Death and taxes aren’t as sure a bet as Jim McIngvale crisscrossing the country early each fall to lay down huge bets on the Houston Astros to win the World Series. And why wouldn’t he? The Texas businessman known as “Mattress Mack” has the rare advantage of winning even when he loses.
It’s made him a legendary bettor each fall and brought his business the sort of publicity that money can’t buy.
Jim McIngvale runs a high-volume furniture business
Every successful businessman has some sort of schtick or gimmick that keeps customers coming through the door. Jim McIngvale has made his fortune selling furniture in the Houston area, sacrificing some profit margin for high volume at his three stores.
Maybe the best thing he’s had going in recent years has been a promotion in which he rebates the purchase price to big-spending customers if the Houston Astros win the World Series. The idea of potentially winning a new bedroom set from Mattress Matt is highly enticing to local homeowners.
With Houston having advanced to the postseason five of the past six seasons, the promotion earns massive publicity even when the Astros don’t capture Major League Baseball’s ultimate prize. Beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017 earned McIngvale’s Gallery Furniture chain perhaps 200 times more in publicity than what he paid out for a simple reason: He literally hedged his bet.
It’s showtime once again for ‘Mattress Mack’
They may not have had much of a regular season, but the Houston Astros clawed their way into the American League playoffs as the No. 6 seed despite a 29-31 record. Michael Brantley (.300) was the only regular to hit for much of an average, but George Springer smacked 14 home runs, and pitchers Cristian Javier and Framber Valdez led a rotation with a penchant for keeping opponents off the basepaths.
Qualifying for the playoffs meant that furniture giant Jim McIngvale had some running around to do. McIngvale told The Action Network that his customers stand to make $6 million in rebates if the Astros go on to win the World Series for the second time in four years.
McIngvale’s strategy is simple: He lays down some sizeable bets on the Astros at favorable odds to cover his liability. If the Astros don’t win, he’s out that money. If they win the World Series, however, customers who’ve purchased furniture from “Mattress Mack” in essence get their money back from the legal bookmakers.
The pandemic drove down sales substantially in the spring, so McIngvale raised the stakes by offering customers double their money back on purchases of $3,000 or more. Still, he has far less in potential liabilities than the $20 million or so he was on the hook for in 2019. He said his losing bets amounted to about $13 million. However, winning would have reaped him $25 million.
The Houston Astros have Jim McIngvale off to a good start
Last week, Jim McIngvale wagered $10,000 in Las Vegas on the Houston Astros to win the World Series at 30-1 odds, then flew to a Mississippi casino to pluck down $250,000 at 24-1 odds. After taxes, those bets would cover most of the $6 million he is on the hook for should the Astros win the World Series.
Perhaps feeling lucky – and being sharp enough to notice that the Minnesota Twins entered the playoffs with a seemingly impossible 16 straight postseason losses dating to 2004 — “Mattress Mack” threw in a sweetener. He made a $250,000 bet on the Astros to win the opener in the wildcard series, which netted him a $375,000 profit.
That means he’s playing with house money if McIngvale wants to make a side wager on Houston’s Divisional Series matchup with the Oakland A’s.
“It’s a weird year for everything,” McIngvale told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “They’ve got as good a chance as anybody. It’s playoff baseball. It’s who gets hot.”