At some point in your life, probably several points, you’ve discussed how much money you would have to be paid in order to do something painful or humiliating. This cousin to the would-you-rather is a staple of the Deadcast and other Drew Magary productions because it’s dumb and fun to think about, and also, you’ll probably never have to actually decide whether, say, $40,000 is worth sawing off the tip of your little finger.
Yet here is a real wager currently being played out between two poker pros: American player Rich Alati will get $100,000 from Australian pro Rory Young if he stays in a pitch-dark bathroom, alone, for 30 days straight. Despite warnings from his friends and loved ones, Alati entered the isolation chamber in an “undisclosed location somewhere in Las Vegas” on Nov. 21. PocketFives has the details on some of the terms of this possibly lucrative bad idea:
“The conditions are complete darkness, so no electronics, no light-emitting devices, no drugs of any kind,” said Young. “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.”
Along with food from Flower Child (a Las Vegas restaurant), some sliced fruit, almond milk, cereal, and Pop Tarts he has in his fridge, meals are being delivered to Alati during the 30 days, but not on a regular basis so as not to give him any indication as to how much time has passed.
There’s a private livestream from the dark room where Alati’s family and friends can check up on him, and Young can make sure he’s not cheating. Young told PocketFives he definitely would have prepared for this, but Alati apparently didn’t do much research or training at all. “I think he’s done zero preparation,” Young said. Alati’s sister strongly cautioned him not to lock himself in a dark bathroom for a month, but he went along with it:
“They tried to get him to not do it but he doesn’t listen to anybody but himself. She tried very hard to get him to pull out and he wasn’t having it. She’s pretty worried,” said Young, who admits to having some worries over potential health issues for Alati during and after the bet.
“I’m a firm believer in that there are two consenting adults and if it doesn’t do any harm to a third party, then it’s morally justifiable,” said Young. “I don’t have any hangups about the ethical side of this. I think it’s different if it was a freeroll. I think I can have some ethical concerns there.
“I have a bit of concern for his eyesight, but we’re taking all of the necessary conditions.”
Young said his threshold for the dark bathroom month would be $5 million, and that he’s surprised that Alati didn’t try to push him for odds or more money. Apparently, weird side bets like this are not unheard of in the high-stakes Las Vegas poker scene. Lance Bradley, the author of the PocketFives story, told me he once wore the same shirt every day for a year for $8,000. Young also told PocketFives that another pro, Huckleberry Seed, wants to try a modified version of the bathroom torture, but under much more physically extreme conditions:
Long story short, he wants to do it for a million, but he wants much tougher conditions,” said Young, who said he’d consider taking the former WSOP Main Event champ up on the offer if a broadcast partner or other third party put up some of the money. “[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.
For sure, dude.
Update (12/12, 1:52 p.m. ET): Alati has emerged after 20 days. Young apparently began negotiations with Alati during a food delivery on Monday, and agreed to pay him an early buyout of $62,400. However, Young also hedged his bet, so he lost about $42,000.
Young told the Action Network that Alati could probably have gone the distance:
Young said he initially offered $25,000 for Alati to immediately exit the room, where he had been in darkness since entering on Nov. 21. Alati said no. Eventually, the two settled on Young paying $62,400.
“I saved a chunk of change,” Young said.
Young had been monitoring Alati by live video feed since the start of the bet. He told The Action Network on Friday that he couldn’t believe how lucid Alati was and thought he was going to lose the bet.
“At the last food drop, he was stronger than ever,” Young said Friday. “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.”