Inside the Room: A Q&A With Rich Alati, Winner of the $62K Solitary Confinement Bet
Courtesy: Rich Alati
- Rich Alati won $62,400 from fellow professional pro Rory Young after surviving 20 days in a pitch-black room with no contact to the outside world.
- The original bet was for $100,000 and 30 days, but the two came to a settlement on Day 20.
- Alati granted The Action Network his first in-depth interview after the bet, openly discussing his hallucinations, what he learned, how he kept from going crazy, and much more.
Sometime in mid-September, Rich Alati sat down to a poker table with fellow poker pro Rory Young, who he met a week before. The two engaged in a conversation that ended up in a very interesting place.
Young asked Alati how long he thought he could survive in complete darkness in a confined space. When Alati responded a month, Young wanted to make a bet. Within an hour, they had it.
If Alati could stay in a room for a month with no lights and almost no human interaction, he would win $100,000. Anything short of that, Young would be declared the winner and Alati would owe Young.
On Dec. 10, Young — shocked at Alati’s confidence on Day 20 in solitary confinement — got Alati to agree to a buyout of $62,400, a story we broke on The Action Network. Expenses from the stunt will cost Young another $10,000 or so more.
Thirty-six hours after coming out of seclusion, Alati remarkably played in a poker tournament. But he didn’t share his experiences until he agreed to talk to The Action Network for his first in-depth interview six days later.
Darren: So it was said that this place where you stayed was in Las Vegas. Where exactly was it and what type of room were you in?
Alati: I was in a bathroom in a house in Henderson, Nev., which we rented on AirBnB. We took the bathroom and had a contractor come in to build the room so it was boarded up, soundproofed and blacked out.
Darren: How big was the bathroom?
Alati: It was your standard master bathroom coming off a bedroom in a nice place.
Darren: On Nov. 21, you entered the room. Something that I didn’t get is, if it was completely dark and there wasn’t a light in the fridge, how did you see what you ate? How did you know where things were?
Alati: So I flew in two days prior from the Bahamas and spend some time familiarizing myself where things were — the faucet and the bath. I’m really good at memorization, so I then arranged the room and remembered where things were. I set up the clothes in one place, my food in another and the toiletries in another.
Darren: And walking around?
Alati: The first couple of days, I pretty much crawled. I was feeling around a lot. But then I got accustomed to it and got cocky and bumped my head a couple times. Nothing major.
Darren: How many cameras were in there to monitor you?
Alati: There were four to five cameras. Some of them were going 24/7, while others were motion detected. Then there was a testimonial camera. That’s where I could talk and it could be heard. If Rory wanted to talk to me, he could talk through that, as well.
Darren: I know your father and your two sisters had access to watch the camera on a closed circuit feed. Did you ever talk to them?
Alati: My family wanted me to talk to the camera like three to four times a day and I was initially OK with that. But on what I think was around Day 3, I started hallucinating and I was so focused from that day until what was probably Day 10 because I didn’t want to lose my mind.
Darren: What type of hallucinations are we talking about? Because that’s one of the things that people said would make the bet so much of a challenge?