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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Ted Forrest – King of the Props

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Some poker players are strictly against all other forms of gambling. Ted Forrest is not one of those poker players. If you were to look in the dictionary next to the words “propositional bet,” there would be a picture of Forrest himself, and if there isn’t, it would be my guess that Forrest would bet Mr. Webster himself that it could be by the end of the year. Don’t get me wrong, Forrest doesn’t just bet on anything, he bets on anything he believes he is the odds on favorite to win. There is a difference, and Forrest has made millions exploiting these odds against willing competitors.

Ted Forrest was born in Syracuse, New York in 1964. While it’s true that the majority of poker players have a very early childhood memory of poker, Forrest didn’t become interested in the game until he was in his mid to late teens. That doesn’t mean his childhood wasn’t filled with some interesting stories involving gambling. One of the more exhilarating stories comes when Forrest was just about to turn 16, and with the blessing of his parents, was allowed to travel across country to the Grand Canyon, by bus, by himself. Forrest has said he enjoys spending time alone occasionally, and out there 2,500 miles away from his home, he was the epitome of alone. Because he was an unaccompanied minor, Forrest was forced to hide from park rangers at the Grand Canyon, so he often chose places to camp where others weren’t around so he wouldn’t be spotted. This also meant staying in dangerous areas where if something were to happen to him nobody would be able to get to him because they wouldn’t know where he was. It’s true that this part of the story seems like more than enough of an adventure to spend your 16th birthday, but the story was just starting.

After completing his time at the Grand Canyon, including hiking on a very difficult rated trail after being spotted by park rangers, he finally got to a bus station ready to head back home. On what should have been the easy part of his trip, he was asked by his parents to stop by and see his two aunts who lived in St. Louis. Surely Forrest could use some family love after his ordeal.

Forrest arrived in St. Louis and asked a nice enough looking man how to get to the address he had listed for his aunts. The man told Forrest to follow him and before Forrest knew it he was in a very bad neighborhood. The man asked Forrest to go into one of the houses, which ended up being a crackhouse. The man then held Forrest at knifepoint, robbing him of his one 20 dollar bill and 400 dollars worth of cashier checks that would be virtually impossible for the man to cash. Forrest then fled and ran back to the bus station.

Forrest was in great physical condition at the time, being a star in just about every sport his school had to offer. He figured that the man who robbed him would soon enough come back and then he would be able to rough him up a little bit. Luckily though, Forrest spotted a policeman and gave a description of the guy and the cop quickly told young Forrest that the man who robbed him had a laundry list of warrants, including one for murder.

Shortly after Forrest returned home was around the same time his passion for poker arrived. Forrest would spend his years waiting to be legally old enough to enter a casino by going to underground casinos and trying to work on his fake ID. He also spent countless hours with a deck of cards in his hands going over thousands of different situations. It’s been said that Forrest is a numbers guy, and nobody may know the numbers more than him.

In 1986 his relationship with the word “prop” began. However, this prop was as a prop player at a casino. A prop player is someone who is used by the poker room to either start a new game up, or keep a game going. They generally play with their own money, but are given some house perks such as free food and rooms. One night he sat down at a stud game with 100 dollars, and before long he was down to 33. Right then Forrest started to wonder if he had made the right career choice. He was then moved to a Hold’em game, and just like that he was up to over 160 dollars, and just as soon as he was about to quit, he decided he would stick with the game.

Forrest would also become a part-time dealer as well. Forrest made the most out of this time, often saying that in just a short time he was alarmed at the rate he would be able to predict the players hole cards. Forrest might have been making minimum wage as a card dealer, but the lessons he was learning in the box would be partly responsibly for the millions he has earned at the table since then.

Forrest would leave the casino for home for a brief period to go to college, but just a year before graduating his father passed away, and Forrest never returned to school, and for the better part of his life since then has made a poker table his classroom.

Forrest has been called one of the best stud players in the world, and that’s where he initially made his mark on the poker world. Before the internet poker boom and Moneymaker effect, stud was one of the premier games so it only made sense for Forrest to take a liking to the game where the most money at the time was to be won.

Between 1991 and 1993 Forrest finished at the final table in15 mid-level tournament buy-ins, with a majority of them being in a variation of stud. Of the 15 final tables, three of them were first place victories ranging between $20,000-30,000. In what can only be attributed to his desire to learn, Forrest had made a name for himself as one of the better poker players in a very short period of time. Going from AAA to the major leagues, Forrest was ready to try his luck at the World Series of Poker.

Luck might not be the right word, as Forrest showed amazing skill at the 1993 WSOP. Forrest made 11 final tables in the 1993 WSOP, including three victories. His wins came in the $1,500 Seven-Card Razz, $1,500 Omaha 8 or Better, and the $5,000 Seven-Card Stud event. Combined, Forrest earned over $200,000 of prizes in just these three victories, and nearly half a million alone at the 1993 WSOP. Forrest’s success for a single year at the WSOP has never been matched, and some say it never will. Forrest more or less decided to concentrate on his cash game after this tournament success, not returning with any sense of regularity to the WSOP until the 2004 WSOP, where prizes were becoming inflated and very hard to ignore.

Ted Forrest is a staple at any large cash game around the world, including the “Big Game,” at Bobby’s room in the Bellagio, where games routinely go up to 4000/8000. Forrest also was a main character in the non-fiction book The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King by Michael Craig. The book revolves around Texas billionaire Andy Beal and his desire to play the best poker players in the world at the highest stakes in the world.

It was Beal’s attempt to see if there was a stake high enough to make even professional poker players get nervous about losing their money. The deal was Beal would play them heads up, and the limits could change at any time just as the opponents could change at any time. The blinds Beal decided on made the “Big Game” seem like small change.

The stakes started at 20K/40K and would routinely get as high as 100k/200k. To play one hand would end up costing Forrest as much money as he won for winning entire tournaments early in his career. After over a year of playing, the group would end up taking Beal for around 40 million, which was really not that much considering the stakes they were playing.

As mentioned earlier in this piece, Forrest has made a name for himself when it comes to some of the propositional bets he has made. The list of those could make a short novel, but some of his more notable ones are as followed:

He was once bet $7,000 dollars that he couldn’t run a marathon. He accepted the challenge, but unknowingly to him the challenge fell on the hottest day of the year in Vegas, approaching close to 115 degrees. Forrest would complete the challenge, but not until after having the soles of his feet stick to the shoes that were literally melting with each step he took. Forrest won the 7k, but ended up in the hospital for a day due to dehydration and medical attention on his feet.

Forrest was bet by fellow poker players that he couldn’t do a standing back flip. Forrest completed this task in the middle of the poker room, and collected $10,000. That sounds a whole lot easier than the marathon challenge.

Last year at the WSOP, Forrest bet Mike “The Mouth” Matusow that he couldn’t weigh less than 180 pounds for this year’s event. Matusow weighed in last week at 179 pounds, netting him a $100,000.

One of the more famous bets was that he couldn’t drink 10 beers in 30 minutes. He somehow downed the suds and took home $10,000.

Some other interesting gambling stories revolving Forrest is that he and Barry Greenstein once played a game of Chinese Poker lasting an entire month where Forrest would eventually relieve his adversary of 1.5 million dollars. While this appears a big score, it’s been said that Forrest has both lost and won a million dollars at a time playing craps, so it’s all just part of the variance with him.
It’s reported that Forrest has a bet with Howard Lederer that will give Forrest 30:1 on his money if he can cash nine times at the 2008 WSOP. When Lederer was asked what he thought the true odds of cashing nine times were, he responded they are about 300:1.

On a sad note, Forrest had his first three bracelets stolen from him, but has since picked up one that doesn’t belong to him. It’s reported that 1992 WSOP Main Event Winner Dastmalchi was complaining one night that the bracelet wasn’t worth $5,000 dollars like it was reported to be, and he guessed it was worth $1,500, tops. Almost before the sentence was out of Dastmalchi’s mouth, Forrest had thrown three $500 chips his direction, yelling “sold.”

Speaking of Dastmalchi, it is reported that the Guinness Book of World Records has the longest poker game lasting 75 hours by the Scottish Bridge Club. Forrest has played a session with Dastmalchi lasting over 100 hours straight, and has said he knows he’s played at least a handful of times over 75 hours. In fact, the 75 hour claim being the longest is frowned on by most poker players, as many of the pros can remember times sitting at a table non-stop for over three days. Maybe the Guinness Book of World Records should take a trip to Las Vegas sometime.

Forrest returned to the tournament circuit with a bang in 2004, winning two events at that years WSOP, the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event for $111,400, and the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event for over $300,000. In March 2006 he won the National Heads-Up Championship for $500,000 and he has also final tabled five World Poker Tour events, including winning the Bay 101 Shooting Stars Tournament. In that match he played a marathon head-up session with J.J. Liu that lasted two and a half hours, the longest in WPT history. The wait was worth it, as Forrest took home 1.2 million dollars, his biggest poker win to date.

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