Can Poker Pro Theo Jorgensen Outrun a Penguin?

If there’s one thing poker pro Theo Jorgensen is known for, it’s his inability to turn down a prop bet. The 36 year old Danish poker star is also known for his elite tactics on the European Poker Tour, many of which helped to earn him a live poker tournament career total of more than $2.8 million. But the prop bets make for much more interesting stories.

Last week, Jorgensen admitted to an anecdotal prop bet on his personal Team PokerStars blog in which the Dane had aligned himself with a penguin in a hypothetical race on ice. How does one end up in such a position? That’s a great question, worthy of an obvious side note: yes, alcohol was involved.

According to the poker pro, he was attending a baby shower and ended up seated around a table of diverse characters, enjoying food, booze and varied conversation. As it turned out, one of his tableside companions was a zookeeper.

At one point, while discussing the zookeeper’s illustrious employment, the dialogue turned to penguins. Jorgensen found himself uttering the words, “It’s amazing how fast these penguins are in the water and how slow they are on ground.”

That was his first mistake. His second mistake was his manly inability to ignore the zookeeper’s response, which, to the Danish poker pro, sounded like a propositional challenge just waiting to happen.

“You would be surprised, Theo,” she replied. “I would bet you that our fastest penguin would outrun you over a short distance on ice.”

There it was. She used the word “bet”. Jorgensen was hooked. He noted in his blog post his perpetual incapacity to disregard any challenge of his manhood, and this certainly fell into that category. To deny such a proposition, in his undeniably quotable word: “I might as well have stood up and cut off my testicles right there at the table.”

Rather than dropping trou and disgracing his virility, Theo was compelled to do the opposite. He agreed to the bet, decreeing that he was more than capable of outrunning a silly penguin. The stakes; dinner for four. After all, what was the harm? If he won, he could boast that he had won yet another prop bet. If he lost, he would merely pay the bill of an elegant dinner for four. No big deal, right?

Wrong. Back at home, Jorgensen’s girlfriend made a logical point that not only is Jorgensen a terrible runner (his soccer coach said that “oil tankers make faster U-turns”), his challenger – the zookeeper – has no clue how bad of a runner Theo is, but did know a great deal about the speed of penguins. While the poker pro waved this off, she went on to indicate that losing meant more than a 4-person meal ticket. It meant that Jorgensen would become “the guy that was outrun by a penguin”.

With that notation, Theo began to prepare for the race of his life, visiting the local ice rink and hiring data analysts to track his progress in various pairs of running shoes. This was now a serious matter!

Fortunately for Jorgensen, the logistics of the prop bet turned out to be inconceivable. There was no feasible way for them to tell the penguin to run, nor in what direction to run, and more importantly, no way for the zookeeper to abscond with a penguin from her place of employment, at least not without the risk of becoming unemployed.

Alas, we will never know whether the Danish poker pro is faster than a penguin, but we do know this. If anyone has a ridiculous prop bet they wish to become reality, they simply need scour the tables at PokerStars to find Theo Jorgensen.