A report released on Thursday revealed that 2 poker players were engaged in a bet worth $100,000 to see whether one of them could remain for 30 days inside a pitch-black bathroom in complete isolation.
Pro poker player Rory Young bet fellow player Rich Alati that Alati could not spend the full 30 days inside a perfectly dark hotel bathroom for a month.
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Conditions of the Bet
There were a number of conditions to the bet. Alati would not have access to television, radio or phone during his time in the bathroom. He would be delivered food from a local restaurant at random time intervals so that he could not keep track of time.
Alati’s family would also be able to monitor his son through a video feed, aside from when Alati was in the shower or in the toilet cubicle. If the father came to the decision that his son needed to leave the bathroom at any time, he would be able to get him out. Alati would also have a yoga mat and a massage ball in the bathroom with him.
The bet took place at an undisclosed location inside a Las Vegas casino hotel room.
If Alati were to leave the bathroom before the 30 days had expired, Young would pocket the $100,000. If Alati completed the 30 days in isolation, he would get the $100,000.
Young said of the prop bet,
“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. 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?’”
Young was of the belief that others often overstate how long they would be able to last. People usually respond by saying they could last 20-25 days, but Alati reportedly responded that he could make it 30 days.
“I was like, ‘Oh, that’s interesting – would you ever consider putting money on it?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, but it would have to be a large amount to make it worthwhile.’ Young ultimately found out that meant somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000. Young said they discussed it further and ultimately agreed on $100,000.
Alati was given 6 months to complete the feat. If one of them backed out ahead of time, they would owe the other $10,000.
Young said, “The conditions are complete darkness, so no electronics, no light-emitting devices, no drugs of any kind. 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.”
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In the bathroom, Alati had food from a local Las Vegas restaurant called Flower Child, as well as sliced fruits, cereal, Pop Tarts and almond milk in a refrigerator.
“Food is delivered every 3 to 6 days and we’ve randomized what days it’ll be delivered and we’ll drop off 6 days worth of food so he doesn’t know how long it’s been. It could be 3 days, it could be 6 days. He’ll have no idea of how long it’s been, so no watches or clocks or things like that.”
“There were no odds with the bet, it was just a straight-up prop. When the bet was finalized, Young included a clause that meant Alati had to undergo a cavity search prior to entering the bathroom in order to ensure that he did not smuggle anything illegal inside. Alati also had to supply urine samples throughout the 30-day period in order to make sure he did not test positive for any foreign substances.”
Did Alati Complete the Feat?
After 10 days, Young was worried that he would lose the bet. Alati was reportedly showing no signs of faltering, and he reportedly used his background in yoga and meditation to help him get through it.
Psychologists were worried that Alati spending such a long period of time isolated in complete darkness would be troublesome for his mental health.
On day 15, worried he would lose the entire $100,000, Young decided to make Alati a $50,000 offer to leave the bathroom at the halfway point. Alati declined, despite the fact that he had begun to experience hallucinations and several moments of despair.
On day 20, Young offered Alati $62,400 to leave early. Alati did accept this offer, and he ultimately emerged from the bathroom. Both participants later said that they were pleased with the results and happy to have engaged in the bet.
Young told the Guardian,
“I think it is a good story of when two people want to test whether they can do something, they do it in a fair environment and can work together, and even though one of us lost a sizable chunk of money, we both feel great about it.”