When it comes to television, no series had more of an impact on pop culture in the 1990s than Seinfeld. What makes the show so special is how it touched on a variety of topics without actually saying anything concrete about them. One of those topics was sports betting, which was featured prominently in multiple episodes.
Below, you’ll find the best episodes about gambling, in the order that they aired.
The Subway: Season 3, Ep 13
Kramer overhears a horse racing tip on the subway and runs with it. He goes to his usual off-track betting (OTB) haunt, places a $600 30-1 bet and wins $18,000. Good news since he owes about that much in traffic violations, one of which is “no doors.” Doors are very important parts of cars.
Unfortunately for the K-man, he is followed out of the OTB by a man in a beret and a trench coat. This man looks like a shrunken version of Andre the Giant and he wants Kramer’s winnings. For you millennials, Andre the Giant was a wrestler who also starred in The Princess Bride, aka the movie your parents saw on their first date.
They tussle and knock over a guy playing the fiddle. Fortunately, fiddle guy happens to be an undercover cop and saves the day.
The moral of this story: If a mini-Andre the Giant is chasing you after you win a bet, find the nearest fiddler. They’re definitely an undercover cop.
The Contest: Season 4, Ep 11
For some reason – a glitch in the Matrix? The Mandela effect? – this episode is sometimes referred to as “Seinfeld The Bet.” Although it does involve the bet of all bets, it’s actually called “The Contest.”
George’s mother, Estelle, catches him in the act of giving himself a “handshake.” The shock causes her to fall over, resulting in a trip to the hospital. The crew decides to wager on who can go the longest without “self-promoting.” Kramer is out almost immediately when he sees a naked woman in a neighboring apartment.
The rest of the gang won’t give up so easily. This does prove challenging since Jerry’s virginal girlfriend Marla won’t sleep with him, Elaine shares a cab with John F. Kennedy Jr. and they agree to meet up later, and George visits his mom in the hospital only to see a hot nurse giving a woman a sponge bath.
The episode wraps with Marla falling into the arms of JFK Jr. and George winning the contest. It is revealed in the series finale that he cheated and was not actually master of his domain.
Larry David won an Emmy for writing “The Contest” and claims to have based it on a real bet he made with his buddies.
The moral of this story: JFK Jr. is the most attractive Kennedy since RFK. Don’t @ me.
The Diplomat’s Club: Season 6, Ep 21
Jerry has a round-trip gig in Ithaca. Easy, right? Fly in, tell some jokes, fly out. His agent tells him that the pilot is in the audience, causing him to perform poorly. I too have trouble doing my job when a pilot is watching me. It’s nerve-racking.
While Jerry is bombing, Kramer is waiting for him at the Diplomat’s Club, the fancy airport lounge for people who have disposable income. For the millennials out there, disposable income is the money you have left over from each paycheck after your bills are paid. Crazy, right? Anyway, Kramer strikes up a conversation with a Texan, Earl Haffler, whose flight has been delayed, and they get to betting. It turns out the K-man is horrible at predicting which flights will arrive when and finds himself in the hole to the tune of $3,200.
Haffler is no chump, and needs to see some collateral. Kramer calls Newman, who delivers big time, with David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz’s mailbag. Creepy? Sure. Worth a lot of old green dudes? You bet.
Finally, our boy Cosmo sees a win when Jerry’s Ithaca flight doesn’t make it in on time. But, Elaine arrives to inform the boys that Jerry was kicked off the plane by the same pilot who was in his standup audience, causing the delay. The Texan sees this as rigged and the bet goes his way instead.
The moral of this story: Don’t bet a serial killer’s mailbag on flight arrivals. Sell it instead to one of those weird people who collect memorabilia that should be thrown in a hole and lit on fire.
The Susie: Season 8, Ep 15
Instead of placing bets in his own name, Kramer uses Jerry. But, when those bets hit, Mike the Bookie can’t pay up. Meanwhile, Peggy, one of Elaine’s coworkers, mistakenly calls her Suzie. Some of the people I work with still call me Liz even though I’ve told them not to. Names are hard sometimes. Anyhoo, instead of correcting Pegs, Elaine pretends to be Suzie.
Jerry accidentally closes his trunk on Mike’s hands, breaking his thumbs. This makes the Sportsbook think Jerry’s after him because he doesn’t have the money. To try to smooth things over, Mike offers to fix Jerry’s trunk but gets trapped inside. Again, an accident but still, if you’re a bookie, it’s really uncool if you can’t pay your customers. Unbeknownst to Elaine and Jerry, Mike, still trapped in the trunk, overhears them talking about Suzie. Elaine is sick of pretending to be her, prompting Jerry to suggest eliminating her.
At a funeral for the fictitious Suzie, Mike frees himself and runs in accusing Jerry and Elaine of murdering her. Everyone is aghast except Jerry, who smirks to Peggy that not only did he get rid of Suzie, but he also broke Mike’s digits.
The moral of this story: Don’t bet with Mike the Bookie, otherwise Jerry will mess up your thumbs. Bet with any of the sites we mention on our list of top sportsbooks.