Gambler #1: I'll never make another bet in my life!Some people will do just about anything for a bet, so wagers are a great excuse to have characters do just about anything. Just have someone bet them they won't. Regardless of how crazy the challenge, and how disproportionate (or nonexistent) the reward, they will go to any lengths to win. Maybe they want to show up their rival or make a point or maybe they just want to win the reward. Either way they're sure to have a whole lot of adventures trying to succeed, especially if their rival is trying to sabotage their efforts. And just maybe they'll end up learning that there are some things that are more important than winning the bet. Examples only count when the bet is a major part of the story, if not the whole reason for the plot. So if The Hero and The Rival have a bet on who will win the sports tournament they've entered, that doesn't count because winning the tournament is the objective, the wager just adds to the rivalry. It doesn't have to be the main characters who make the bet though, they could equally be the ones being bet on, so long as the bet is the reason for the plot. May be made by the Professional Gambler or The Gambling Addict, or be part of an Absurdly High-Stakes Game. More minor examples may count as a Side Bet. A common Romance or Romantic Comedy version of The Bet is when a character is bet that they won't/can't win over/date/sex up a certain lady. The guy will almost inevitably end up developing genuine feelings for the girl, and the girl will just as inevitably be pissed off when she finds out about the bet. This may lead to The Grovel when he asks for her forgiveness. Compare to On One Condition, which is essentially a dead person betting their estate that you won't fulfill the conditions of the will.
Gambler #2: Three-to-one you do.
Gambler #1: You're on!
Gambler #2: You lose.
Gambler #2: Three-to-one you do.
Gambler #1: You're on!
Gambler #2: You lose.
- There are a number of stories and films called The Bet which use this trope.
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Anime & Manga
- In the Pokémon Adventures manga, Ruby and Sapphire made a bet to accomplish their goals in 80 days (Ruby wants to master the region's beauty-pageant Contests, Sapphire deisres to challenge the Gym Leaders). It ended in a draw.
- Also, in the Emerald arc, Emerald made a bet with the Frontier Brains that he will beat them in seven days. He succeeds. Sort of.
- This turns out to be the reason Sei Arisaka tries to steal the magical ribbon from Hime-chan, telling her he loved her and betrayal through all of that in Himechan No Ribon. The bet itself was getting a bowl of ramen if he succeeded.
- In a Christmas Episode of Axis Powers Hetalia, Monaco agrees to go on a date with Seborga if he can beat her in poker. He loses, but she goes out with him anyway.
- At least three of the Astérix books are based on a bet.
- In Asterix and the Laurel Wreath, a drunken Chief Vitalstatistix bets his nouveau-riche bore of a brother-in-law that he he can serve him a stew seasoned with Caesar's Laurel Wreath; naturally it's Asterix and Obelix who are sent off to Rome to do the dirty work.
- And in Asterix and Cleopatra, a furious Cleopatra, stung by Caesar's taunts, insists that Egypt is still a great country and bets him that she can build a palace for him in Alexandria within three months. An Egyptian architect is charged with it, Panoramix gets called to help, and Asterix and Obelix go with him. Unlike in a lot of stories, these bets are not just a pretext for a plot; they also represent the wider conflict between national pride and imperial arrogance.
- In Asterix And The Belgians, chief Vitalstatistix bets the titular Belgians on who can destroy the most Roman camps, after Julius Caesar has stated the Belgians to be the bravest barbarians. The whole thing eventually becomes a tie, and they seek out Julius Caesar to judge. Hilarity Ensues.
- In The Smurfs comic book story "The Gambler Smurfs", the Smurfs have Gargamel make a bet with the earl of Aubenas that he would best the earl's knights in a contest of skill so that the earl would not cut down the forest that Gargamel and the Smurfs live in, with Gargamel offering to be a jester to the earl for three years if he lost the bet.
- Avengers Assemble #9-11 involves a bet between Tony Stark and Bruce Banner as to who can be the first to successfully rescue a missing scientist. The loser has to walk naked from Avengers Tower to the Baxter Building and back (in downtown Manhattan). In the end, they BOTH lose and end up taking the walk of shame together, Banner in his Hulk form, no less. Even better, Tony's effort to jam all electronics to prevent anyone taking pictures is defeated when Spiderman shows up to take a picture with an old-fashioned flash camera that ends up on the front page of the Daily Bugle under the headline "Naked Justice."
- An issue of Laff-A-Lympics (Marvel) had the charity money from the day's events gambled away to a guy named Lucky Starr. The three teams confront him, and Starr issues a challenge: to locate a ceramic purple pig with clues provided to them. In a conclave of millionaires, wagers are taken as to which team will find the purple pig. Starr makes the biggest wager—on the Really Rottens. Needless to say, it doesn't end well for Starr or the Rottens.
- In If Them's the Rules, Marchosias Malfoy bets Harry if the latter screws up in missions, Harry will have to learn Pureblood politics and behavior. If he doesn't, Marchosias has to spend a day amongst Muggles.
- In Dirty Sympathy the Prosecution Office bets when and how Klavier will quit his position after the Vera Misham case, it's to demonstrate that the Prosecution Office is now Genre Savvy that it loses most of its prosecutors and to show Winston Payne knows that Klavier is guilty of something.
- The Warblers in Hunting the Unicorn have multitudes of bets and sub-bets, but the main one regards whenever Kurt and Blaine will finally get together. They're very pissed off that the Will They or Won't They? dance takes four months, and they also predicted pretty much all of the Season 2 Klaine moments. It turns out that Wes of all people is responsible for Klaine's Duet Bonding.
- In jumped the gun, Robb and Theon's friends bet on which guy will be the first to confess. To everyone's annoyance, none of their plans to win the pot work out.
Asha even came over and punched Theon on the shoulder. “You asshole! I had money riding on you!”
- In Time Fixers Nicktoons Of The Future, Jimmy and Cindy make a bet with each other over who would name their unborn child using who would win a bet between the boys and the girls.
- The Arrow fanfic An Unusual Christmas List starts with a 5 year-old Sara making a Christmas/birthday list, containing unusual things like "Fly a Spaceship" and "Punch a boy and not get in trouble", and a 7 year-old Laurel betting a dollar she will never get everything on it. The story follows them as Sara checks things off, and ends with Sara placing the list (now with all but one thing crossed off) and a dollar on Laurel's grave.
- In Return of the Hero, Hugh and Rosa make a bet as to whether or not Latios and Latias will appear by the time they leave Johto, Rosa betting that they win't and Hugh betting that they will. If Rosa wins, Hugh has to say that she was right, that she's awesome and fantastic and the best Trainer there is, and that Pokemon contests rule. If Hugh wins, Rosa has to say that Pokemon contests suck, and stop stalking Cheren for a month.
Films — Animated
- Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Mr. Whitmore was a friend of Milo's grandfather Thaddeus. After an argument about the Shepherd's Journal, the following bet was made: "Thatch, if you ever actually find that so-called journal, not only will I finance the expedition, but I'll kiss you full on the mouth." Whitmore remarks to Milo, "Imagine my embarrassment when he actually found the darn thing."
- Cars 3: Lightning McQueen ends up making one with Sterling, the scheming boss of the Rust-Eze Racing Center - If he loses the first big race of the new season, he'll have to retire from his racing career forever.
- Monsters University: Mike plans to prove he is scary enough to join the university's scare program by joining the Scare Games. He even makes a wager with the Scare School's dean, Dean Hardscrabble, in which, if his fraternity wins, the dean will admit every member into the scare program. The catch? If his team loses, he and Sulley are to leave the school.
Films — Live-Action
- "Nobody can eat fifty eggs!" Except for Cool Hand Luke.
- Ocean's Twelve starts as One Last Job but the main part of the film is the wager between the team and The Night Fox.
- In Trading Places, two brokers disagree on the "nature vs nurture" argument. They decide to bet "the usual amount" (eventually revealed to be one dollar) on what will happen if they ruin a rich man's life and let a poor man take his place.
- When said rich man and poor man find out, they hijack the brokers' short selling scheme to take them for all they had. When confronted, the poor man said he bet the rich man they couldn't get rich and put the brokers in the poorhouse at the same time. The bet? One dollar. The expression on the brokers' faces was priceless.
- Rat Race was essentially rich Upper Class Twits sending a odd bunch of tourists on the titular race for their own betting amusement.
- And while waiting for the tourists to get to the destination, they bet a lot as well (on a chocolate flavor, how much will a prostitute charge for a weird service, and who will puke first while in a turbulent plane).
- In Latter Days, gay man Christian makes a bet with his friends that he can seduce Mormon missionary Aaron.
- The Russian comedy Man with a Warranty (or Man with a Guarantee) starts with a wealthy businesswoman making a bet with her long-time rival that she can find herself and marry an ordinary man in 5 days or she loses everything. One of the conditions is that she must do so in one of the shopping malls she owns (of the rival's choice), and she must pretend to be a poor woman with no place of her own. Naturally, the rival isn't content to just lose. He enlists the help of the mall manager to spy on her and the security guard she's seeing. He then crashes the wedding to reveal the truth to the stunned guard. In the end, the woman is content to lose everything juts to be with the security guard, but they end up registering their marriage license 1 minute before the bet deadline.
- Diggstown involves an ex-convict con man making a bet with a wealthy businessman who, effectively, owns the titular town that his friend (an almost-contender back in his glory days) can beat 10 boxers one after another in 24 hours. The size of the amount constantly increases, as the con man keeps borrowing the money from a loan shark he knows with his life as collateral.
- In a Russian musical comedy Hussar Ballad, two protagonists, Shura and Rzhevsky, makes a very plot-important bet: that Rzhevsky, in case his bride gets into trouble, would not help her out. He claims to despise the girl too much; Shura is certain that he is better than that. Rzhevsky is unaware at this time that Shura and his bride are the same person.
- Older Than Radio: In Mark Twain's story The Million Pound Bank Note and it's 1954 film adaptation, The Million Pound Note, the bet is actually between two rich brothers as to what the main character will do when given the titular bank note.
- Around the World in 80 Days, where Fogg embarks on the trip just because other members of his club bet him it couldn't be done.
- The Betrothed's main conflict (Renzo and Lucia's efforts to get married) is caused by a bet between Don Rodrigo and Count Attilio: the former bet he would manage to lay his hands on Lucia.
- The basis for several Roald Dahl short stories, the most famous of which is probably "Man from the South". In this story, an old man named Carlos offers a boastful American boy his Cadillac if the boy can strike his lighter ten times in a row. The catch is that if the lighter does not light ten times in a row, Carlos will cut off the boy's left little finger. It fails on eight. Just as Carlos is about to take the boy's finger, his wife stops him — Carlos doesn't own anything; she owns all his possessions. She also has three fingers left...
- Garren's father, a Hrum senator in the Farsala Trilogy, bets his seat in the Senate if his son can't conquer Farsala with only ten thousand troops.
- How To Eat Fried Worms
- Han Solo's penchant for gambling is almost a Running Gag in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, with the Millennium Falcon being the best example of that. He won it off Lando Calrissian in a sabacc game, lost it back to him in another game, won it back, and then finally lost it permanently. Luckily, Lando was trying to impress Mara Jade and gave it back.
- That's nothing — he once won a planet in a game of sabacc, an outcome that even he conceded was pretty incredible.
- In Heart In Hand, Darryl's spur-of-the-moment bet that he will sleep with Alex if the latter scores a "Mexican hat trick" (six goals in one game) kickstarts their relationship.
- The plot of Dawn Of Steam is set in motion by a high stakes wager between two members of the House of Lords about the validity of a set of popular travel journals.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Aphrodite kids sometimes bet on Will They or Won't They? scenarios.
- Dear Dumb Diary has a book based entirely around this premise.
Live Action TV
- Several books and TV shows are based on peoples real life experience in trying to win a crazy bet.
- Are You Dave Gorman?: Dave bets his roommate Danny he can find 54 other Dave Gormansnote .
- Dave and Danny have both written other books that follow a similar format (Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure, Yes Man) but without the initial impetus being a bet.
- Round Island With A Fridge : Tony Hawks tries to win a bar bet by hitchhiking round Ireland with a refrigerator.
- Hawks followed this up with two other books/challenges: Playing The Moldovans At Tennis, Exactly What It Says on the Tin, only he played the entire Moldovan football team at tennis, and One Hit Wonderland, where he attempted to have a number one hit in any European country. He succeeded.
- All the above, and similar personalities, are mocked on a That Mitchell and Webb Look sketch about a 'wacky guy' who makes a bet that he can make a cup of tea for everyone in Belgium.
- The reality show My Obnoxious Fiance was essentially a bet between the network and the lead woman. She had to maintain the lie that a paid actor was her fiance until the wedding, and convince her family to attend, while he acted like a boorish loser for several days leading up to it.
- Are You Dave Gorman?: Dave bets his roommate Danny he can find 54 other Dave Gormansnote .
- This is the entire premise of the show Kenny vs. Spenny.
- The Adventures of Superman: The Hostage Situation of "The Human Bomb" was set off by Bet-a-Million Butler making a gamble with another man that he could control Superman for thirty minutes. Of course, he lost
- Rebelde Way. Pablo Bustamante. Again, and again, and again...
- Subverted in Scrubs. Dr. Cox and Turk have a bet, Cox betting that Turk is going to kill his patient, and Turk betting the opposite. The Patient makes a full recovery, Turk does a victory dance, holds out his hand for the money, and Dr. Cox calmly points out that he just wagered 20 dollars on a human being's life. Cue Heroic B.S.O.D. (despite betting on his skill as a surgeon SAVING the man's life).
- Another episode of Scrubs had the Janitor bet JD he couldn't learn the names of everyone in the hospital. The stakes are that if the Janitor wins, JD has to do his job for a week; if JD wins, the Janitor will do his own job for a week. JD questions this, until the Janitor explains he means he'll actually do his job for a week. The Janitor wins the bet of course, by exploiting his own status as The Nameless.
- Seinfeld and the episode The Contest, a bet of who can remain Master of their domain the longest.
- A recurring element of Barney's character on How I Met Your Mother is that he is a gambling addict. This comes in two flavors. Him readily and willingly betting any amount on anything, or — more appropriate to this trope — going on wacky hijinks because somebody said something (normally seducing a woman) couldn't be done in some bizarre situation.
- Drake & Josh:
- One episode titled "The Bet" had Drake and Josh betting they could quit their bad habits longer than the other. In this case, the habits in question were Drake's addiction to junk food and Josh's addiction to video games. The episode also has their parents making a bet on which boy would cave in first. Audrey betting Josh would win, and Walter betting Drake would win.
- In another episode Drake and Josh bet who can get more dates in a week. Drake ends up falling in love with the first girl he meets. Unlike the first bet, Josh wins this one, but then the prize wasn't exactly what he had hoped.
- In Kenan & Kel, Kenan bets Kel that he can't go a week without drinking orange soda. Anyone who watches the show knows how much Kel loves orange soda.
- Ross bets Chandler $50 that he can't go a week without cracking a joke. Of course, during the next days everybody does their best to screw Chandler by putting him in situations in which he would normally make jokes. In the end, Chandler ends up giving Ross $50 and tells all the jokes he would have said during the whole chapter.
- In another episode, Chandler and Joey make a bet with Monica and Rachel that the guys know more about the girls than the girls about the guys. Monica (in her usual ultra-competitive self) raises the bet: if the girls win, the guys must get rid of the chick and the duck, but if the guys win, they have to exchange apartments. In the end, when neither Monica nor Rachel are able to remember what Chandler's job is, they lose.
- An episode of Barney Miller had a bet between Yemana (to stop gambling) and Harris (to stop smoking) to see who could last the longest. At the end of the episode, when the couple from the main plotline settled their differences, there was this exchange:
Yemana: You know, I think they'll make it.
Harris: Aw, I bet they don't.
Yemana: You're on!
Harris: You lose. (lights up)
- CSI: 'Hitting The Cycle' centered on a betting pool regarding who would investigate the last in a complete set of death circumstances: accident, homicide, suicide, and natural, all in one shift. Superdave, the coroner's assistant, found the long-sought-after natural, though only because another assistant died of a brain aneurysm at the episode's end. Most of the CSIs lost the wager by betting on themselves, and Catherine bet that no one would complete "the cycle" at all, on the grounds that natural deaths are rarely investigated by law enforcement. Doc Robbins, shrewdly, realized that David was the only member of the shift to look at every body that came in, and won the pot.
- The subplot of CSI NY 'Nine Thirteen' has the team trying to figure out whether or not Lindsay is pregnant. It's only made fully clear at the end, but they're trying the whole ep to get her to talk. When she admits to Danny that she is, they are all shown paying up on the bets.
- In the second episode of How To Rock, the members of Gravity 5 challenge each other to give up their signature habits. (Texting for Casey, insulting people for Stevie, checking his reflection for Zander, and a fictional version of Angry Birds for Kevin and Nelson.) Predictably, they all spend the entire episode trying to tempt each other into indulging their respective habits.
- Ed had this with Mike and Ed constantly betting each other $10 to do random stupid acts. This includes having to make an order at a diner in rhyme and only being allowed to say burger me to order.
- The Aquabats! Super Show! episode "Cobraman!" is filled with a lot of these. The MC Bat Commander's tendency to accept these bets, despite his losing history with them, is used against him in a battle against the Cobraman for the Battletram.
- Subverted in Elementary. Sherlock Holmes (not shown to have any particular skill at basketball) bets a suspect he can make a basket from a very long distance, and the suspect agrees to be interrogated if it happens. Holmes squats, swings the ball back and forth dramatically, and tosses it behind himself. "He wasn't going to talk anyway," says Holmes.
- Zoey 101: This is the plot, or sub-plot, of several episodes (commonly, girls vs. boys, but also guys vs. guys, everyone vs. Logan)
- An arc in the first half of the first season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine revolves around a bet between Detectives Jake Peralta and Amy Santiago over who solves more felony cases; if she wins, he gives her his beloved car, if he wins she agrees to go on a date with him. When Peralta wins, he intends on using the date as an opportunity to prank and humiliate her, but it quickly becomes clear that it's actually unresolved feelings he has for her bubbling up to the surface.
- Bering Sea Gold: Near the end of season 3, Steve Pomrenke and Shawn Schimschat bet an ounce of gold on who can get more gold during the end of the season. Shawn's excavator blows a hydraulic hose, ending his season prematurely, costing him the bet.
- Gold Rush!: During a season 5 episode, Dave Turin bets against Kevin over the quantity of gold in a particular cleanout. Dave loses and must wear an apron while making pancakes.
- Frontier Circus: In "The Race", a visiting nobleman bets $1,000 that his professional soldiers can beat the locals and the circus folk in a cross-country horse race. Tony becomes obsessed with winning the bet.
- The Twilight Zone (1959): "The Silence" is about Jamie Tennyson, who makes a bet with Archie Taylor, a man who despises listening to him rant and ramble at the country club, that he can remain silent for a whole year. The terms are simple: the unused game room in the basement of the club will be refurnished with a glass-enclosed bedroom and living room. Microphones will be placed around the enclosure that will be active at all times. Tennyson will only be allowed to communicate in writing, and the bet will end if he just makes a sound, but if he manages to stay quiet until 10PM on June 3rd 1962, he'll earn $500,000. By the end, despite being offered $1000 or $5000 to stop early and being told rumors about his wife cheating on him, Tennyson manages to stay quiet for the whole year. Taylor relents that he doesn't have the $500,000 to give him and that Tennyson has proven himself to be the better man...only for Tennyson to reveal that he'd secretly had an operation done to sever the nerves to his vocal cords just before the bet.
- A Radio 4 comedy series about "books you've never heard of, but which sound strangely familiar" opened with the story of a stand-up comedian who accepted a drunken bet to stay at every Travelodge in Britain, only to realise he was on a spiritual journey. Parody of Round Ireland..., Are You Dave Gorman, etc.
- It's briefly mentioned in a Storyteller skit on John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme that one member of the club bet five hundred pounds that he could lose that very bet. Which he won... and therefore lost... and therefore won... and therefore...
- Tim Fitzhigham: The Gambler is a non-fiction series in which Tim Fitzhigham locates unusual wagers in the records of gentlemen's clubs, and attempts to re-create them. For example, the pilot episode revolved around a bet that a letter could be sent 50 miles in one hour, using only what was available to the original gambler in the 18th century.
- Girl Genius: Why does Mechanicsburg have a cathedral? Because the Prince of Sturmhalten at the time of construction bet the Heterodyne lord of the time that he wouldn't build one. The prince said that if the cathedral was built, he'd eat his hat. The Hash House Lingo for a hat sandwich is a "Prince of Sturmhalten's Big Bet".
- In Tower of God, this trope is used several times:
- First a small bet between Lero-Ro and 25th Baam on who will pass a barrier first. The winner got to ask the loser some questions.
- Anak and Androssi made a competition out of who would beat the bull first. The former wagered her Cool Sword, the latter herself.
- Prince wagered Yeon to whoever would win the Shinsoo Competition, thinking it would be him. He came in second, his score topped by a sixfold by Viole.
- xkcd suggests a way to exploit this trope into a Xanatos Gambit when it comes to caution about the latest announcement that purports to overturn our entire understanding of physics - bet that it won't pan out. Most of the time it won't and you'll win some money; on the off-chance it does, the fact that our entire understanding of physics has just been overturned will be so awesome it would cover the lost bet.
- An episode of The Flintstones revolves around the revival of Fred's gambling addiction (never mentioned in any other episode before or after) triggered by a bet with the newspaper boy.
- South Park: Cartman formed a massively successful Christian Rock Band just to win a bet that he could win a platinum record before Kyle could. Cartman's band becomes wildly successful, but he loses the bet because the Christian Rock industry awards myrrh records instead — so he angrily denounces Jesus in front of his own fans.
- Hurricanes: Jackson Black is a gambling addict. Knowing about that, Stavros Garkos managed to win Black's soccer-themed resort and his eco-sphere in a rigged roulette game. Since the terms of their bet included that, every time Black lost, he'd be allowed to try to recover his losses in another bet, he decided to bet on the upcoming Hispanola Hurricanes versus Garkos Gorgons soccer game. Black would win it all back if the Hurricanes won, which gave Garkos, who owns the Opposing Sports Team, another motive to sabotage the Hurricanes.
- In Gravity Falls, Stan and Mabel make a bet on who could make more money: Mabel while running the Mystery Shack, or Stan while on vacation.
- In The Simpsons, Homer and Flanders made a bet when both of their kids were competing against each other in Mini-Golf: If their kid doesn't win, they have to mow the other person's lawn in one of their wife's dresses. The kids call a draw, and thanks to Exact Words, they both have to do it
- In the Spongebob Squarepants episode "A Day Without Tears", Squidward makes a bet with SpongeBob that he can't go the rest of the day without crying. If Squidward wins SpongeBob will have to do his yard work, and if SpongeBob wins, Squidward will have to come to his house for a sleepover. SpongeBob manages to hold in all his tears for the last ten seconds and afterwards lets them all out.
- In the Garfield and Friends episode "Video Victim," Jon and Garfield make a bet that if Garfield can go a whole day without watching any TV, Jon will stop using the vacuum cleaner.
- The entire plot for The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy begins when Grim comes to reap the soul of Billy's ten-year-old hamster, Mr. Snuggles (most hamsters only live about three years tops). Not wanting to lose their hamster they decide to play a game for his life. If they lose, Grim takes the hamster, but if they win, not only do they keep the hamster, but Grim has to be their "best friend" (slave) for eternity. The game ends up being a limbo competition, and Mandy sics Mr. Snuggles on Grim right as he's about to go under the bar, causing him to bump into it and lose. Amusingly, after the pilot episode, Mr. Snuggles is very rarely mentioned, if at all.
- The Loud House:
- The episode "Undie Pressure" has Lincoln betting his sisters over who can go the longest without their annoying habits. If the girls wins, Lincoln has to give up reading comics in his underwear, and if Lincoln wins they have to accept his habit and buy him new underwear. Lily ends up winning the bet for the girls and Lincoln is forced to read comics with his clothes on, until Lola buys him his victory underwear anyway, saying that they should all be accepting of each other's habits.
- In the episode Legends, while participating in Legends of the Hidden Temple, Lynn Sr. and Lincoln make a bet with their competitors Stan and Steak Stankco: if Lincoln and Lynn Sr. win, Stan and Steak have to go through airport security wearing their Orange Iguana costumes, but if Stan and Steak win, Lincoln and Lynn Sr. have to go through airport security in nothing but their underwear. The Louds lose, but are good sports about it and keep their end of the bargain, to which everyone at the airport cheers them on.
- Real life example: Roger Zelazny wrote A Night in the Lonesome October because someone bet he couldn't get readers to root for Jack the Ripper as a hero. The resulting novel won him both the bet and a Nebula Award nomination.
- Jim Butcher, author of The Dresden Files, began his other series Codex Alera because of a bet. He was in a debate (described as 'the kind where you hit capslock and mash the keyboard') with another writer on a message board over the 'sanctity of the idea'. The unknown other party said that if you have a great idea then it doesn't matter how bad your writing is, you can turn it into something publishable. Jim believed that no matter how tired and overdone the idea, if you're a good enough writer you can make it great. The other party challenged Jim to 'put his money where is mouth is' and turn a bad idea of his choice into a book. Jim (being 'quite the internet loudmouth') said that he would take any two of the other person's bad ideas and combine them into something great. The ideas? The Lost Roman Legion...and Pokémon. And he did it.
- Tony Hawks, twice, each time getting a book out of it. The first was Round Ireland with a Fridge, the second Playing the Moldovans at Tennis, the latter is a very interesting look at a country with a truly messed up economy and has started charitable donations to help out a bit.
- H. Rider Haggard wrote King Solomon's Mines on the basis of a bet with his brother, who said H. Rider couldn't write a novel half as good as Treasure Island, the current bestselling pageturner of the day. Whether King Solomon's Mines is as good as Treasure Island is up to the reader, but Haggard's book sold so well publishers had trouble keeping up with demand.
- Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham on a bet he couldn't write a story using just fifty distinct words.
- Stephen Hawking, after deducing the existence of black holes, bet Kip Thorne that they didn't actually exist. He lost the bet.
- George Lucas and Steven Spielberg once made a bet over Star Wars: A New Hope and Close Encounters of the Third Kind: they bet 2.5% of their film's proceeds that the other film would be more successful than their own. Steven Spielberg is still receiving proceeds from the first of the Star Wars movies.
- A celebrated anecdote involving Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of The United States and a man of few words. A female reporter told Silent Cal that she was bet by her editor that she couldn't get at least three words out of him. His response?
- Cole Porter famously bragged at lunch one day that he could write a song on any subject. The friends he was dining with challenged him to write something based on the next thing they heard in the restaurant. The waiter at an adjoining table then said to the person at that table "Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch today". The song, Miss Otis Regrets, is about a socialite who kills her lover and is then lynched by a mob was written in 1934, and is still popular today, some 80 years later.
- Prior to the Trinity test, the first test of a nuclear weapon, the scientists were making bets on what the yield of the device would be. While the final estimate was very close, one of the scientists was taking side bets on the destruction of the entire state of New Mexico, right in front of the governor of New Mexico, who was in attendance (and suitably terrified).
- While sports playoffs commonly lead to "loser humiliates himself" bets, the National Hockey League had some recent cases involving big names. In 2014, Jimmy Fallon bet with the Montreal Canadiens as they played his New York Rangers, and once the Canadiens lost their Twitter had Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in the avatar, while their mascot was photographed around Montreal wearing a Rangers jersey with Fallon's name. In 2015, the mayors of Calgary and Anaheim bet on the series between the cities' teams — the Canadian one was forced to donate to a Californian charity and sing "Let It Go" at the city council.
- Laura Ingalls Wilder once recounted that a bet was part and parcel to the start of her romance with her husband Almanzo. One of his friends bet the young Almanzo that he didn't have the guts to ask a specific girl to walk home from church. Almanzo took advantage of her placement in the room (very close to Laura) to pretend he misunderstood which girl his friend meant, as the directive was apparently not clear. He got to collect on the debt and still ask Laura, which was his intention all along.
Anime & Manga
- In an episode of the Future GPX Cyber Formula TV series, Randoll asks Hayato what he thinks of Asuka and earlier he makes a bet with her that if he wins the Spanish Grand Prix, he gets her kiss. He didn't.
- In The One Hundred Nights Of Hero, Jerome bets Manfred that Manfred can't seduce Jerome's wife while Jerome is out of town for a hundred days - if Manfred manages it, he gets Jerome's castle. Since by their cultural standards, Manfred raping Jerome's wife would qualify as "winning" (and get the wife executed for unfaithfulness), and Manfred really wants that castle, the wife's maid/lover Hero ends up using the Scheherezade Gambit on him.
- The pro wrestling story But It's A Whole Canadian Dollar is a comedic take on Chris Jericho and Christian's bet over Trish Stratus and Lita seen in the Pro Wrestling folder.
- The story spawned a sequel, But It's A Whole Canadian Dollar 2: The Un-Nailables in which Jericho and Christian make another "who will score first" bet: Jericho with Stephanie McMahon, or Christian with Molly Holly.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fic Dash's New Mom, Dash's father Blue Streak reveals that he first asked her mother Firefly out, on a bet in high school, where she was considered the "sexiest mare at the academy", a great athlete, and all in all out of his league. Obviously, this worked out well for him.
- Variant in the Community fanfic aptly titled "The Bet." Jeff and Britta get into an argument on whether men or women are better at going without sex, so they make a bet to see which of them can go the longest. Note that they're not dating each other; they're just betting on sex in general. After weeks of both of them getting more and more irritable, Britta decides enough is enough and cheats: She takes Annie out for a shopping trip, buys her some sultry clothes, and throws her in Jeff's direction at a dance, trusting in their years of UST to win her the bet. Except that when Britta sees them leaving together, she gets overconfident and starts drinking, and wakes up in the morning in some guy's bed.
Jeff: Let's just call this a draw.
Films — Animated
- In The Book of Life, La Muerte and Xibalba have one concerning who Maria will marry. The former backs Manolo, while the latter backs Joaquin. The winner will take over the Land of the Remembered.
Films — Live-Action
- In She's All That, Zack Siler bets his best friend Dean Sampson that he can turn the girl of Dean's choosing into the Prom Queen. Zack loses, but the payoff is hilarious.
- Parodied mercilesly in Not Another Teen Movie.
- 10 Things I Hate About You (prom again)—slight variant. Here it's not a bet but a bribe—Kat's sister isn't allowed to date until she dates, wannabe suitor arranges for Patrick to be paid to take Kat out. The part where she finds out about it works out pretty much like the bet trope.
- Worth Winning (get engaged to 3 women)
- Crazy In Love (get her to island makeout spot)
- How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is about a woman who writes "How to" articles for a magazine. She wants to write "real" stories, with actual substance, so her editor tells her to write the titular article. The male lead just wants a woman to show off as a successful relationship so he can be in charge of his advertising company's big diamond account. Note that while both are just trying to further their own career goals, the woman is depicted as motivated by creative integrity, while the man is doing it just for money.
- Little Darlings revolves around a bet between two girls as to who can lose their virginity first.
- In Cruel Intentions, the whole plot revolves around a bet two step siblings make. Kathryn promises she will sleep with Sebastian only if he manages to sleep with Annette (the headmaster's daughter) before school begins. Sebastian ends up falling in love with Annette instead.
- Likewise Dangerous Liaisons, a more straightforward adaptation of the same book / play.
- Jocks from two rival frats bet on who'll be the first to bed a gorgeous woman staying at the same resort in Fraternity Vacation. Subverted in that neither contender even comes close to success, and both fake evidence to the contrary; she instead winds up with a nerd they'd only dragged along because his dad paid for the trip.
- The Big Bet is all about this trope where the lead must bed the new girl in school or lose his car.
- The latter part of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels revolves around a bet between Steve Martin and Michael Caine's characters over who is the better seducer/con-man. The mark WINS; turns out SHE was the infamous con artist mentioned earlier, and was onto them from the start, playing along for the fun of it
- Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie (pants version) Subverted, in that Cal didn't actually make that particular bet. As he says repeatedly. Played straight in that he did make multiple other bets (and passed the profits straight on to Min; is that another subversion?).
Min smiled cheerfully at David. "I know Cal won it," she said, "but we have this unwritten rule that I get all the money he wins on me. I'm picking up quite a bit of spare change that way, so this—" She looked at the check and almost dropped her comforter. "Oh, my God.""Not ten bucks," Cal said, yanking up the comforter before she lost it.Min looked up at him, appalled. "You bet ten thousand dollars you could get me into bed?""No," Cal said. "I'm going to get a T-shirt made that says, 'I did not make that bet.'"
Live Action TV
- In the Scrubs episode "My Best Laid Plans", Dr Cox learns the Janitor has a crush on Eliot, and bets his Porche against the Janitor's van that it'll never happen. The usual plot is subverted when the Janitor simply explains the situation to Eliot and she jumps at the chance to annoy Dr Cox ... and then inverted when the Janitor falsely claims Cox wants to see them on an actual date before he pays up.
- In Drop the Dead Donkey Damian and Henry bet Dave he couldn't get Joy to sleep with him. It actually rebounds more on Damian and Henry more than Dave.
- A slight variation from QI: Stephen Fry, in a discussion of the Mile-High Club (and showing it to be Older Than Radio), related the following entry from the eighteenth-century wager book of a London gentlemen's club:note
- In the Only Fools and Horses episode "Watching the Girls Go By", Mickey Pierce bets Rodney "fifty" that he doesn't have a date for a party at the Nag's Head. To Rodney's surprise, Del buys the bet for £5, and after various disastrous attempts at finding a girl, pays a stripper £20 to pretend to be Rodney's date (including to Rodney, who thinks he somehow chatted her up in ten seconds, including telling her about the party). After Rodney is humiliated at the party, Del says at least he won the bet, and Rodney agrees and flips him a 50p piece.
- In the WWE, Chris Jericho and Christian bet each othernote that they could hook up with Trish Stratus and Lita respectively before the other did. Naturally, the ladies were quite unimpressed with said bet, but Jericho ended up developing feelings for Stratus. This being Professional Wrestling, the end result was Trish turning heel, kicking Jericho in the nuts and siding with Christian.
- In Guys and Dolls, Nathan bets Sky that he won't be able to get Sarah (a pseudo-Salvation Army lassie) to go to Havana with him. Romance ensues, but Sarah returns to find her mission raided because Nathan has been holding a crap game there. Subverts the usual play in that he tells her straight in Havana about the bet, which doesn't bother her much. It isn't until the crap game that the "boy loses girl" portion of the plot begins.
- Joshua from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is a Gambling Addict and his supports with Natasha revolve around making bets. In their B support, for example, he bets that she's going to fall for him, sooner or later. In their A support, she tells him that he has won that bet, after he made a bet that he would make her happy, essentially proposing to her.
- Even his recruitment, done by talking to him (when he's still an enemy unit) with Natasha, hinges on a bet. Although it implied that he rigged that particular coin toss so he wouldn't have to kill her.
- Drawn Together has a chapter where Captain Hero bets with Spanky Ham he will get laid with Princess Clara's retarded sister. And even more so vice versa.
- South Park has a chapter that reveals Ms. Choksondik's only date in her life was with a guy who lost a Super Bowl bet.
- The Spectacular Spiderman:
Spider-Man: Hey Molten Man! Bet you can't hit me from here with a lava ball!Molten Man: I'll take that bet!*throws lava ball, only for Spider-Man to pull the Mysterio robot into his line of fire*Spider-Man: Sucker!
- At one point, Peter makes a bet with Flash Thompson that he'll have a date for the upcoming school dance to show his confidence that he actually has one. However, his intended date cancels. When Peter ends up at the dance with the extremely attractive Mary Jane Watson, Flash tries to break the two up by telling Mary Jane about the bet. However, in a brilliant and downright awesome subversion, MJ doesn't care in the slightest, even making crack to Flash about the fact that he lost. Of course, it helps that she's probably aware that Peter's Aunt May set up the whole thing, plus MJ knows that she's hot and Peter would have been willing to go out with her, bet or no bet. Flash, not wanting to be the only one dresses as a cheerleader while honoring the bet, forced his teammates into similar outfits.
- Liz Allen's brother Mark also has a gambling problem, which leads to him becoming the Molten Man. In his second episode, Spider-Man takes advantage of his gambling weakness to taunt him.