Houston furniture mogul Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale had a lot riding on Game 7 of the World Series, whether his beloved Astros won or lost.
They did end up losing 6-2 to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday and McIngvale says he lost about $13 million that he bet on the Astros to win it all.
Despite the huge amount involved, McIngvale told CNN that he’s not a big gambler – the mega bets were more of an insurance policy.
He had promised to give customers who spent more than $3,000 on certain mattress purchases a full refund if the Astros won the World Series.
McIngvale said that if the Astros had won, his winnings would have covered the cost of his customers’ free mattresses.
“I didn’t break even. My heart is broken, because I’m an Astros [fan]. I don’t bet with my wallet, I bet with my heart and the city’s heart is broken,” he said.
The promotion was a huge success and McIngvale said thousands of customers would have gotten free mattresses if the Astros won.
McIngvale is famous in the Houston area for his television commercials and his generosity. He turned his stores into shelters for people displaced by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and by flooding from Tropical Storm Imelda in September.
He bet $5 million at the beginning of the playoffs and placed more large bets at casinos around the country as the Astros made their run.
McIngvale made a total of $6.2 million in bets at the Scarlet Pearl Casino in Mississippi – including $700,000 before Wednesday’s game.
“He’s an unbelievable philanthropic person, he’s just a decent human being,” Scarlet Pearl CEO LuAnn Pappas told CNN. She said she didn’t know McIngvale before he came to make the bets, but she was almost rooting for him.
“When you’re in the gambling business, you’re thinking with your head, but in this case our heart came into play because he’s such a wonderful human being and a humanitarian,” Pappas said.
McIngvale said he loves the Astros and is proud of how the team has brought Houston together.
“It was a great season for the Astros and somebody asked me if I would do it again tomorrow and the answer is: in a New York minute,” he said.
This isn’t the first time he’s run this promotion. CNN affiliate KTRK reports that he refunded $10 million to customers in 2017 when his team won it all.
McIngvale said the attention he’s gotten from the bets has been great advertising for his stores.
“I’m just a huckster, I’m a promoter, I wake up every day with a new idea,” he said. “God knows what I’m going to do next, but it’s going to be fun for the customers, that’s the whole idea.”