5 Hilarious Money Matches I’ve actually played

Ah, the money match. The cornerstone of the competitive gaming scene. Pro gamers will find a reason to bet small amounts of money on just about anything. Even after a crushing loss in a tournament setting, pro-gamers will traverse the tournament grounds looking for other gamers who will put their money where their mouth is, in the hopes of winning back their tournament entry fee. Money matches are also the second most watched event at a tournament other than the tournament itself.

But money matches are also stressful, as is all gambling. A crushing loss will create an even deeper hole in your pocket. A swarm of sharks looking for prey is enough to scare most competitors out of the money match scene. But experiencing the money match is an important part of being in the fighting game, or any pro gaming community.

That’s where these matches come in. These are the goofy, weird, and just plain fun varieties of money matches that the fighting game community has come up with when they have had enough of straight wagers. Many have an element of randomness to them, which evens the playing field when going up against a much more skilled competitor. Others have an element of humiliation to them which creates a fantastic spectacle for the crowd. Still others simply have low stakes, inviting players of all skill to participate since they have so little to lose. These are the wacky events that are designed to make everyone have a good time, rather than allow one person to make money.

These are five hilarious money matches I’ve actually played. Feel free to host any of these at your next local tournament!

The Life’s Little Responsibilities Money Match

Sometimes you have to make compromises to go to your weekly gaming session, compromises like not cleaning your bathroom or forgetting to make diner. That’s where the Life’s Little Responsibilities Money Match comes in. Fight a couple of these and your chores will be done in no time, and you won’t even have to do them!

You see, the prospect of losing money is nerve wracking for some people who otherwise would have a lot of fun jumping into the competitive gaming pool. This is how you get them in. Instead of betting money, you bet labor! Things like “if I win you’ll shovel my driveway the next time it snows” or “if I win you are my ride home instead of the train.”

This is by far the tamest of the money matches I have played, but it serves an important social purpose. It’s natural to feel like a dick when you ask someone for favors, but when that favor is won at a tournament it feels earned. After all, challenging people to video games for prizes is just what pro gamers do. I cannot tell you how many times my gaming group would have skipped out on major tournaments simply because they had chores to do if it weren’t for this goofy money match. Heck, my successful wins have gotten me home cooked meals, a washed car, a vacuumed rug, and several walked dogs.

The Inverse Money Match

The goal of this money match is simple. All you have to do is lose the game. That’s it. It’s easier said than done because your opponent is also trying to lose the game, and simply sitting there doing nothing will result in a tie. So you somehow have to figure out how to make your opponent attack you, or otherwise find a way to keep your opponent in the game while you figure out how to lose.

I first experienced this kind of match in the Smash Bros. community, and it’s deeper than you’d think. At first, both players simply run off the stage and die, but eventually someone finds that there are better strategies than that. For example, if you run after your opponent and knock them vertically, you will lose your life before them and get a hard to beat lead. This type of money match is even crazier when done in multiplayer settings, where everyone attempts to gang up on the player who is winning, grab stalling them, to pull them behind while releasing them in enough time to tank their own lives.

I’ve heard stories of this type of match being played to hilarious success in shooter crowds, especially when it comes to old style arcade shooters. The mad dash to a grenade or rocket launcher just to blow yourself up is apparently tons of fun to play and equally as fun to watch for spectators.

The Mystery Game Money Match

This is a pretty standard money match except both players have no idea what game they are playing before they start. They have to rely on their adaptability and overall skill to survive. It’s one of the tensest and hypest money matches I have participated in, as both players struggle to figure out their game and play it at the same time.

In the best case scenario, you would have a list of approved games prepared beforehand and would choose one randomly out of a hat. It’s not quite fair if you draw a game that one player is a pro at and another has never tried. So try to keep this to obscure games that no one has ever played, or that no one would expect to play at a pro gaming tournament. Games I have played in mystery money matches include Catherine, Star Fox 64, Sailor Moon Super S, Rock Paper Scissors, and Yomi.

The Horse Head Money Match

OK, so you know those giant rubber horse head masks that were really popular for a while and no one knew why? Well, they creeped their way into the pro gaming scene. A few years ago, people would start wearing the horse head mask to tournaments as spectators and sometimes even participants. Once we realized that you could, barely, play a game with one of these on, the money match was designed.

I think the first horse head money match was played at Wednesday Night Fights, California’s most prominent weekly fighting game event. In essence, you are really just playing a best of three money matches. The winner of the first match has to then put on the horse head to fight the second match. Winning the second match allows you to take home the pot. You have to win twice though, meaning the winner ALWAYS has to be wearing a horse head.

In all honesty, this is more for the audience than the competitors, but then again most of these crazy money matches are. If the competitors were really serious, they’d just play for money and call it a day. But nothing quite draws a crowd than two horses battling for glory and the right to $5-$20. That will buy you a lot of hay… or whatever it is that horses like.

The Hot Sauce Money Match

This is by far my favorite style of money match, simply because of how evil it is. Here’s the setup. First, you find two competitors who are at the top of their game. Allow them to wager whatever amount of money they like. Then, you buy a pizza or similarly cheap food item. Then you buy the absolute hottest hot sauce you can find, and I’m talking super-hot. If it doesn’t at least have ghost peppers in it, you are doing it wrong. Then get a jug of milk and some solo cups and you are about ready for the torture.

Setup the game on one side of a large room. Put the milk and the solo cups (unpoured) on the other side of the room. Then, slather the pizza with the hot sauce. Set the money match to first to five wins (anything more is medically unadvisable). Every time someone wins a match, they have to take a bite of the spicy food. Make sure they take a big bite. No wimping out here.

Now here is the catch. They can get up and get a glass of ice cold milk whenever they want, but they can only do it if a match is currently in progress. This means they have to get up while their opponent can freely beat on them in order to quell the inferno that has sparked in their mouth. By your fourth win, you have to have eaten your entire piece of ultra-spicy pizza.

Yes, this match is evil, but it’s fun to watch and play! Watching it is pure schadenfreude and playing gets you a free meal, even if you lose the money. Everybody wins!

I mean, except for the bowels of the competitors in about an hour. After their inevitable bathroom break, I guarantee you everyone at the tournament loses.

What are some crazy money matches you have played? Let us know in the comments.