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Nov 25, 2016

How Poker’s Tom Hall Won a $1m Weight Loss Prop Bet

By RTR Dennis

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Tom Hall has become a well-known poker pro since he’s one of the original participants in Macau’s “Big Game.” He’s also a co-founder in AsianLogic, one of the biggest gaming companies in Asia.

Hall recently increased his poker fame a little bit more by winning a $1 million weight-loss prop bet. He put up US$100,000 and got 10-1 odds on his ability to drop from 115kg (253 lbs) to 103kg (227 lbs). Other stipulations of the bet called on him to avoid buying luxury items throughout the duration of the wager.

Perhaps this wasn’t the most-difficult prop bet in the world, especially since there was no time limit on Hall losing the weight. But the stipulations, Hall’s reasoning behind losing the weight, and how he did it make this an interesting wager. That said, let’s discuss all of the aspects of his weight-loss prop bet.

What Motivated Hall to Make This Bet?

In a lengthy Facebook post, Hall discussed his motivations behind going for this wager. Here’s a look at four things that made him want to drop the weight:

  1. Hall thought that he “resembled a pregnant man” when he was lying on his side.
  2. He felt that he had a strong core not because he was working out, but because he worked so hard to hold his stomach in.
  3. Hall got out of breath whenever he’d go up a set of stairs.
  4. He could only fit into XXL US-sized t-shirts (XXXL Asian-sized).
  5. He went on tour with the Valley Rugby team and wore a t-shirt poolside because he was so embarrassed by his “multiple spare tyres.”

Weight Loss Bet Stipulations

Hall was given a contract that he had to follow regarding the bet. Aside from losing 12kg, here are some of the other main points that he had to follow to win the bet:

  1. Cannot buy “wine, spirits, watches, artwork, motor vehicles, or luxury goods of any kind.”
  2. Cannot buy any “electronics or gadgets of any kind costing more than US$100 individually.”
  3. May not deviate from an average lifestyle. For example, it’s acceptable to stay with friends and family on a holiday, but not “move into a health spa for a month.”

Other stipulations revolved around Hall not using friends or family to get him any of the luxury items that are nixed in the bet contract.

What Were Hall’s Keys to Losing the Weight?

According to Hall, there were several aspects that helped him lose over 12kg in less than two months. The first was using MyFitnessPal, which made dieting and exercising feel like a fun game/challenge. Hall lauded how MyFitnessPal lets you enter your starting and target weight to get an idea on how many calories you can eat to reach your target.

Another practice that Hall followed was eating sensibly, rather than opting for fad diets that don’t produce long-term results. He’s tried juicing and special diets, but to no avail.
He instead advocates “cutting out all the excess sugar, stopping snacking, cutting out all bread and minimizing pasta, and significantly reducing the amount of alcohol [he drinks].”

Another tip from Hall is to get a gym membership and trainer so that you are pushed harder. Given that we all have off-days, it’s nice having the trainer there to keep you from slacking off.

Hall also uses a varied form of intermittent fasting, where he only eats solid food within an 8-hour window every day. Intermittent fasting helps your body use fat for fuel over carbs and protein. To keep himself from wanting to eat in the morning, Hall would drink coffee for its appetite-suppression effect.

One more tip from Hall is to prevent boredom during workouts. For him, this involves listening to the Joe Rogan podcast to get him through long walks, runs, and swims. He also uses a waterproof Apple iPod for tracking the calories that he burns.

What’s Next for Hall?

Hall won’t be taking any breaks from prop betting in the near future. He already has another US$100,000 bet lined up at even money, with all proceeds going to charity. The goal of the bet is to work his way down to 98kg (216 lbs) by the end of January 2017.

Hall hasn’t been below 100kg for 18 years, so it would be great if he can achieve his goal. But win or lose, he’s definitely made out on these weight-loss bets thanks to his $1 million win.