Hallucinations and $100,000: the poker player who shut himself in a pitch-black room for weeks

The Guardian - Jan 10, 09:30 GMT

Rich Alati had a six-figure sum in his sights

Rich Alati had a six-figure sum in his sights. As long as he could survive 30 days in the dark with no human contact

Three – or was it four? – days after he shut himself in a pitch-black bathroom, Rich Alati started to hallucinate. He saw little white, bubble-like balls, floating around the room. To calm himself he imagined he was in a magical cloud, cozy and relaxed. Embracing the visions was key. “Or else,” he says, “you might get a little scared.”

Alati was in the dark for a bet, which makes a little more sense once you know he is a professional poker player. On 10 September last year, the American was sitting at a poker table at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, when he was asked a question by a fellow professional player, Rory Young: how much would it take for him to spend time in complete isolation, with no light, for 30 days? An hour later a price had been agreed: $100,000.

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