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The Bet

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Gambler #1: I'll never make another bet in my life!
Gambler #2: Three-to-one you do.
Gambler #1: You're on!
Gambler #2: You lose.

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, thinking that she is some prize or object (in most cases, was not completely wrong, at first). Trust is lost and she wants nothing to do with him. 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. Also compare Trial-Period Dating, when two characters date (with genuine romantic interest on the part of one of the two) on the condition that the relationship lasts for a finite period of time.

Note that bets are Serious Business, particularly in honor cultures where your word is more important than the law, like the 17th century Scottish highlands, or the Deep South today. Indeed, in many jurisdictions, refusing to honor a wager will do more than ruin your reputation with a few dudes, it can be enforced by the courts as having the same validity as a signed and notarized contract. The only exception would be if enforcing it would be illegal, grossly immoral, or in some other way a detriment to the public good.

See also Humiliating Wager.


  • There are a number of stories and films called The Bet which use this trope.

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fairy Tail: During the Grand Magic Games, the participants of battles on the second day all make various bets of varying seriousness.
    • Toby of Lamia Scale vs. Kurohebi of Raven Tail: If the former wins, Kurohebi reveals his real name while if the latter wins Toby has to reveal a personal secret. Kurohebi wins, and Toby reveals his "secret" was that he spent three months looking for one of his favorite socks and couldn't find it when it was hanging around his neck the whole time. Kurohebi then rips the sock up in front of Toby just to be a dick.
    • Elfman of Fairy Tail Team A vs. Bacchus of Quatro Cerberus: If the latter wins, Bacchus gets a night alone with both Lisanna and Mirajane, while if the former wins Quatro Cerberus has to be renamed "Quatro Puppy" for the rest of the Games. Elfman wins, and sure enough they're called Quatro Puppy for the rest of the arc (though Bacchus was a good sport about it and even admitted he had no intentions of breaking his "promise between men".)
    • Mirajane of Fairy Tail Team B vs. Jenny of Blue Pegasus: The loser has to pose nude for the next Sorceror Weekly issue. Mirajane wins, though as one announcer notes pretty much everyone won this bet (except Jenny, who made that bet in arrogance, though even she didn't actually mind the nude shoot and was more annoyed she lost).
    • Yukino of Saber Tooth vs. Kagura of Mermaid Heel: The loser owes the winner their life as stated by Yukino. Kagura wins and bluntly reminds Yukino of that promise as she walks away.
  • Fruits Basket: Two bets run through the series and drive much of the plot:
    • Kyo made a bet with Akito that if he could beat Yuki at anything even once before he graduated high school, the Cat would be made part of the Zodiac and Kyo wouldn't be confined to the Cat's Room for life. He never succeeds, and it's implied to be because due to the curse, the Cat can't beat the Rat at anything no matter what, making his bet an Impossible Task. Ultimately rendered moot by the end of the series, when the curse breaks and a newly Heel-Face Turned Akito tears the Cat's Room down.
    • Tohru's very presence at Shigure's house is revealed to be the result of a bet Akito made. Ren made a bet with Akito that the Zodiac members would willingly gravitate toward and bond with an All-Loving Hero like Tohru than an abusive Psychopathic Womanchild like Akito, thus proving that the curse cannot truly force the Zodiac members to love their God; if Ren won, Akito would have to leave the family for good. Ren ultimately wins, but it's rendered pointless because she didn't expect Tohru to extend her kind hand towards Akito as well, allowing her to realize her flaws and let the past go, thus allowing the curse to break and Akito to move on with her life. Effectively, if Ren had never proposed the bet, Akito never would have redeemed herself and the curse would never have broken.
  • In a Christmas Episode of Hetalia: Axis Powers, 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.
  • 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 Hime-chan's Ribbon. The bet itself was getting a bowl of ramen if he succeeded.
  • Nana and Ryoko are about to race against each other at a major track and field event in Nana & Kaoru. Having spoken to Kaoru beforehand and knowing he is preparing a very big breather, Ryoko proposes a wager to Nana: The winner of the race gets to receive the breather from Kaoru. When the two fiercely run shoulder to shoulder to claim the inner lane, Ryoko slips and collides into Nana, causing both of them to fall and leaving the winner of the two indeterminate. Kaoru ends up giving the breather to both of them together.
  • 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.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix:
    • On a smaller scale, in Asterix and the Golden Sickle, when they are going into the forest to look for the dolmen where Clovogarlix is, Asterix and Obelix bet wether they will encounter wolves first, or bandits. With the loser having to buy the other a round of beer. Asterix bets on wolves, and wins. But just barely, since the wolves are sitting around a tree, in which a bandit is hiding.
    • In Asterix and the Banquet, after a Roman inspector-general attempts to contain the Gauls by building a huge wall around their village, Asterix bets him that he can not only escape, but will travel all over Gaul, collecting all the regional specialities for a banquet — to which the general is invited, just to prove he actually did it. If Asterix wins, the wall comes down. (Unsurprisingly, he does.)
    • 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 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.
    • In Asterix in Belgium, 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.
  • 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 Spider-Man 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."
  • Batman: Black and White: In "The Bet", Poison Ivy bets Harley Quinn that with her pheromones she can make every man in Arkham Asylum do her bidding (without even leaving her cell). She loses at the last hurdle when the Joker proves immune — or does he?
  • 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 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.
  • Wonder Woman: Black and Gold: The premise of "The Wager" is revealed to be a bet between Wonder Woman and Batman that she can get a confession out of a suspect without using the Lasso of Truth.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Miraculous Ladybug fanfic The Dare, Marinette has been doing bigger and bigger dares for her classmates. These include hugging Gabriel Agreste on live television, or climbing down the drainpipe from the roof, or stealing the principal's phone. It culminates in someone daring her to steal Chat Noir's Miraculous—something which the villain Hawkmoth has been trying for months. Adrien, who secretly is Chat Noir, is very worried that she might actually try this. When he's on patrol with Ladybug, she suggests that they switch Miraculous for a couple days to get used to each other's powers. Chat agrees; he figures that Marinette might be able to steal from him, but she'll never be able to steal from Ladybug. The next day Marinette shows off the Miraculous in class. Everyone finally gives up on giving Marinette bigger dares, and Adrien finally realizes that Marinette is Ladybug.
    Chat Noir: Wait a second—did you only have us switch Miraculouses so you could win that dare?!
  • A Diplomatic Visit: Chapter 1 of the sequel, Diplomat at Large, reveals that several changelings had one on where Luna was during the invasion of Canterlot. Pharynx wins the pool when Luna admits she was asleep at the time due to her circadian rhythm being adjusted for being up all night, a requirement for her duties with the Night Guard.
  • 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 now knows that it loses most of its prosecutors and to show Winston Payne knows that Klavier is guilty of something.
  • Double Monkey Dare sees Marinette handling the Lila situation by taking a cue from her dare-loving classmate Kim: she wagers that she can find more evidence of Lila's deceit than Alya and Nino can find backing up any of her claims.
  • The Flash Sentry Chronicles: In season 5, Rarity, Twilight, Fluttershy, and Pinkie want to exercise with the Defenders (to lose the weight they recently gained). After they ask to join them though, Lightning Blitz laughs at the idea, thinking that Rarity won't be able to handle the type of exercise he and the other Defenders do and makes a bet with her. If she can make it through an entire week of exercise without quitting then she wins, but if she quits at any point before the end of the week he wins. The loser needs to do whatever the winner says for an entire day without complaints. Rarity wins the bet, and forces Lightning to ask her out on a date for Saturday, which she happily "accepts".
  • In Growing Daylight, Jim and Claire's friends creating a betting poll on the gender of their unborn child. Mary, Darci and Toby bet on it being a girl, while their parents think it would be a boy. The betting only becomes more heated when they find out that they are having twins.
  • The story "Come and See" from the eighth Halloween Unspectacular anthology features the Devil and Dib having a bet over whether or not Gaz can be redeemed. The bet takes the form of a test of temptation, with the Devil giving her a watch which will grant her seven wishes, but for each one will unlock one of the Seven Seals of the Apocalypse, unleashing unimaginable horror on the world, with the caveat that Gaz herself won't be directly negatively affected. Gaz being who she is, she has no problem with this and makes all the wishes, meaning the Devil wins the bet and claims Gaz's soul, dragging her to Hell and leaving her body an Empty Shell.
  • 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.
    • Later on, they witness the beginning of an argument between Nick and Jeff about what happened while Nick was stoned a year ago. Once they're in a bathroom for privacy, David immediately starts taking bets on which of them said "I love you."
  • 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 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 A Mother's Touch, there's a bet circling around Leo Duel School over whoever can stop Yugo's Clear Wing Synchro Dragon. So far, no one has managed to keep them down for long.
  • Much Ado About Shakespeare: Love's Labours Won: The plot of the fic is kicked off when Horatio Hornblower complains that his friend Archie Kennedy speaks "mostly in Shakespeare these days", and he tells him that it's annoying and excessive. Archie is amused and disagrees. The wager is on: Archie must speak only in Shakespeare's quotations for 6 straight hours and it must be relevant to the situation. Who loses pays for drinks and dinner the next day.
  • This ends up being the set up for the Persona 5 Adult Confidant AU's depiction of Operation: Babe-Hunt. During the Hawaii trip, Ohya bets the boys of the Phantom Thieves that if each of them can get a girl's number, she'll have to buy the team dinner of their choosing. If the boys fail, they have to buy a dinner of Ohya's choosing. Unlike most depictions of the event, the boys actually end up succeeding, with Sojiro getting five numbers thanks to his Max Charm and knowing some English from Futaba's games, Iwai getting two after instinctively suplexing a guy harassing a pair of girls with his Max Guts, and Tora getting twenty after giving a Rousing Speech to a group of dejected hula dancers with his Max Kindness.
  • In Danny Phantom fanfic ResurrectedMemories: Ember as Amberline and Paulina get into a huge one, about whether or not Paulina will lose the title of Prom Queen this year. Should Paulina win, Amberline has to wear whatever Paulina wants her to, but should Ember win, Paulina has to do whatever Amberline says.
  • 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 won'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.
  • In Ships Ahoy!, Olive, Oscar and Otto decide to bet on how long it takes for O'Donnell and O'Callaghan to begin dating after Olive spots the two eyeballing each other in a romantic manner. Oscar bets two weeks, Olive bets two days and a round of drinks at Club 24, and Otto bets two hours. Directly after, O'Donnell and O'Callaghan walk by them with their arms linked and ask about the states of Olive and Otto (having gotten stranded in Sector 21 shortly before) before walking away. Olive, Otto and Oscar are all crushed to realize that they all lost the bet and it only took a mere two minutes for the tube operators to hook up.
  • The Star Wars fanfic The Sith Who Brought Life Day is about an Imperial Navy officer who, during a game of drunken sabacc, makes an unwise bet with a buddy: the loser has to give a Life Day present of their choosing to a recipient of the winner's choosing. Which is how the narrator ends up struggling to come up with a gift idea for Darth Vader.
  • 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.
  • Underverse: Error negotiates a deal with Ink for "no more creation, no more destruction", after their whole war in the multiverse. Both of them end up finding ways around it, with Ink aiding XGaster in creating his Universe indirectly while Error steals the souls of the "anomalies" while not actually destroying them. Once Ink truly breaks it by bringing XGaster back, Error retaliates by finally destroying everything in the Doodle Sphere.
  • 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.
    "I guess you won."
  • In you turned out to be the best thing i never had, Rose and Juleka notice that Lila is scamming her new class into donating their clothing to a fake charity. The two girls make a bet as to whether or not Lila will show up to school wearing the clothing. Sure enough, she does and Rose pays for their next date.
  • In Made With Our Love, Hermione bet Harry five Galleons that he wouldn't walk up to Draco in the middle of the Great Hall during lunch and start claiming he's pregnant with Draco's child. Harry wins.

    Film — 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.
  • Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas: Two background sailors on Sinbad's journey are constantly betting on everything. It's implied that they have a number of standing bets in addition to whatever the current situation is.
    Sailor 1: [To his friend, regarding the literal edge of the world] It's flat. Pay up.
    Sailor 2: [Grumbles, starts handing over a massive amount of gold.]

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In the German movie 100 Things, two friends and business partners have a drunken bet that they can go 100 days without all their stuff. They're each allowed to take one additional item per day. The first one to give up loses half of their share of the €4 million they have just received after selling their app to an American tech mogul. Their employees witness them making the bet and ensure they obey the rules, since the lost money will go to them. The next morning they wake up in their apartments, completely naked and with their apartments completely bare. All their stuff is in a storage locker.
  • In The Air Up There, Tyrannical Town Tycoon Nyaga and Winabi chief Urudu agree to a basketball game between the Mingori Pistons and the Winabi team. If the Pistons win, the Winabi give up their copper-rich lands to Nyaga. If the Winabi win, Nyaga returns all the cattle his goons have stolen, and agrees in front of the army commander to leave the Winabi alone forever.
  • Cat's Eye: In "The Ledge" segment, a casino owner bets his wife's lover that he cannot walk around the five inch ledge that runs around the 30th floor of the building.
  • "Nobody can eat fifty eggs!" Except for Cool Hand Luke.
  • Countess Dracula: As part of his plan to smuggle Ziza into the castle so Elisabeth can kill her, Dobi bets Toth that he cannot get the girl into the castle unobserved.
  • 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.
  • Four Rooms: The Roald Dahl short story "Man from the South" is the basis for "The Man From Hollywood", Quentin Tarantino's segment. The characters in this segment explicitly discuss the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Hitchcock episode adaptation. In this version, the lighter fails on the first try and the referee—a bellhop who has been paid $1,000 for his trouble—chops off the finger and swiftly departs.
  • In The Hairy Bird, a group of prep school boys make a bet concerning the young women at the all-girls school where they are attending a dance. The money goes to whichever guy whose date has the biggest boobs, but proof must be furnished by another of the guys who carries a camera. The guys later meet with a karmic outcome.
  • 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.
  • In The Luck of the Irish, Kyle makes two bets with the far darrig Seamus, having been told by his leprechaun grandfather that far darrigs can't resist bets. However, due to Exact Words, he ends up losing the first bet. The second time, he is the one who wins the bet and uses Exact Words to trap the villain for all eternity.
  • 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 (she owes him a lot of money). One of the conditions is that she must do so in one of the shopping malls she owns (of the rival's choice), the man must be of a lowly sort, 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 just to be with the security guard, but they end up registering their marriage license 1 minute before the bet deadline. She also helps her rival save his marriage.
  • Night of the Dribbler: Dean Marks of Watergate and Dean Cook of Green Bay make a bet over which college wins the champsionship game. Whoever lost the bet would have to appear in the winning school's parade, naked, with (a) tattoo(s) of the winner's choosing on any part of the loser's body the winner chooses. Dean Marks wins the bet, and is seen at the end of the movie putting a tattoo on Dean Cook's exposed buttocks.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • The plot of Rhinestone is based around Jake's bet with Freddie that she can turn anyone into a country music sensation.
  • The main plot of Sky Bandits kicks off when Barney makes a bet with Nicky that anyone who can drive a truck can fly a plane.
  • 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 that he bet the rich man that 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.
  • In the short filmTrick Shot, on the eve of the Good Friday agreement, three IRA agents make a bet on whether one of the lads can achieve a trick shot on a pool table that may or may not be fitted... with a bomb.

  • Animal Inn: In book 1, after Val diagnoses Harvey Curran the rabbit, Toby doesn't believe her, so Val bets him a week's salary that she's right with her diagnosis. Toby, in turn, agrees that if she's right, he'll work at Animal Inn, without payment, for two weeks. Val, naturally, is right, and her father agrees to the conditions when he finds out. Toby stays on as a paid employee after his first two weeks, and is still there at the end of the series.
  • Around the World in Eighty Days, where Fogg embarks on the trip just because other members of his club bet him it couldn't be done. Notable in that Fogg stands to win almost nothing from the bet - if he wins, his winnings cover his expenses, if he loses, it costs him everything - but is taking on the wager simply to prove that the trip can be made.
  • The Baker Street Irregulars series by Terrance Dicks starts when a kid who's a Sherlock Holmes fan has his copy of The Hound of the Baskervilles destroyed by the school bully, who during the subsequent argument challenges him to solve a local unsolved crime. After the Kid Detective and his friends do solve the crime, he's a bit flabbergasted when the sheepish bully pays up with a brand new copy of the book he destroyed, as he'd forgotten how the whole business started.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • Dear Dumb Diary has a book based entirely around this premise.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • How To Eat Fried Worms is based on two boys making a bet about whether one of them will be able to eat a worm every day for fifteen days. Shenanigans ensue when it looks like he might succeed.
  • Older Than Radio: In Mark Twain's story The Million Pound Bank Note and its 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.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Aphrodite kids sometimes bet on Will They or Won't They? scenarios.
  • In Round Ireland With A Fridge, Tony Hawks tries to win a bar bet by hitchhiking round Ireland with a small refrigerator.
    • Hawks followed this up with two other books/challenges: Playing The Moldovans At Tennis, which was 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.
  • One of the fables in RWBY: Fairy Tales of Remnant Is "The Man who Stared at the Sun" or "The Farmer and the Sun." The Farmer is upset at the sun for shining too hotly and spoiling his crops. The Sun is upset that no one appreciates its work and only complain at it. So they make a wager. If the Farmer wins, the Sun would only provide the perfect amount of sunlight for his fields so long as his family tends the land diligently. If the Sun wins, the Farmer and his family would praise and worship the Sun daily and spread said worship to the other humans. The Farmer tried to challenge the Sun to a race, but the Sun instead challenged the Farmer to a Staring Contest.
  • the secret lives of Princesses: Prince S and his sister traded places over this. The first one to give up would lose. Neither have stopped.
  • Slow Life in Another World (I Wish!): Yaschis, the local slave trader, arranges a competition between Itsuki and local mob-connected fop Dardarill to decide whom he'll sell Wendy to, after the two nearly come to blows in the street when Yaschis loans her to Itsuki for the day. Whichever of them first comes up with the price—120 million nohl for Dardarill, 80 million for Itsuki since Dardarill has a head start—gets to buy her. For her part, Wendy is furious about it, since her status as a "special status" slave (aristocratic origin) legally means she can't be sold without her consent, but Yaschis tells her to believe in Itsuki. Itsuki wins the bet by crafting 40 million nohl worth of jewelry and selling them to Reinrich, and comes up with the other half by inventing a magic-powered bullet vibrator with alchemy and selling the sales rights to Yaschis.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • The Millennium Falcon has quite a history of being lost and won in gambling bets.
      • In the novel Millennium Falcon, Lando Calrissian originally acquires the Falcon when his sabaccnote  opponent offers it to cover a lost bet.
      • The Han Solo Trilogy: Rebel Dawn: Han Solo and Lando Calrissian both enter a high-stakes sabacc tournament. In the final match, Lando, whose current business is a used starship lot, offers any ship on it as a marker to cover the bet. Han wins, and demands the Millennium Falcon—which is Lando's personal vessel, but is currently parked on Lando's lot since he took a different ship to the tournament for appearances' sake. Lando is miffed about this but knows the organizers will probably side with Han and agrees, setting up why he still refers to it as "my ship" in The Empire Strikes Back.
      • Jedi Academy Trilogy: In Dark Apprentice, Lando disputes the validity of Han's win in Rebel Dawn and talks him into a rematch, which he wins by the skin of his teeth when C-3PO announces a rules change at a critical moment.note  However, in an ill-fated attempt to impress Mara Jade, whom he was romantically pursuing at the time,note  Lando later gave the ship back to him.
    • X-Wing Series: Aaron Allston's Wraith Squadron trilogy is set in motion by a bet between Wedge Antilles and Admiral Ackbar: if Wedge's attempt to turn the misfits and screwups of Starfighter Command into a functional special operations unit fails, Wedge accepts the promotion to general that he's been putting off for years and joins Ackbar's staff—meaning he's out of the cockpit. It looks initially like a Leonine Contract since Ackbar himself is the one who gets to decide whether the squadron is a success or not. By the end of Solo Command, Ackbar agrees that Wedge has won, letting him stay in the cockpit another two years until after Isard's Revenge, when he finally succeeds in talking Wedge into the promotion.
    • In the The Courtship of Princess Leia, attempting to impress Leia while engaged in a Love Triangle with Prince Isolder of the Hapes Consortium, Han goes looking for, and wins, the planet Dathomir in a game of sabacc, an outcome that even he conceded was pretty incredible. And which turns out to be Too Good to Be True: the planet is currently in Warlord Zsinj's territory.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Alfred Hitcock Presents: In "Man From the South" (1950s and 1980s versions), a young gambler accepts a bet that he can't light his cigarette lighter ten times in a row; if he loses the bet, he'll lose a finger.
  • 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.
  • 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 Captain Miller matches up a blind man whose apartment keeps getting robbed with a newly-evicted man facing homelessness. That leads to 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)
  • 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.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: An arc in the first half of the first season revolves around a bet between Detectives Jake Peralta and Amy Santiago over who solves more felony cases; the loser has to do something horrible and embarrassing. Jake says he'll give up his beloved car if he loses, while Amy says she'll go on a date with him in that horrible car if she loses. 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.
  • Castle: In "The Double-Down," Ryan and Espinoza made a bet that they could solve the case they were working on before Castle and Beckett could solve theirs. The bet became complicated when they discovered that both cases were linked.
  • The premise of the 1974-76 game show Celebrity Sweepstakes was for two players making wagers on a panel of celebrities answering questions with betting odds posted on each celebrity by the studio audience. The final question was an all-or-nothing wager.
    • I'll Bet (with its revival It's Your Bet) and Liars Club, each from the same producer, had betting motifs as well but with different game rules. The former had celebrity couples wagering points on how well their spouses answered questions; the latter had contestants wagering on which panelist was telling the truth about an unusual item.
  • CSI: 'Hitting for 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.
  • CSI: NY:
    • Part of the second episode of season 8 was a betting pool about when Mac would return to the lab.
    • '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.
  • Drake & Josh:
    • One episode titled "The Bet" had Drake (who's addicted to junk food) and Josh (who's addicted to video games) having a contest on who could quit their obession the longer, with the loser dying their hair pink. The parents also bet on who would win (Audrey bets on Josh while Walter bets on Drake), with the loser having to join their kid in the punishment. Long story short, the contest ends in a tie, resulting in everyone except Megan dying their hair pink. However, what they don't know is that Drake doesn't go entirely through with it; he bought a pink wig instead so he wouldn't endure humiliation in school, to which he says, "Idiots."
    • In another episode Drake and Josh bet who can get more dates in a week. If Josh wins, Drake has to give up his loft bed to him while Drake gets Josh's perfect attendance trophy if he wins. Drake ends up falling in love with the first girl he meets and stops caring about the bet so he can date her exclusively, so Josh wins this one. However, after Josh injures himself climbing out of the loft bed at night, he requests that he and Drake switch back.
  • Drop the Dead Donkey. After being mocked by his colleagues over being rejected by a girl, Dave snaps back that he can "pull any bird in this office," only to have an Oh, Crap! when Damien challenges him to seduce Joy Merryweather. Surprisingly he actually looks like he might succeed, so naturally Damien tips off Joy about the bet causing her to go literally Ax-Crazy.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • ER: during the third season, Doug and Carol had reconciled and were having a Secret Relationship. At the company Christmas party that year, Carol had become confident enough to announce that she and Doug were together again. After a few seconds, one nurse held out her hand and said, "Pay up!"
  • Friends:
    • 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.
    • In the season seven Thanksgiving episode the gang play a game where they try to list all 50 states from memory in one minute. Ross only manages to come up with 46 during his minute and bets that he can remember the other four before dinner or he doesn't get any of the meal. In the early hours of the next morning he shows up at Chandler and Monica's to hand over his list and tuck into the leftovers...which is when Chandler tells him he still only has 49 states. Ross decides he doesn't care anymore and keeps eating while Chandler goes back to bed.
    • When Rachel's pregnancy is overdue Phoebe and Monica place bets on when she'll deliver. As the days drag on they keep renewing their bets with Monica losing every time. Eventually Rachel finds out what they're doing and asks if she can get in on the action, reasoning that if she has to endure the discomfort "I can at least make some money out of it".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Home Improvement: In "Up Your Alley", Jill challenges Tim to a bowling game. The loser has to kiss the winner's shoes in public.
  • 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.
    • There's also the series-long running gag about the "Slap Bet". In season two Marshall and Barney make a bet over a secret Robin is keeping from them with the winner getting to slap the loser in the face. Lily thinks the whole thing is immature until they make her "Slap Bet Comissioner" with the power to judge who wins. Technically neither of them won as they were both wrong but Lily decides to punish Barney for slapping Marshall without "Comissioner's approval". She gives Barney a choice: either ten slaps immediately or five doled out whenever Marshall feels like it for the rest of their lives. Barney chooses the five slaps which Marshall hands out over the rest of the series. The number gets increased as a condition of Barney no longer having to wear the Ducky Tie... itself the result of yet another bet.
  • 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.
  • iCarly:
    • "iWant More Viewers" has Carly and Sam facing off against Freddie and Spencer in a challenge to see whose idea to draw more viewers to the webcast is better; the team that loses will have to touch Lewbert's wart.
    • "iFence" features a subplot of Sam and Freddie betting each other that Sam wouldn't read a chapter book by the end of the week.
  • In one episode of I Love Lucy, Lucy makes a bet with Ricky that she can go without buying a new hat for longer than he can go without losing his temper. She loses the bet almost immediately when she goes to return a hat she bought before the bet and ends up being sweet-talked by the hat seller into buying a new one, and spends the rest of the episode trying to get Ricky to lose his temper before her hat is delivered to their home so that he'll think he lost the bet instead.
  • 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.
  • This is the entire premise of the show Kenny vs. Spenny.
  • In Lockwood & Co. (2023), Lockwood and Kipps place a bet on who manages to solve the Bone Glass case, with the loser retiring from the business. Lucy lambasts Lockwood on how stupid this is, which he eventually admits to be true. Him and Kipps agree to drop it in the end.
  • Mimpi Metropolitan:
    • In episode 22, Prima bets with Akbar that Bambang will be able to act for AADC or else Prima and Bambang will help the crew for two days. Prima loses (partly because of a facial cream rather than Bambang's acting), so Prima and Bambang spends the next two episodes working for Akbar.
    • In episode 46, Bambang is ready to accept if Melani is meant to end up with someone else and Juna shows up proclaiming himself to be that someone. Bambang responds by betting that he will clean Juna's clothes for a year if Melani does love Juna. The episode then has Juna trying to get close to Melani before making a love confession at the ending. Juna loses the bet, and Melani is not happy with either of them when she finds out about the bet.
  • 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.
  • Radio Enfer:
    • Vincent bets that Carl couldn't spend 24 hours without insulting anyone. Carl loses when he insults Jocelyne's husband Gilbert after the latter insulted Jean-Lou.
    • Carl bets that Vincent couldn't beat Jean-Lou in a game of chess (in an episode where Jean-Lou becomes smart after hitting his head during a gym class). Carl loses when Jean-Lou becomes an idiot again.
    • Maria mocks her grandmother for knitting and thinks it's ridiculous. Her grandma responds by making a bet about Maria being able to knit anything within a day, with Maria getting $20 if she succeeds. What she ends up knitting ends up in a fire, making her lose her bet.
    • In a Season 5 episode, Carl bets that Germain and Jean-David could build a shelf within a day. If they aren't able to, Maria could then have her new radio show. The bet is cancelled when Maria manages to get a job at a fashion boutique. If the bet hadn't been cancelled, she would have won given that the shelf fell into pieces after Mr. Giroux threw a piece of paper at it.
  • 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 BSoD (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.
  • The Star Trek: Voyager episode "Someone to Watch Over Me" has Tom Paris challenging the holographic Doctor to find a date for No Social Skills Ice Queen Seven of Nine. The Doctor ends up falling for Seven and dating her himself — unfortunately, Seven finds out as usual for this trope and this serves as a Shipping Torpedo for any future Doc/Seven relationship.
  • In the Tales from the Crypt episode "Cutting Cards", Reno and Sam, each of whom is as much The Gambling Addict as the other and sees the other as The Rival, upon meeting each other again after years of winning and losing to the other, decide to bet against the other one more time, with the loser having to leave town for good (or dying, in the case of the Russian roulette). Unfortunately for the both of them, they keep drawing with each othernote , and it's still not resolved by the end of the episode.
  • Tales of the Unexpected: In "the Man from the South", A young American couple on holiday meet a mysterious old gentleman who makes them a macabre wager. If the youth's lighter works ten times in a row, he gets a new Jaguar. But if it fails just once the old man gets chop off the youth's left pinky.
  • The trope is mocked in 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.
  • In one episode of Three's Company, Janet and Chrissy bet Jack that Chrissy can go for longer without any food or drink other than water than Jack can go without flirting with or touching a woman. Neither Chrissy nor Jack take their self-imposed abstinences well and both of them try to cheat; Janet and Chrissy invite over an old girlfriend of Jack's named Grace to tempt him, and Jack brings home delicious food he knows Chrissy loves. Jack ultimately wins the bet, but it's a hollow victory as Grace storms off on him after he holds out on her one too many times while Chrissy gets to happily munch on some chocolate cake.
  • 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.
  • Young Sheldon: In "The Wild and Woolly World of Nonlinear Dynamics", Missy bets a dollar that Sheldon won't still be watching Star Trek and reading comic books 30 years later. Adult Sheldon notes that Missy hasn't paid him yet, and that he's wearing Star Trek underwear right now.
  • Zoey 101: This is the plot, or sub-plot, of several episodes (commonly, girls vs. boys, but also guys vs. guys, everyone vs. Logan)


  • 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 realize 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.

  • The stage show Are You Dave Gorman? was created after comedian Dave Gorman bet his roommate Danny that he could find 54 other Dave Gormans, one for every card in a standard deck, including the jokers. This eventually was adapted into a book of the same title and a six-episode TV series, The Dave Gorman Collection.
  • George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion, which was turned into the musical My Fair Lady, has Colonel Pickering betting his friend Higgins, professor of phonetics, that he can't make good on his boast that he could turn Cockney flower girl Eliza into a Duchess.

    Video Games 
  • 80 Days: As in the original novel, Fogg's wager with the Reform Club in which he bets he can go around the world in eighty days drives the narrative.
  • Case 02: Paranormal Evil: Jade pays Brucie to heal Marty because she wants to place bets on his chances of success in defeating the cult and saving Sally. Notably, she bets against Marty, showing that she had him healed with the expectation that he'd fail, though she does make the wager fair by leaving hints about bosses. This also makes Brucie's subtle encouragement towards Marty come off as pragmatic, since he's betting money on Marty's success.

    Visual Novels 
  • The main plot of A Date with Death is driven by a wager between the player character and the self-proclaimed Grim Reaper who is determined to claim their soul. If the latter can claim it within seven days, it's his, but if the player character survives, they get to have his soul.

    Web Animation 
  • The debut episode of HANDS UP (Joel G) centers around a bet between Margo and Ula over what to get for dinner. Said bet involvesRussian Roulette, and the winner would get to pick dinner depending on whether or not the gun fired. Margo instantly wins by taking a bullet point-blank to the head and surviving. It's later mentioned by Joel Guerra himself that she's immortal and likely took advantage of it to rig it in her favour.

  • Furry Fight Chronicles:
    • Cookie makes a bet with Manugo, Muko's former boss at Cafe Carrots, in Chapter 3. If Muko earns more sales than his maids, they get the sales money for the whole week. But if the maids win, Muko has to work for free for a month.
    • A bigger bet is made on Chapter 31 by Freydar of all people. She challenges Muko and Kalita to a two-on-one fight. If they win, they can skip the Tendonchi Challenges and fight Skully and Bolouma. If they lose, they and Cookie have to leave town. Shun convinces her to change the terms since Freydar still has a Game-Breaking Injury so she has them fight a two-on-two fight with Combagals she will personally train with the bet conditions being the same. Cookie wisely chooses not to take the challenge, anticipating that Freydar's Combagals may be stronger than Skully and Bolouma.
  • 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 Twenty-Fifth Bam on who will pass a barrier first. The winner got to ask the loser some questions.
    • Anaak and Endorsi 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 Shinsu 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.

    Web Videos 
  • In Belkinus Necrohunt, after meeting Lancel, Renee and Nathaniel make a bet that, if Renee can't figure out Lancel's connection to Nathaniel on her own by the end of the campaign, Renee would lose her job. Renee ends up failing when the Black-Veined Queen brings it up during her blackmail attempt, but in a case of Exact Words, the campaign ends with Nathaniel deciding to leave the Witchtakers and promoting Renee to his position.
  • The British Railway Stories: In episode 5, Hand Of The Fair Maid, Sir Ralph makes a bet with Allen over which of them can pull the mid-day express faster. The winner of the bet gets to be the engine to pull the new express train, The Fair Maid.
  • The first season of Pretty Dudes hinges on this trope. The titular Dudes enter a bet to see who can find their gay friend Zario a new man. The fact that the other five Dudes all seem to identify as straight (at least initially) causes much of the initial situational comedy.
  • Video Game High School frequently has characters making wagers on video games with real-world consequences.

    Western Animation 
  • The Arthur episode "I'm a Poet", which was later adapted into a book called "Arthur and the Poetry Contest", has Fern making a bet that her friends will all have to write a poem and have them submitted by the time of the poetry contest, or they will have to join poetry club for a whole year.
  • Big City Greens: In "Fast Foodie" when Bill is against the idea of Cricket and Tilly eating Burger Clown food every day for every meal, Cricket decides to take that wager and bets he and Tilly can do that and not face any consequences; Bill was only using the term "I bet" metaphorically, but Cricket takes that term too literally. As predicted, Cricket becomes overweight and exhausted, while Tilly becomes ill and green in the face.
  • DuckTales (2017): One of the main Story Arcs for Season 2 revolves around an extreme bet by Scrooge and Glomgold; whoever has the most money at the end of the year gets the loser's company and becomes the richest duck in the world for all time.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: In "All Eds Are Off", the Eds, Jonny, Kevin, and Rolf all make a bet to see who can put off their most annoying habit the longest. Ed has to give up gravy, Edd can't speak in Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, Eddy can't shout, Kevin can't say the word "dork", Jonny can't talk to Plank, and Rolf has to give up meat. Eddy manages to make the others crack by trolling them, but when Ed dives into a vat of gravy, Eddy screams for his victory until finding out that the gravy was actually butterscotch, meaning that Eddy lost and everyone has to give Ed 25 cents.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: When Vicky bullies the younger kids at a skate park, Timmy makes a bet with her that he can beat her in a skating competition. If Timmy wins, the kids can skate on the big ramp. If Vicky wins, the kids are are banned. Unfortunately, after making the bet, Timmy finds out that Cosmo and Wanda can't help him win a contest.
  • 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.
  • This is actually the behind point of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Mr. Herriman agrees to prevent Bloo from getting adopted, but makes a condition that in order to do so, Mac must visit Foster's every day.
  • In Futurama, Fry bets Bender he can get as many followers on Twitcher as him without sinking to his level, with the first one to get a million followers winning one dollar, but the loser has to jump into a tub filled with alien goat vomit. Long story short, even though it's a tie, Fry ends up jumping.
  • 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.
  • 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. If Stan wins, Mabel has to wear a "LOSER" shirt for the rest of the summer; if Mabel wins, she becomes the boss and Stan has to sing an apology song she wrote.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 win, 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, and everyone at the airport cheers them on.
  • Molly of Denali: In "Leader of the Pack," Jay motivates Tooey to train Kih to ignore distractions by making a bet with him. If Tooey is successful, he will be allowed to wear Jay's signed Kamaka Hepa jersey for one week.
  • A high-stakes bet between Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca is what kicks off the plot of Onyx Equinox. Quetzalcoatl, tasked with sealing the five gates to the Underworld, declares that he'll have a lowly human do it instead, before Tezcatlipoca proceeds with wiping out humanity on the Equinox. The winner will receive all the blood sacrifices meant for the loser.
  • The Owl House has this as the plot of several episodes, with one of these episodes having a bet being the driving force of both the A- and B- plots. In addition, only one of the bets throughout all these episodes actually end in an undisputed victory, with all the others having the winner unable to exploit the terms of the bet or having no winner at all.
  • In Phineas and Ferb, Carl and Major Monogram had an unspecified bet, which Monogram loses. Apparently, the loser had to give the other one a back massage, while the winner had to make the loser "talk". But the loser apparently is not required to dress up as a clown.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man: 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.
    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!
  • 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 for a year; 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.

    Real Life 
  • 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?
    "You lose."
  • 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.

Romance Examples:

    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.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • 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.
  • Harmless reveals that all the ghosts apparently got together to organize a betting pool on how long it'd take for Danny and Sam to confess their feelings and have a Relationship Upgrade (the Box Ghost won, having predicted it would literally take The End of the World as We Know It to occur). Tucker is disappointed to find out he was left out of all this.
  • Child of the Storm: After the sequel's big long-awaited Relationship Upgrade between Harry and Carol moment, quite a few people are revealed to have been betting on the situation. Not on if it would happen, mind you; that much was obvious. No, the bet was on when it would happen.

    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.
  • In Latter Days, gay man Christian makes a bet with his friends that he can seduce Mormon missionary Aaron. By the time he manages it, he's already head over heels in love with Aaron.
  • 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.'"
  • Heart In Hand: Darryl makes a bet with his hockey rival Alex that if Alex can get a "Mexican hat trick" (scoring six goals in a single hockey game), Alex can fuck Darryl. It's played with a bit in that Alex thought that Darryl meant "you can fuck me" in a figurative sense only and that him winning it would just mean that he'd get to mock Darryl endlessly about it. He's quite shocked when Darryl shows up at his house in the middle of the night to demand that he fulfill his end of the bet by literally fucking him.
  • In Roald Dahl's short story "Taste", stockbroker Mike Schofield often bets a case of wine that renowned epicure Richard Pratt will not be able to identify the year and vineyard of the wine in question. He's usually happy to lose as he can afford it and it means his wine is good enough to be recognised, but on the evening of the story, Pratt changes the bet—he puts up his two houses against the hand of Schofield's eighteen-year-old daughter. Louise Schofield makes it clear she doesn't want to marry him, but her father is so confident in his choice that he pressures her into accepting the bet. Though Pratt wins after a lengthy tasting monologue and is about to demand his prize, the housemaid (who's been watching quietly the whole time) steps up and returns his lost spectacles, pointedly revealing where she found them—in Schofield's study, where the wine had been left to breathe as per Pratt's own advice from a previous visit.

    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 
    "Lord Cholmondely has given two guineasnote  to Lord Derby, to receive 500 guineasnote  whenever his lordship 'plays hospitals' with a woman in a balloon 1,000 yards from the Earth." For "plays hospitals with" I think you can insert your ownword."
  • 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.
  • Radio Enfer: Vincent bets that Carl couldn't be able to get a date with Maria (which was before the latter two hooked up for the first time). Carl wins by convincing Dominique, who is known for being into astrology, to help him in exchange of a part of Vincent's betting money. She falsely predicted to Maria that the next guy who will talk to her will be the right one for her. And when Maria overheard Carl saying that he might finally own his first car, she took this opportunity to have a date with him.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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.

  • The Wotch had Robin bet that he would ask out the next girl he saw. Naturally, that just happened to be his longtime Stalker with a Crush Cassie.

    Web Original 
  • "American Whoopee" has the main trio of boys making a bet about losing their virginities before the stock market crashes. This being 1925, one of them says that that will never happen!

    Western Animation 
  • Drawn Together has a chapter where Captain Hero bets with Spanky Ham he will get laid with Princess Clara's mentailly-challenged sister. And even more so vice versa. When Hero begins to fall in love with her, Spanky exploits this trope by feigning defeat in front of Clara, and invoke her into preventing Hero and Clara's sister from seeing each other again.
  • 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 Spider-Man: 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 relly 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 subversion, MJ doesn't care in the slightest, even making a 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 dressed as a cheerleader to honor the bet, forced his teammates into similar outfits.


Video Example(s):


Terror Tales of the Park 3

During the park crew's Halloween party, the make a bet on who can tell the scariest story. With the winner getting everyone's candy and the loser (i.e. Thomas) having to wear their costume until Thanksgiving.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / HalloweenEpisode

Media sources: