Doug Polk Narrowly Loses $200K Body Fat Loss Prop Bet to Bill Perkins

One year ago, Doug Polk bet $200,000 on dropping 50% body fat within 365 days against fellow poker player Bill Perkins. He revealed on Thursday that he fell just short of victory.

There weren’t many stipulations to the bet, which began on Feb. 11, 2022. By 1:30 p.m. CT on Feb. 10, 2023, the Upswing Poker founder had to drop at least 50% of his body fat, going from around 28% body fat to 13.85%, or he’d lose. He was at liberty to choose any diet and exercise regimen he wanted.

At the end of the challenge, he was down to 15.1% body fat, just 1.3% body fat away from winning. Instead, he’s out $200,000 to Perkins, an avid prop bettor.

Early Prop Bet Failures

PokerNews spoke with the three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner to gain insight into his routine the past year as he attempted to not only win a six-figure prop bet but also improve his health. While he didn’t succeed in accomplishing the former, he did the latter.

“The first five-ish months, I was mainly planning on trying to build up some muscle but not super focused on losing weight,” Polk said.

During those initial few months, Polk explained, he wasn’t making any progress. In fact, he was taking steps backwards and had to reevaluate. The owner of The Lodge Card Club in Austin, Texas hired “a lot of people (paid to help me trim body fat) that either didn’t know what they were doing or were just trying to keep their job.”

One nutritionist six weeks into the challenge tried to convince him that he was making progress despite having actually increased his body fat, he said. So, he had to make some changes, one of which included getting rid of his nutritionist and personal trainer, or there was no shot he’d pull it off.

“I reached the point where I decided I needed to take matters into my own hands. So I fired everybody and did it myself,” Polk said. “Since August, my progress has been really good. I’ve just been dropping pounds steadily every month.”

Poker Pro Turns it Around

Doug Polk poker

At around that time, Perkins recommended a new trainer who was helpful in Polk’s transformation. His workout and diet routine has since consisted of lifting weights 5-6 times per week in the early mornings, some cardio, and six small meals per day that total around just 1,800 calories. Once every fourth day he’d bump that up to 2,300 calories.

Eating a breakfast that included just a couple of egg whites and some raspberries, and then equally small meals full of rice, fruit, and grilled chicken throughout the day took its toll on the heads-up poker star.

“The number one problem I’ve had is I can’t sleep when I’m on a big caloric deficit,” Polk stated.

There’s been a misconception about the type of prop bet Polk entered, and he said he noticed that from social media comments. This wasn’t a weight loss bet. In fact, Polk could have conceivably gained weight during the challenge and still won had he replaced body fat with muscle mass. That said, since the challenge began one year ago, he’s lost about 30 pounds of pure weight.

Down to the Wire

Three weeks ago, he went in for a DEXA scan, which measures body composition such as body fat and muscle mass. The results showed he was at 17.2% body fat, down about 39% compared to the start of the challenge. But he still had some significant work to be done to get to exactly 13.85% body fat to win the prop bet.

Polk would face some obstacles in the latter stages of the challenge, most notably becoming a father for the first time. The Texas poker room owner’s wife, Kaitlin, gave birth to Otis Douglas Polk on Jan. 27, about two weeks from the end of the prop bet. On top of that, he struggled to get to the gym and eat properly during a massive ice storm that hit Austin last week.

Ice storm in Austin, power is out, can’t use water, have a 1 week old child, threw my back out last week, and am in…

— Doug Polk (@DougPolkVids)

If he could do it all over again, Polk would “change my initial strategy.” But he doesn’t think it’s likely he’ll go back to his old diet and fitness habits “because I have the fundamentals in place now.”

Although he learned that gambling against a University of Iowa graduate such as Perkins isn’t typically a winning proposition, he doesn’t consider it a complete failure.

“I’m in the best shape of my life,” Polk claims.

That may be true, but he’s also $200,000 less rich. Polk posted a YouTube video on Thursday further explaining the challenges he’s faced the past year (see below).

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*Images courtesy of Doug Polk.