Poker Player Wins $930K On American League MVP Wager

Log Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, arguably baseball’s first standout two-way player since Babe Ruth, won the American League MVP award Thursday night. It was obviously a milestone night for Ohtani, but it set a record in the betting world as well.

According to a report from ESPN Chalk, Caesars Sportsbook took a seven-figure loss when Ohtani earned the hardware thanks mostly to a poker player that placed a $30,000 wager last March on the Japanese superstar to win the award.

The gambler, who was featured in a recent edition of Daniel Negreanu’s World Series of Poker vlog, got 30-1 odds on the bet. His $30,000 turned into $930,000 and made up most of what Caesars lost on the wager.

When betting lines opened in February, Ohtani was initially listed as a 60-1 dog to win the award. Just a month later, those odds were cut in half. By June, he was as a moneyline favorite of -5,000, meaning that bettors are laying the casino 50-1.

The 27-year-old returned from Tommy John surgery this year to hit .257 with 42 home runs, 100 runs batted in, and steal 26 bases. That alone would put him in MVP consideration, but he also put together a solid season on the mound. He threw 130.1 innings, striking out 156 batters while posting a 3.52 ERA and a 9-2 win-loss record.

He became the fifth player since 2000 to win the award unanimously and was the first player to hit 15 home runs while pitching at least 50 innings in a season since Ruth did it more than a century ago.

Most books took a loss on the award, but no other lost as much as Caesars did. Even after posting the loss, Caesars Sportsbook assistant director of trading Adam Pullen told ESPN that he wouldn’t change the lines if he could go back and set them again.

“[We] don’t want to lose, but you got to applaud the bettor’s moxie for putting that big of a bet on it,” said Pullen. “It’ll definitely be a first, and we will move on and be open the next day.”

You can watch Negreanu’s vlog, which features the poker player that placed the wager at the 7:40 mark, below: