WEST PALM BEACH, FLA., NOV. 29 -- The newfangled tennis format that had its debut here this weekend lost at least one fan: Pat Cash.

Cash entered today's final of the three-day Stakes Match -- tennis' version of golf's Skins Game -- with $250,600 in winnings.

After Ivan Lendl defeated him, 11-21, 21-18, 21-7, 22-20, in the best-of-five final at the Palm Beach Polo Club, Cash had zero earnings for his three-day effort and Lendl made off with $583,200.

It is the largest first-prize check in tennis history.

"In the end, this kind of money is amazing," Lendl said. "I feel a little sorry for Pat. He played his heart out."

First prize in the U.S. Open, by comparison, is $250,000.

The four entrants -- Lendl, Cash, John McEnroe and Stefan Edberg -- were staked $250,000 when they started play Friday and knew they could go home with nothing. McEnroe ($182,000) and Stefan Edberg ($234,800) were eliminated after round-robin play Saturday, but both left -- McEnroe detoured, being caught by a CBS-TV camera on the sideline with the Chicago Bears during their NFL game -- in better financial shape than Cash.

"When you go to the casino, you either win big or lose big," Lendl said. "Friday and Saturday are just a warmup for the big casino day."

In the end, there was no payoff for Cash, who beat Lendl for the Wimbledon title in June.

"It's your basic blank check," joked Arthur Ashe as he reviewed Cash's effort before handing Lendl his winning check at midcourt.

Cash, however, wasn't around to hear the joke. He shook Lendl's hand and left the court hastily.

Lendl told reporters that Cash had said that "I should buy him dinner in New York," when the two see each other at the Masters, which begins Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

Cash did not appear at a postmatch news conference to discuss how he lost $250,600 in an afternoon.

In fact, Cash could have left the tournament in the red. He was fined $2,000 for on-court misbehavior (McEnroe was docked $1,000 in fines and Lendl $500, both paid out of the original stake) but because Cash was left with no money, his fines will go unpaid.

Lendl said he felt a little sympathy for Cash.

"It's hard to play a tight four-set match and walk away with nothing," Lendl said. "I would rather walk away from here with no money than {having lost in the final at} Wimbledon."

So how was Cash wiped out? In the final best-of-five series, the first game was worth $30,000. Cash won that, but the value of each succeeding game increased by $30,000, meaning the decisive fourth game was worth $120,000.

What's more, each time the ball crossed the net, the value of a point increased by $400. Aces and double faults were worth $4,000 -- plus or minus -- in the final.

At the end of each game the player with more money received the difference between the two totals in addition to the amount assigned to that particular game.

After splitting the first two games, Lendl took a 13-6 lead in the third. Cash won the next point, then Lendl took the game by winning seven straight, including three points against Cash's serve.

At that juncture, Lendl had accrued $448,600 and Cash was down to $134,600.

In the final game, Lendl's winning points were worth $47,600 and Cash's were worth $30,400, a difference of $17,200.

Added to the base value of the final game the difference was $137,200, meaning Cash was wiped out. Florida gambling laws prohibit players from playing with their own money, so no player lost money he was not staked.

Lendl said the format livened up the game, but he said the prize money (total of $1 million) was a bigger difference.

"It's better," he said. "You make more money. You play Stratton Mountain {a tour stop in Vermont} for six days and you make $40,000.

"This is different. I think the straight elimination, 64-draw is boring."