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The Renaissance Club


Two professional poker players are currently staging one of the craziest prop bets of all time

November 30, 2018

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If you thought Tiger and Phil tossing six-figure prop bets around like the ol' disk on the quad was nuts, welcome to Perspective Town, USA. On November 21st professional poker player Rich Alati entered a dark room at an undisclosed location somewhere in Las Vegas. He will attempt to remain without light, Twitter, and contact with the outside world for 30 consecutive days. Why would anyone in their right mind do this? Well, because he bet he would, that's why.

“One day, there was this young dude sitting at an empty table with like $40,000 in front of him and I sat down and we started playing heads up,” said fellow poker player Rory Young of the two's fortuitous meeting to “We started getting along okay and then over the next couple of days we were talking at the table and stuff. I play a lot of Lodden Thinks and this is one of my go-to questions, ‘How long do you think you could last in a dark room, with no human interaction?’”

Alati's answer was 30 days...given the right incentive, of course. Within an hour they had $100,000 riding on it.

“The conditions are complete darkness, so no electronics, no light-emitting devices, no drugs of any kind,” says Young, who alongside Alati put $5,000 in escrow in case either one backed out. “He is allowed any type of food that he wants. He has a bed in there, he has a shower and a bathtub. He has pretty lavish toiletries like Epsom salts, sugar scrubs, that kind of stuff.”

Despite the exfoliating soaps, however, Young made sure the food deliveries were randomly staggered so that Alati would not be able to gauge how much time had passed based on routines. Three days? Maybe. 28 days? Also maybe. Put yourself in that pitch black room wondering if its Tuesday or Christmas for a moment and you'll quickly see why solitary confinement has become taboo even by penal system standards (and how crazy it is to willingly subject yourself to a month of it for an amount you can lose in a single hand.)

But from the sound of things, Alati didn't exactly think it through. “He spent, I believe, 10 minutes in a dark bathroom,” says Young of Alati's preparation. "He hadn’t gotten anyone to bring his food in, so I’ve had to do it. I think he’s done zero preparation.” And while basic human upkeep has never been the forte of poker players, betting certainly is, which makes it all the more surprising that Alati when into this flying (if you'll excuse the pun) completely blind.

“I don’t think he ever thought to ask for odds,” said Young. “He just kind of wanted to do it. He didn’t think about it. I guess I was lucky in that regard. I feel like the true odds are between 5- and 10-to-1. His hourly throughout the whole thing, if he wins, is only $140. That’s a good hourly, but it’s not a good hourly for this and he loses a decent amount of the time.”

Night vision cameras running around the clock will capture Alati's entire experience, for however long it lasts, allowing his family to check on him while also potentially serving as the basis of a reality TV show about the wager. And perhaps therein lies the appeal—not torture for money, but torture for fame. Maybe that's why Young says he's already fielding calls from other high rollers also looking to try their hand at Fear Factor: Gambling Addicts

“The other night, I get a phone call from a random number and it’s [former World Series of Poker champion] Huckleberry Seed. Long story short, he wants to do it for a million, but he wants much tougher conditions,” says Young of the new wager. “[Seed] said he wants to do it with no bed, no food for the first 21 days, he’d do it for a total of 40 days, and just water. Also, he said I could put some cockroaches in the bathroom.”

Holy smokes, guys. Just go buy an XBOX or something.