Just a few minutes ago I bet my friend fifty dollars that she couldn't crawl under my piano and stand up in the tiny gap between it and the wall. Well she got under the piano alright and got across to the space near the wall where she had to stand up.

That is where she stopped.

I was worried for a little while as it looked like she might just fit through the gap and stand up after all. She was saying all this stuff about how I should get my $50 ready to pay her. She didn't fit though, and emerged from underneath the piano redfaced and looking annoyed.

I said, "Well that will be $50 thanks."

To which she replied, "You bet me $50 that I couldn't get though, I didn't bet you!"

I was rather perplexed at this remark. A bet is a bet. If I bet you, and I win, you have to pay me. There is no "You bet that I couldn't do it, I didn't bet that I could.". If I bet you something and you say "You're on" then we have a BET and one of us will pay the other depending on the outcome of what we bet on! It doesn't matter who suggested the bet in the first place, it is a mutual agreement between two people. Someone wins a bet, or someone loses a bet.

Obviously no one had explained this to my friend. She honestly thought that she didn't have to pay me. What is the point of betting on something if there is no possibility that you can win! Or if you do win you don't actually gain anything from winning. Perhaps there is some hidden mystery here and I am just too logical for my own good. She believed what she was saying too. It wasn't just an attempt to get out of paying me the money, she honestly didn't think she owed me anything.

Well I have attempted to educate my friend in the betting process and I didn't make her pay me the $50, I am too much of a nice guy for that. It just struck me as completely and utterly bizarre what she said. If I win the bet, you really do have to pay me.

Not necessarily - For every bet each party lays down a stake. In poker, you have to match the stake or drop out. In pontoon, the dealer matches your stake exactly. But in horse racing, the bookkeeper often stakes a lot more than the punter, due to the low odds of the punter actually winning.

In this case you've defined the condition, and the stake that you're wagering, but have left her side of the wager implied. In bets where the condition is ridiculous (bet you can't eat three live goldfish!), the bettor often only expects to win the satisfaction of seeing the other party humiliate themselves in an amusing manner...

Of course, if the bet was in all seriousness, both of you should have laid your money down into a pot (or in escrow with a third party), leaving no room for ambiguity. And make sure you shake on it!
In the case of the piano bet, at least one party could control the event. If they tried hard enough. Maybe.

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