By Sean Chaffin
Some of the biggest news in the poker world lately has been all about “the prop bet.” For the last 20 days, Rich Alati has somehow found a way to pass the time in a completely dark room without technology or any form of human interaction.
The 29-year-old from Phoenix now lives in Las Vegas and made a $100,000 bet with fellow poker pro Rory Young that he could stay in the room for 30 days. Both agreed to a $62,000 buyout after only 20 days. Alati has more than $300,000 in live tournament winnings and has certainly scored some press from the feat.
Both players are in the field at Bellagio for Day 2 of the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, and Alati spoke with WPT.com about poker, the wager, and how it feels to be “free.”
How’s your tournament going so far here at Bellagio?
It’s going really well. I’m playing better than most of the field. I’m playing really smooth and it feels nice to be back playing.
Nothing too crazy has happened all day, just steadily rising.
How many days have you been out of the darkened room?
It ended about two days ago officially. I actually came out the night before this tournament started, and I didn’t know what day it was exactly. I heard that this tournament was going on and immediately felt like jumping in.
Besides the money, what has come out of this experience?
With this bet, there have been just a lot of exciting opportunities on the horizon – exclusive interviews, talk shows, reality shows. Just a lot of other exciting opportunities and fun adventures.
What was it like being in that room for 20 days?
That’ll be coming out in an interview really shortly. But I am just happy to be back, and just seeing all you guys … just seeing the world.
What kind of interviews are you talking about?
I haven’t decided which one I want to go with yet for the exclusive [story] obviously. So there are offers. I’m just kind of enjoying taking things slow and just enjoying every moment.
What did your family say about you getting in this predicament?
My family, they support me fully. They’re just truly amazing. I think they’re just the best people.
Where did the lock-in take place?
A home in Henderson, Nevada.
Was there a monitor or a security guard or anything?
That will probably be in the interview in depth as well. But again, I’m just really excited even talking to you right now. I’m just happy. Before I would just be like, ‘Oh okay we can talk.’ But now it’s something – we’re talking and it feels good. Just to see you and interact with you, it’s really nice.
So you got pretty bored not having human interaction while confined?
I wouldn’t say that. Now the feeling is just happy to see people. It’s nice, it’s different. But in a great way, in the best way. I’m just really appreciative of everything as well.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.
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