Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets Sports Betting

Poker Pro Brian Rast Wins $600K In Biking Prop Bet

Card Player Speaks To Rast Shortly Before Starting Trek


High-stakes poker player Brian Rast has joined the short list of gamblers who have completed the Las Vegas-to-Los Angeles bike ride in under 48 hours.

Rast, who followed Dan Bilzerian’s nearly $1 million ride, successfully completed the roughly 300-mile ride on Thursday, with just one hour to spare. Rast received $600,000 in total from Bilzerian and fellow high-stakes gambler Bill Perkins for winning the bet. The latter two gave Rast 6:1 odds because Rast had less than a week to train.

“If that was any more difficult, I don’t think I could have completed the task,” Rast said on social media. “I pushed myself to the absolute limit.” He added a thank you to “all the people that supported me during my ride.”

“I will probably post more about my experience another time. Now I try to go back to sleep,” he wrote early Thursday.

His feat of course caught the attention of many in the poker community. “What he accomplished trumps what any other player has done physically,” said Antonio Esfandiari. Rast is “a legend in my eyes and this accomplishment will go down in history as one of the greatest.”

Unlike Bilzerian, Rast was explicitly prohibited from drafting behind a vehicle.

Card Player had the chance to speak to Rast on Monday just hours before he hit the road.

Brian Pempus: How did you decide to do this bet?

Brian Rast: Dan came over to my house just to hang out and have some BBQ. Dan was really trying to push this bet. There’s a little more to the back-story than that, but basically I needed a bet where I could choose the route…[a previous] bet was going to be down the Pacific Coast Highway in California with the wind at my back. I was going to be able to use recumbent bikes and everything. I think Dan’s motivation was that this bet was going to vindicate him somehow [from the previous bet he bought out of], that this was going to be tougher. I could have maybe done a better job with some of the stipulations. I wish I could use a recumbent bike. It’s hard when where you are getting 6:1 to argue too much for stipulations. As of right now, there is a lot of wind in a bad direction for me.

BP: Did the fact that Dan was able to complete his Las Vegas-to-LA ride in about 33 hours give you confidence that you could do this within the 48?

BR: I definitely think that it’s possible. It’s going to be really tough. I am going a slightly longer route than Dan because I want to spend as little time on the highway as possible for safety reasons. I will have a little less of a climb than him, but it’s going to be about 30 more miles. I will also have a leaner crew than him. I am not going to have a doctor and a masseuse. I am going to have some family and friends and one bike person. I also didn’t get to train for five weeks [laughs]. I have basically trained for three days. This is going to be really tough. I think in Dan’s bet it was pretty clear he was going to win it unless he got in an accident. Dan was a big favorite, but I don’t think any of us really have an idea if I can do what I am about to do. I am optimist, but Dan’s [bike] coach said that he didn’t think I could do it, given that I am probably going to be facing a headwind and I have no training. But that is one man’s opinion. This isn’t an even-money bet, though, so it’s not supposed to be easy.

Via Dan FleyshmanBP: Is this the most challenging prop bet you’ve ever agreed to do?

BR: Yeah, this is. It’s going to be very interesting. We are going to be leaving later today. It’s one of those things where you have to put your head down and trust in your team. I need to stay consistent and turn out miles, eat regularly and hydrate. There are going to be times when I’m in a lot of pain. I never used a road bike until like a week ago.

BP: What would have to happen for you to call it quits during the ride?

BR: I guess I would have to get to a point where it’s mathematically impossible to finish. Like if I had 100 miles to go and I had four hours left. Some of the last part has a decent amount of downhill though. If I got some kind of injury from a crash where there was too much biking left to continue. There could be an overuse or strain injury. I realize that this is going to be painful, so I know I am going to suffer for 48 hours. This is one of those moments where you can see what you are made of. It might be possible that physically I can’t do this.

BP: Did your commitment to fitness years ago give you the needed confidence to agree to this though?

BR: Yeah, if I had a lower level of fitness I don’t think I would have even entertained this. So, it helps that I feel like I am in shape. This bet isn’t just aerobically taxing, like my heart rate is going to be 140 the whole time. You’d have to be a world-class athlete to do that. If I go 10 mph, which isn’t that fast, I could do this in 32 hours. Then I would have 16 hours for breaks. When you think about averaging 10 mph is doable. A lot of the ride I can be keeping my heart rate at like 115. I’ve never done anything close to this though, so I think that’s why the price is what it is.

BP: Did you think about this bet, given its proximity to the start of the World Series of Poker, as a way to basically freeroll the summer?

BR: I definitely am not thinking about it in terms of future poker play, more like $600,000 is a lot of money (laughs). I would be very happy if I won $600,000. I actually haven’t had a good year so far in cash games, so if I win this bet I pretty much get even for the year. That’s something that will be refreshing going into the World Series, but I am not thinking about it in terms of future buy-ins. I don’t really think of it in that sense.

BP: In terms of pushing the envelope on sleep, do you think your history playing marathon cash game sessions will be useful on the ride if you are forced to ride through the night?

BR: Yeah, that is something I have considered. I’ve done multiple 40+ hour sessions in my life. Then again, poker is very sedentary. There are things that are different, but I am hoping my experience with sleep depravation will help, especially focusing while sleep deprived. Last summer I played over 100 hours of poker each week during the WSOP. One of the big things is not falling off the bike when tired. Falling off the bike is the worst thing that can happen.

Tags: Brian Rast,   Prop Bet