It is over. The controversial prop bet between Rich Alati and Rory Young has ended ten days early. If you are thinking that it’s too bad for Alati that he made it two-thirds of the way through his 30-day term of pitch-black solitary confinement only to lose, you would be wrong. It was Young, the man who was free on the outside, who gave up, offering a buy-out of the bet equal to just about two-thirds of the original wager.
Alati entered what they called the “chamber” on November 21st. With $100,000 on the line, Alati had to stay in the room with absolutely no light and no communication with the outside world for 30 consecutive days. He had a toilet, shower, garbage can, and refrigerator (lights removed), but that’s just about it. Nothing that could emit light or tell the time/date, nothing to communicate with anyone. Just Alati by himself with his thoughts in complete darkness.
Food was delivered every three to six days, randomized so that Alati couldn’t tell how much time had elapsed. Night vision cameras were mounted in the room so that a select group of friends and family could watch (he did have toilet and bath privacy).
The prop bet sparked a lot of discussion in the poker community, with some people saying it would be easy for Alati and others saying he would barely last a couple days. Many, including my colleague Earl Burton, questioned the safety of such a stunt, as studies have shown that even spending 48 hours in such conditions can negatively affect a person’s cognitive abilities and senses, even long after they are out.
But somehow, Alati made it through 20 days and according to an interview with The Action Network, Young said it was Alati’s impressive condition that made him decide to end it.
“At the last food drop, he was stronger than ever,” Young said. “I underestimated his mindset, his resolve. I’m not disappointed I made the bet, I thought I had the better side, but he has exceeded all my expectations.”
Young felt that another ten days would be no problem for Alati, so he offered him $25,000 to walk out of the room. Alati refused, so the two negotiated, eventually settling on a payment from Young to Alati of $62,400 to call it quits.
There is no word yet on Alati’s actual condition, now that the bet is over. Was he “in good spirits,” as phrase in the article on The Action Network because he mind was loopy or was he actually feeling good? Is he walking around with sunglasses on right now?
One interesting point posed by someone in the poker community is that if the negotiations broke down, Alati would have known how much time he had left. After all, the dollar amount was obviously based on how long the bet had gone, so Alati would have suddenly had a key piece of info that he did not previously have, perhaps making the next ten days easier.