at all his stores.
If the Astros win the World Series, all purchases of more than $3,000 (£2,200) at his stores during the season are refunded.
McIngvale’s bets are actually a hedge against what he says were £15.3m in liabilities if the Astros had won it. There might be better ways of avoiding losing millions of dollars, but you have to admit, very few are this fun.
“I feel like I hedged perfectly,” McIngvale said to The Action Network.
“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.”
We’ll see if McIngvale is as confident in the Astros next season. Something tells us he will be.