Matt Giannetti's Prop Bet in the Pool

The following blog post originally appeared on September 29, 2007 as part of the WPT Live Updates for the 2007 WPT Turks & Caicos event. The original post, along with two videos from the prop bet, can be found on by clicking here. I am only republishing it here because of the timeliness of Matt Giannetti's appearance in the WSOP November Nine, and the fact that the original post has lost all of its formatting and become very difficult to read.

The Prop Bet in the Pool: Would You Stand in a Pool Overnight for 12 Hours for $15,000?

Shortly after action ended last night (when the WPT final table was set with the final six players), an interesting prop bet developed out at the pool, just 20 yards from the tournament room. Expecting there to be little action in the side games, Matt Giannetti (online name: "hazards21") agreed to spend 12 straight hours in the deep end of the Club Med pool for $15,000.

Here were the basic terms:

Clause 1. He couldn't leave the deep end for any reason or come within 5 feet of the side of the pool -- clear and obvious boundary markers were agreed upon. There was no need to tread water, because Giannetti is tall enough to comfortably stand with the water coming to just below his underarms. (The deep end isn't that deep.)

Clause 2. Whatever clothes he wore into the pool, he had to continue wearing the entire time; he couldn't add or remove any clothing. Also, he couldn't remove his shirt and drape it over his head; he had to wear it the same way he was wearing it when he went in the pool.

Clause 3. He was allowed food, water, and sunscreen, which someone would deliver to him in the water.

Clause 4. He was only allowed to ask how much time he had left 12 times.

Clause 5. He went into the water at 12:00 midnight last night, and had to stay in the water until 12:00 noon today.

There may have been a few more clauses that I'm not aware of, but those are the basics. Giannetti wore a t-shirt and swim trunks -- no hat, and no shoes.

Who was in on this bet? Giannetti had $15,000 on the line against David Williams, Lee Markholt, and one other player (I don't know who).

But that's just the main bet. There was far more side action among other gamblers, including Nenad Medic, Mike "timex" McDonald, WPT Final Tablist Erik Cajelais (they bet Giannetti would make it), and Isaac "westmenloAA" Baron (who bet against him).

McDonald stayed out by the pool for the duration of the bet, watching over his investment and delivering snacks, water, and sunscreen. (Giannetti requested warm water to keep his body temperature up, and spent much of his time pacing around to keep his blood flowing and avoid muscle cramps.)

Giannetti was in great spirits last night around 2:00 am, and there were still crowds of people gathered debating the prop bet. Some said it would be easy, while others were convinced that the water would lower his body temperature to the point of hypothermia. A few people thought he'd simply fall victim to boredom and exhaustion. Only a couple of people stuck around with him for the entire night.

At 10:30 am, he was still going strong, although Lee Markholt was in the water with him, jokingly splashing water on him while Giannetti cried "Foul! Foul!" Giannetti had a rough early morning (when he said it was the coldest), but he appeared to be in good health and had a clear mind -- victory was a foregone conclusion. Giannetti said he was offered a buyout in the morning, but the amount was so low (in the range of $4,000 or $5,000) and he had gone so far that he didn't even consider it.

Around 11:45 am, a large crowd gathered to witness the home stretch. Nenad Medic laughed as he pointed out that only those who had sided with Giannetti in the bet (minutes from victory) were present -- those who would have to pay up were nowhere to be found.

The figurative clock struck twelve with little fanfare, because there was no official timekeeper. To be on the safe side, Giannetti stayed in the water until every person present showed their watches past noon. (One person's watch was about 2-3 minutes slower than the others, but Giannetti waited it out.)

When it was clear that 12:00 noon was behind him, one of the Club Med employees got on the loudspeaker to do a ten-second countdown, and the crowd chanted along. "Five … four … three … two … one!" The loudspeaker immediately kicked into Queen's "We Are the Champions" as Giannetti climbed out of the pool, victorious. The first words out of his mouth -- "Could somebody please get me a towel?"

Giannetti sat back on a lounge chair while a girl carefully dried him off, taking extra care with his especially wrinkly feet, which looked so rough that several people took photos. (There was no comment about the degree to which he experienced Costanza-like "shrinkage.") Isaac Baron showed up a few minutes later, unaware of the time. When he learned that Giannetti made it, he immediately went back to his room for cash to pay off his piece of the action.

So that's the Prop Bet in the Pool. Photos and a winner's interview with the WPT's Kimberly Lansing will be posted soon. (To see Kimberly's post-pool interview with Matt Giannetti, click here.)