One of the quietest guys in poker is also one of the most dangerous. Ted Forrest looks like an ordinary guy and that’s what makes him so deceptive. Over the last decade, Forrest has emerged as one of the premiere Seven-card Stud players in addition to being one of the most successful high stakes games players. He has over $3.3 million in career tournament earnings and leads the life of a true gambler. There are hundreds of crazy Ted Forrest stories where he was engaged in prop bets with his fellow poker players. Whether it’s betting on running a marathon or playing in the World Series of Poker, Ted Forrest will more than likely come out ahead.
Ted Forrest - Source: Las Vegas & Poker
Forrest is well-liked among his peers. He backs more players than anyone around and even has the reputation of backing losing players. He certainly has a certain disregard for money which is one of the reasons why he’s a successful poker player. He’s able to detach himself from the money in order to make sound decisions.
Forrest has been involved in some of the craziest prop bets around. He ran a marathon in Las Vegas under a veil of 115 degree scorching heat in order to win $7,000. He won $10,000 for doing a standing backflip. He also bet that he could drink ten beers in thirty minutes and easily won $10,000. In one of my favorite stories, Forrest won $1.5 million off of Barry Greenstein during a month long game of Chinese Poker.
Ted Forrest was born in Syracuse, New York in 1964. He was an excellent athlete and competed on his high school wrestling, track, football, and basketball teams. He also developed a love for the outdoors. At the age of 16, he took off one summer for the Grand Canyon. He spent several weeks there camping and hiking alone without telling anyone, not even his family. When he was busted by Park Rangers for failing to submit an itinerary and purchasing a camping pass, he escaped via a treacherous hike without any equipment. He caught a bus to St. Louis to stay with relatives. He was lost and found himself robbed at knife point by a heroin addict. Forrest sought revenge and hung out at the bus station for several days looking to jump the junkie and secure the $20 in cash and $400 in traveler’s checks that were stolen. Forrest never ran into his robber and avoided a nasty confrontation. From an early age Forrest experienced a lot of difficult and stressful situations that required him to think on his feet and succeed on his own. That summer trip helped solidify the foundation of his mental toughness.
Forrest left LeMoyne College where his father was an English professor. He headed out West and found a job at the Grand Canyon. He often took trips to Las Vegas to play poker, specifically Seven-card Stud. He even worked as a prop player at Palace Station where he almost lost his entire bankroll in one session. He hunkered down and ended the night ahead, which would end up being the story for the rest of his adult life. Forrest returned to school but never graduated. He left for good after his father’s death and returned to Las Vegas.
Forrest had plenty of ups and downs early on in his career, which is something that all professional poker players experience at one time. He spent a good amount of time in the box as a dealer, where he learned to read people extremely well, which is one of his strengths at the poker table. Forrest is known to play any two cards because he’s extremely confident in his uncanny ability to read his opponents.
Forrest points to a specific session at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, CA in 1991 as the turning point in his poker career. He was normally a middle-stake Stud player but had been backed to play in a high stakes Razz game that featured plenty of wealthy but inexperienced Razz players. He was down early but hung in to win over $20,000 in a brutal 25-hour session. That run boosted his bankroll and his confidence. He never looked back.
In 1993, Forrest did the near-impossible. He won three bracelets at the World Series of Poker, a feat that has only been accomplished by a few players such as Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth. He won over $300,000 and bracelets in Razz, Omaha 8, and the $5,000 Seven-card Stud event, which is the highest buy-in Stud event at the WSOP. He had to outlast a final table that featured An Tran, Chip Reese, and Howard Lederer. Over the next six years Ted Forrest would make six more final tables at the WSOP with two 10th place finishes and two runner-up performances.
Forrest left the tournament poker scene for a few years and concentrated on his cash game skills. In 2003, he returned to the circuit and made a final table WPT Championship and took 4th at the WSOP Razz event that was won by his good friend Huck Seed. Forrest won two more bracelets in 2004 for Seven-card Stud and No Limit Hold’em. He made two more final tables on the WPT (L.A. Poker Classic in 2004 and the Mirage Poker Showdown).
In 2005, Forrest won the U.S. Heads Up Poker Championship at Caesar’s Palace beating out Chris “Jesus” Ferguson. That win came just a few weeks after Forrest lost over $3.8 million to Texas billionaire Andy Beal. Forrest was part of the “Corporation,” a group of Las Vegas pros who took on Andy Beal in a series of super high stakes heads-up matches. Those games were chronicled in Michael Craig’s book “The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King.”
Forrest is rumored to be the “suicide king” in “The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King.” Craig won’t reveal his answer, but many experts agree that the suicide king symbolizes the razor thin line that professional gamblers have to carefully walk while juggling success and self-destruction.
Ted Forrest lives in Las Vegas, NV and can be found in card rooms all over Southern California and Nevada. He’s also on the tournament circuit and plays online at Full Tilt Poker.