Dark Days: Poker Player Risking $100K, Sanity to Live in Lightless Bathroom for a Month

4 min read

A poker player made a crazy prop bet hoping to win a large sum of cash. Stop us if you’ve heard it before. But the latest nuttiness that has the poker world abuzz takes the prospect of surviving a physical challenge to win $100,000 to a much darker place. A much darker place.

poker player prop bet
Poker player Rich Alati made an insane prop bet: If he spends an entire month in a dark room, he’ll pocket $100,000; but if he fails, he’s out $100k … and possibly whatever’s left of his sanity. (Image: thescienceexplorer.com)

Somewhere in Las Vegas — exactly where, few people know — poker player Rich Alati is sitting in a dark bathroom, where he’s trying to live for a month to win $100,000 from fellow rounder Rory Young. It’s an even-money bet. If Alati fails, he owes Young $100k.

Anyone want to place their side bets on how this will turn out?

The wager Young is boasting about is supposedly already underway, in an undisclosed room somewhere in Sin City. Young says Atlati is living under constant surveillance, to assure he lives up to terms of the bet.

The conditions: Alati isn’t allowed any human interaction, cannot leave the room, and gets no access to electronics, drugs, or alchohol. He can, however, eat whatever he wants and, according to Young, he’s eating well. There is a bed, shower, refrigerator, and bathtub in his room. But he doesn’t have a clock so it’s probably hard for him to figure out how long he’s been in pitch-black darkness.

“He has a bed in there, he has a shower and a bathtub,” Young said in an interview with Pocket Fives. “He has pretty lavish toiletries like Epsom salts, sugar scrubs, that kind of stuff.”

Putting Money Where Your Mouth Is?

Young said he made the bet with Alati a few months ago during a heads-up match at the Bellagio poker room.

Young asked Alati how long he thinks he could last in a dark room with no human interaction. When his opponent said “30 days,” he offered up the bet because he didn’t think anyone would last that long. So that is how the bet came to be a reality.

After the session, according to Pocket Fives, the players escrowed $5,000 in cash. Alati was given six months to prepare for what would certainly be a difficult task. If either of them backed out early, the other would get $10,000.

But now that the solo self-confinement has begun, it’s $100,000 at stake.

Isolation Chamber Challenge

Sitting in a dark room for an entire month for $100,000 is easier said than done. Just ask trouble-making prisoners who end up in solitary confinement.

A 2016 HBO documentary, “Solitary,” went inside a Virginia prison to experience solitary confinement. Director Kristin Jacobson, in an interview with the Daily Beast, referred to locking a prisoner up in a dark, confined space as an “abuse of human rights.”

Studies have shown that extended stays in solitary confinement can cause hallucinations and severe psychological damage. Human rights groups have called such extreme isolation torture.

“Social interaction is a fundamental need, and when it’s withdrawn, our brains experience that in the same way physical pain is experienced,” Alexis Agathocleous of the Center for Constitutional Rights told the Daily Beast. “A prolonged period of isolation is a form of social death.”

Many prisoners have referred to the experience as being “buried alive.”

A former Alcatraz prisoner wrote a book about how he survived such for 19 days in “the hole.”

While Alati may be in more comfortable digs wherever he is in Las Vegas, the darkness is the same as he attempts to win a difficult prop bet — the sort where even if he succeeds, is he really the winner?

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