The Phil Hellmuth Hosted Prop Bet TV Show That Never Aired

Houston Curtis, author of Billion Dollar Hollywood Heist, has written an article for CardPlayer.com detailing a prop bet TV show that never made it to air. The production starred Phil Hellmuth as the host officiating over a whole roster of high-profile names from the world of poker.

By: Mark Patrickson

Curtis reminisced about a prop bet between Russ Hamilton, former WSOP Main Event winner and superuser cheater, and a guy called Kasey Thompson.

Hamilton was a weaker golfer but took a million dollar bet that he could win over a single round. Thompson accepted and was suckered into another bet the day before to climb a rough looking tree in less than five minutes for $10,000.

The bet was won but Thompson’s hands were a mess from the climb. Thus, the next day he could barely play golf and Hamilton collected $1 million.

Germ of an Idea

This was Curtis’s inspiration for a TV show to show the ridiculous kind of things pro poker players will bet on.

After selling the idea to some execs he was commissioned to produce a presentation with multiple pros on the show with Phil Hellmuth hosting. Sounds like a great idea, and poker fans would have loved it.

“...basketball wagers, mini golf, some eight ball and other fun bets. Hollywood Dave Stann bet professional gambler Brian Zembic, (the man who got breast implants for $100,000 and then decided to keep them) on who could borrow a stranger’s cell phone and use it the longest. Mike the Mouth and Gavin Smith were betting on who could hit tennis balls over a house and make them land near the basketball court on the other side.”

Bad Timing

Unfortunately, the timing could not have been any worse for Curtis. While he might have thanked Russ Hamilton for seeding the idea, he was probably also cursing him.

While the execs were deciding what to do, Hamilton’s superuser scandal story appeared on 60 Minutes leaving TV companies not wanting anything to do with gambling.

This was a massive shame, because the format would have been popular. You only have to look back at how much publicity Mike McDonald received for his insane basketball bet. He might have made it look easy in the end but the majority thought he was mad at the start.

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