Exclusive: Poker Player’s Father Speaks Out on $100K Solitary Confinement Bet

Exclusive: Poker Player’s Father Speaks Out on $100K Solitary Confinement Bet article feature image

Commerce Casino Tournaments (left) and WPT (right). Pictured: Rich Alati and Rory Young

  • Two poker players, Rich Alati and Rory Young, made a $100,000 bet on whether Alati could last 30 days in a dark room without any interaction with humans or technology.
  • Alati's father, Richard, spoke to The Action Network, confirming that his son remains in the room. "I'm definitely concerned," the elder Alati said. "But I chose to focus on the positive, wishing for a successful completion of the wager."
  • Alati reportedly has two weeks left in the challenge.

Right now, all professional poker player Rich Alati can see is darkness.

He's in an undisclosed location in Las Vegas, sitting in a room alone with his thoughts and no connection to the outside world. He has a bed to sleep in, a bathtub to bathe in and food in a fridge — but that's it.

And it'll stay that way for two more weeks.

It's part of a $100,000 bet he made with fellow poker player Rory Young. The two wagered six figures on whether Alati could last 30 days in solitary confinement.

On Friday, sources confirmed to The Action Network that Alati was still in the room. The bet reportedly started Nov. 21, which would mean that Friday is Day 16.

The Action Network got in touch with Alati's father, Richard, who knows the most about the bet outside of Young. Richard is the family member who can unilaterally decide to call the bet off if he feels like his son is in some sort of distress.

"I would consult with other family members before doing that," Richard told The Action Network.

The father said he found out about the bet after it was agreed to, but wanted to talk with his son, with whom he says he has a close relationship.

"I gave him a chance to talk me through it and hear him out," Richard said. "He's in a profession where they do things that other people wouldn't do."

Poker players are known to make high-stakes side bets, but this might be the craziest one of them all. As word spread about the bet after a story on poker site PocketFives, it has become the talk of the betting world.

Could Alati make it without going crazy?

Young told PocketFives that the origin for the bet came up in casual conversation while at a poker table, when Young asked: "How long do you think you could last in a dark room, with no human interaction?" Alati said 30 days. Within an hour, they had a bet.

Richard would not confirm the Nov. 21 start date for the bet, but did say that immediate family members sent text messages to his son up until an hour before he went into the room.

Richard, and a small group of approved others, get to see a closed access system that features live 24/7 camera feeds showing his son in the room.

"There is very particular equipment placed in the room," the father said. "I can see in a grainy way what's happening."

Richard said he's obsessed with the feed out of concern for his son.

"I'm definitely concerned," he said. "But I chose to focus on the positive, wishing for a successful completion of the wager."

He continued: "My kids don't always follow my direction, but I will back them and support them to the end of the world. I have a confidence in my son. Given his life experiences, I believe he can do anything he sets his mind to as a goal. I brought him up to be hard working, resilient and we don't quit."

As part of the agreement, Richard also gets to be part of the food delivery. The deliveries come days apart, but not at any particular time, so that his son — who is without a clock — can't tell how many days he has been sitting in the room for.

"I can buy food that has been pre-approved and be there for the delivery," Richard said.

He said he recently completed a food transfer. During the delivery, which included a team led by Young, Alati said his son was moved to another isolated area of the room. Once the food went in, his son went back into the original space.

"I followed them in," Richard said. "I did nothing and said nothing."

The $100,000 could be a significant win for the younger Alati. Online rankings have Alati's career tournament earnings at $333,661, which doesn't account for potential cash game winnings.

But his father said he doesn't believe that the money is his son's primary motivation.

"I think that he's doing this for more than the money," Richard said. "I think number 1, it's about the challenge of doing it."

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