Where did you go Mike Matusow? Walking around the Amazon Room Thursday, he appeared to be a really thin shell of his former self. There was no screaming. There was no attacking of lovable man-sized peanut characters. There were no fumes rising from the ears. There was only a cool, calm, collected, slim, focused man in his place who seems ready to kick ass at this year’s World Series of Poker.  

One year ago, Matusow and Ted Forrest made a monumental wager. With “The Mouth” weighing in at a robust 241lbs, they bet on whether Matusow could lose a whopping 60 lbs over one year’s time. The conditions stated he had to weigh in at midnight on Wednesday, June 3rd. He did.

“The weigh in was at 12:01 this morning” Matusow said. “I weighed in at 179lbs and I won the bet. I was 241lbs a year ago today and had to be at 181lbs today.” Asked how much he weighed on January 1st, he smiled and said “235.” 

“The hard push really started the last eight or nine days and it seemed that no matter how hard I ran, nothing fell off. I started running eight miles a day instead of four, only lost 2-3 pounds. The last four days I went on the lemonade diet lemonade, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. I didn’t eat for 98 hours straight and that and running eight miles the first day, eight miles the second day and four on the third…I couldn’t run after that, my body was dead. Pretty much the toughest day was yesterday, I had to not eat or drink to dehydrate myself but I made it. I don’t want to ever do it again.”

This is hardly the first time Forrest has made headlines with his prop betting. Forrest is known to have engaged in each of the following wagers:
  • He won a $10,000 bet that he could do a standing back fli
  • He won a bet against John Hennigan in which he had to drink 10 beers in 30 minutes.
  • He lost a bet with David Oppenheim that he could do 50 - 225lb. bench presses in a single day, tearing a tendon midway through .
  • He bet high stakes backgammon professional Mike Svobodny that he could run a marathon on the hottest day of the year in Vegas, winning $7,000. 
  • He bet Hennigan $10,000 that Huck Seed's brother Leif could not run to L.A. from Las Vegas while only sleeping twice. He lost when Leif injured his Achilles' tendon midway.
  • He won a $30,000 bet with Howard Lederer over a tennis match in which Lederer was given the doubles alley in order to handicap Forrest.   

Forrest has confirmed Matusow’s victory and the payments been settled. The two aren’t done with the weight bets yet. “We’re working on another bet,” said Matusow. “If I weigh in over 185lbs on the first of the month on any month I’ll have to pay $10,000. I’ll never be heavy again. I let myself go because I was just laying on my bed eating pizzas every day so, when you play internet poker you can get fat quick. I know now that I’ll always run every day. I love running. Instead of forty minutes twice a day I’ll just run 30 minutes once a day, but I’ll keep doing it.”

The WSOP seems to bring out the biggest and best in proposition betting. This year, Phil Ivey is rumored to have bet as much as $2,000,000 on himself winning a bracelet at odds ranging from 1.8-1 to 2.3-1. his biggest bet was for $500,000 against Eli Elezra, who made over $750,000 a year ago by betting assorted professionals they couldn’t win a bracelet. Ivey was one of them.

Now healthy, now fit, Matusow is ready for a stellar WSOP. “It’s going to be a good World Series for me, you’ll see.” Now in better shape to handle the grind of a tournament, only two big issues stand in the way of his success here; 1) Will his body, weakened by crash dieting, be able to withstand the wear of the WSOP and 2) Whether now, with $100,000 in his pocket, a man who has generally thrived on the desperation poverty provides can find the competitive streak needed to triumph here. Time will tell.

Gary Wise is covering the WSOP all summer for WorldSeriesofPoker.com, espn.com/poker and in his blog at www.wisehandpoker.net.