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‘Mattress Mack’ loses more than $13M on Astros in World Series

Updated October 31, 2019 - 12:07 pm

Mattress Mack didn’t get the Hollywood ending he wanted where he’d throw a party to refund $20 million to his customers after winning $25 million in wagers on the Houston Astros to win the World Series.

But Houston furniture store owner Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale still came out fine financially when the Astros lost to the Washington Nationals in Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday night.

At the end of a month-long odyssey in which he criss-crossed the country in private jets to place $1 million bets at sportsbooks in Las Vegas, New Jersey and Mississippi, he lost more than $13 million on Houston to win the World Series.

But he avoided a $20 million loss on a season-long promotion at his Gallery Furniture stores that offered a refund on any mattress-set purchase of at least $3,000 if the Astros won the World Series. And he garnered millions of dollars more in free publicity.

Not that any of that seemed to matter to McIngvale the morning after his beloved Astros squandered an early 2-0 lead over the Nationals in a 6-2 loss.

“It was a hedge bet. Either way, we were going to be fine. But my heart is broken because I bet with my heart, not my wallet,” he said. “The entire season I was pulling for the Astros and all my customers were pulling for the Astros. I wish I could’ve gave the money back but they fell a little short.

“The entire city is disappointed but what a great team. They won 106 games. All you can do is be proud of them and move forward. They’re the favorites for 2020. There’s more to come. We will live to play another day.”

McIngvale, 68, lost more than $1.2 million in wagers on Houston in Game 7, including a $700,000 wager at DraftKings sportsbook at the Scarlet Pearl Casino in Biloxi, Miss., which kicked off his high-stakes betting binge by taking a $3.5 million futures bet on the Astros on Oct. 1.

“It surprised me that I got the biggest action at the Scarlet Pearl Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi,” McIngvale said. “They’ve got a lot of gamble in them.”

McIngvale wanted to get down $2 million in bets on the Astros in Game 7 but couldn’t find any more takers.

“Some places weren’t willing to take bigger risks but that’s their business,” he said.

McIngvale placed a $1 million wager at William Hill in Las Vegas along the way and also made multiple bets at Circa Sports, MGM Resorts and the South Point, among others.

He placed the hedge bets with the help of sharp Las Vegas bettors Anthony Curtis and Frank Betti.

“Most will assume it was a bad result, but it wasn’t,” said Curtis (LasVegasAdvisor.com). “Mack’s unhappy because he wanted the Astros to win, not because of liability.”

A humanitarian and philanthropist, McIngvale took 30 Sunshine Kids — a nonprofit dedicated to children with cancer — to Game 7. He said they reminded him of what was truly important.

“I had these Sunshine Kids in my suite and this little girl is 8 years old and all of her hair was falling out. I greeted her,” he said. “When I went back in the fifth inning she was sitting in the suite with a blanket wrapped around her because it was chilly.

“I was thinking this Astros baseball game ain’t a big deal. Life’s a big deal. It put it all in perspective.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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