After the Avalanche got knocked out of the Stanley Cup playoffs in the second round, many Coloradans lost interest. But not this man: an employee at Bistro Vendôme whose long-shot bet on the St. Louis Blues resulted in a $20,000 payoff. Matt, who asked that we only use his first name, grew up in St. Louis and is a lifelong Blues fan. He placed his bet in January, when the Blues were at the bottom of the Western Conference standings; at the time, Las Vegas oddsmakers rated St. Louis as a 200-to-1 chance to win the Stanley Cup.
Ever a fan, Matt “knew they were better than that,” he says, and placed a $100 bet — continuing a tradition from when he lived in Las Vegas and placed two, and only two, sports bets every year: $100 each on the Cardinals to win the World Series and the Blues to win the Stanley Cup. This nearly paid off for him in 2011, when the Cardinals became champions, but Matt missed out: He threw away his ticket when the Cardinals were trailing in the standings earlier that season. “This time I kept it,” Matt says.
Matt was only able to watch the last five minutes of the decisive game seven between St. Louis and the Boston Bruins. He’d been working earlier, and Bistro Vendôme — like many restaurants — prohibits employee cell phone use. He was not the only employee who’d invested in the playoff series, either: He’d made a $20 wager with a co-worker who happens to be both a Bruins fan and a gracious loser. “Within five minutes of the end of the game,” Matt recalls, “I had the Venmo notification and a note saying ‘The Blues kicked our butts tonight.’”
Matt was already planning a trip to New York this month. After winning, he made reservations at Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin and got tickets to see both Hamilton and The Book of Mormon.
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Even with the windfall, Matt says the best part was the Blues ending their title drought. “If I were in St. Louis,” he says, “I would have been at my grandfather’s grave listening to the game on the radio with my dad. This means so much for so many people and a city that needed it.”