Saturday, January 15, 2011

Phone Tree Time

On last night's episode of Poker after Dark on NBC, Doyle Brunson and Phil Laak were talking about prop bets. Someone had bet Doyle that he couldn't eat a quail a day for a month; someone else had a bet that involved living in DesMoines for a month; and another person had to live in a restroom for a week. The late hour might have helped me in my association, for I saw parallels to a type of performance art that uses endurance as a strategy. A most recent example would be Marina Abramovic's "The Artist Is Present,"  at MOMA.

I want to write an essay that examines the allure of prop bets and motivation for endurance art. And this is where you, the reader, comes in. Although a lot of performance art has been documented via video and art criticism, prop bets are primarily passed on by word-of-mouth.

• If you are an artist reading this and know of endurance art that I would find of interest, please send me links to documentation. If the work has not been documented online or in print, and you know the artist(s) involved, I would appreciate an introduction.

• If you are a poker player or even a degenerate craps player, and know of some outrageous prop bets that test a bettor's endurance, please tell me about the nature of the bet. But more importantly, I will need verification of the bet, preferably hearing/reading an account directly from one of the participants. I can't stress this last point enough,  as I intend this essay to be more than just a fluff piece.

Lastly, if you have an art or poker blog, please link this request. 

Please send all correspondence to ptcpatrick AT

I am indebted.

Addendum: It occurs to me that some contributors of prop bets may require anonymity. No Problem.


Anonymous said...

You should post this in twoplustwo.


The professor, the banker and the suicide king discusses assorted prop bets.

The show with Esfandiari and Unabomber was all about prop bets.

And you got Amarillo Slim and the great proposition gamblers of the past.


bastinptc said...

Aki - I thought of 2+2 but for the trolls and eleven y/os. The others are back-ups for higher-profile, documented cases. Type "endurance artist" into google and David Blaine floods the page. I'm hoping to get a few interviews. Motivation intrigues me more than the bets, for there are undoubtedly similarities between the art and wager that are not typically discussed. At least that's the idea.

Anonymous said...

pm nate

the guy who did the 5 dollars to 1000 in one week bet.

He studied philosophy.

A prop bet well done involves a hustle. David Blaine has sandwiches and doubles at hand when engaged in his endurance performances.

Kafka's hunger artist stands at the opposite end of the spectrum to a good proposition gambler.

all my best

jamyhawk said...

This was a crazy prop bet that is well documented:

bastinptc said...

jamyhawk, thanks for the link.