It went all the way to Game 7 of the World Series, and Coast residents who aren’t even fans of the Houston Astros or the Washington Nationals tuned in to the final baseball game.
They watched not so much to see which team won, but to find out if Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale would win or lose millions.
The Mississippi native and owner of a chain of Gallery Furniture stores in the Houston area had a lot riding on this game — at least $11.9 million according to the tally of Darren Rovell with The Action Network. He’s been tracking all of McIngvale’s bets placed in Mississippi, New Jersey and Las Vegas.
If the Astros won, McIngvale, 68, would have cashed in on about $20 million.
But the Nationals pulled out a dramatic win, with two runs in the ninth inning pushing Washington to 6-2.
McIngvale doesn’t owe his customers millions in rebates for mattresses, but he’s out $11.9 million in bets.
At around 1 p.m. Wednesday — just 6 hours before the start of the game — Rovell tweeted a photo of McIngvale and his airplane.
“We’ve landed in Biloxi, Mississippi,” Rovell said. “Mattress Mack has wired $675,000 to bet Astros tonight.” It actually turned out to be another $700,000 he wagered at Scarlet Pearl Casino in D’Iberville, which also had a fortune riding on the game.
The drama started Oct. 1 when “Mattress Mack” showed up at the DraftKings at Scarlet Pearl Sportsbook with his orange Astros’ jersey and a briefcase stuffed with money. He placed a $3.5 million wager on his team to win the World Series and stayed for dinner with the owners.
From there, ”This story has taken on a life of its own and it won’t die,” said Scarlet Pearl CEO LuAnn Pappas. The story went viral and McIngvale kept fueling interest by flying across the country and placing more bets on the game.
“He is a master of PR,” Pappas said.
He also is daring, returning to Scarlet Pearl three more times, adding $1 million, $1 million and $700,000 to his wager, for a total of $6.25 million.
That’s would have been a payout of more than $10 million plus his original bets.
Scarlet Pearl Casino is owned by a family, not a Vegas casino corporation, and the owners would have to share the payout with DraftKings, which operates the sportsbook at Scarlet Pearl.
McIngvale also made a side trip on one of those trips to Biloxi to nearby Beau Rivage Resort & Casino to place a $600,000 bet.
After the game he told Rovell he’d like to thank the Beau Rivage for not taking another $500,000 bet while he was in Mississippi earlier that day.
While the world now knows about “Mattress Mack” for his record bets, Rovell said the man he’s been writing about is a hometown hero, known in Houston for his philanthropy.
“Mack is hosting 30 kids with cancer and their parents tonight for Game 7,” Rovell reported. “He did the same for World Series Game 1, buying tickets for 110 veterans.”
At the Scarlet Pearl during the final game, they were cheering for the Nationals to win the game. But Pappas said they got to know McIngvale during his four trips to Mississippi and she asks, “How can you not root for this guy?”
He won’t be returning to Mississippi with his winning ticket, but McIngvale knows who will take his record bet next year if his Houston Astros make it back to the World Series.