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Bar bet

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A bar bet is a bet made between two patrons at a bar. Bar bets can range from wagers about little-known trivia, such as obscure historical facts, to feats of skill and strength. Some bar bets are intended to trick the other party into losing.

Famous bar bets

  • The annual Midnight Sun baseball game played in Fairbanks, Alaska (the only game to be contested after midnight without the use of artificial lighting) was established in 1906 as the result of a bar bet.1 2
  • Two of Tony Hawks’ books, Round Ireland With A Fridge (ISBN 0-091-86777-0) and Playing The Moldovans At Tennis (ISBN 0-091-87456-4), were written describing Hawks’ attempts to win two bar bets.
  • The film To Have and Have Not is supposedly the result of bar bet between Ernest Hemingway and Howard Hawks, with Hemingway betting Hawks that Hawks couldn’t make a good film from Hemingway’s worst novel.3
  • It is widely believed that the creation of Scientology was the result of a bar bet between L. Ron Hubbard and Robert A. Heinlein. According to Scientology critic Lindsay this is “definitely not true”, no such bet was ever made, it would have been “uncharacteristic of Heinlein” to make such a bet, and “there’s no supporting evidence”.


  1. Midnight Sun Game. Alaska Goldpanners. Retrieved on 2005-12-19.
  2. Williams, Van, “100 Years of Midnight Baseball Fun in Fairbanks: A 1906 bar bet has turned into a tradition on summer solstice”, Anchorage Daily News, 2005-06-22.
  3. To Have and Have Not. The Rake. Retrieved on 2005-12-19.
  4. Don Lindsay. Non-Scientologist FAQ on “start a religion”. Church of Scientology exposed. Retrieved on 2005-12-19.

Further reading

  • Three Bar Bets Involving Fire. Daily Lush Magazine. Retrieved on 2005-12-19. — The Daily Lush describes a bar bet as being the “last remnant of a great American con artist tradition” and gives examples of bar bets.
  • Rub Cruit (October 1985). 175 Ways to Win a Free Drink: The Complete Book of Bar Bets. Dodd Mead. ISBN 0396085865.
  • Henny Youngman (1974). Bar bets, bar jokes, bar tricks. Citadel Press. ISBN 0806504048.
  • Alan Ericksen (1981). Bar games, bets and challenges. Warner Books. ISBN 0446906484.


  • Gerry Riskin. Want to win a bar bet?. Amazing firms, amazing practices. Retrieved on 2005-12-19, 2005-10-14. — An example of a trick bar bet. Riskin describes a bar bet where the correct answer to the question about a photograph of a man tied to a chair is not the obvious one.
  • Even and Odd Permutations. Introduction to Group Theory. Retrieved on 2005-12-19. — Another trick bar bet. The trick lies in the even and odd parity of the initial and final conditions.

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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