"You've been here for a fortnight, I agree to let you out for $ 50,000." On December 5, professional poker player Rich Alati finally hears another voice than his own in the bathroom where he has been locked for two weeks. The organ belongs to the Australian Rory Young, another regular at the tables. Four months earlier, at a party in a casino in Las Vegas, Rory Young was asking how much his accomplice could stay locked up for thirty days, without any light, in the most complete isolation. Rich Alati answered $ 100,000. The deal was concluded.
The device is draconian. The bathroom chosen to accommodate the American is totally soundproof. The prisoner receives food, but at irregular intervals so as to prevent him from locating himself in time. Without any electronic object, Rich Alati nevertheless negotiates a yoga mat, a rubber band, a massage ball and essential oils with lavender. A modest survival kit that does not prevent him from starting to have hallucinations in the first week of confinement.
– CardsChat (@CardsChat) December 20, 2018
After several phases of negotiation with Rory Young, the American finally leaves his bathroom, twenty days after entering, and pockets $ 62,400. While Rich Alati's confinement has received significant media coverage, such challenges are commonplace in the poker world. "Proposal bets", more commonly known as "prop bets" are bets made by players on the sidelines of poker tournaments. Bets can be related to the current game, but can also be anything else, from the color of one player's underwear to the ability of another to run three marathons in twenty-four hours.
"The poker player can bet on anything"
"People who are in poker are very playful, they can bet on anything", justifies Steven Moreau, professional for six years and today commentator for the site PokerStars. "The first time I went to Las Vegas, arriving at the airport, I bet 50 euros with a friend on who was going to get his suitcase first", illustrates the French player before clarifying that the craze for the "prop bets" is less marked in the Hexagon. "In France, the entry fee of the biggest tournament is fixed at 2,500 euros, in the United States several tournaments require 100,000 euros. Poker takes more space on the other side of the Atlantic, it automatically opens the door to more "prop bets".
In the cradle of poker, the imagination of the players as the sums involved are limitless. In 2011, Phil Ivey had, for example, bet a million dollars that he could not eat meat for a year. Twenty days later, the imprudent bought his bet against 150 000 dollars to slip a steak of beef. Always on the lookout for a challenge, Huck Seed, two meters on the board, had bet $ 10,000 that he could learn to do a back flip in less than six months. A performance he will achieve in record time thanks to an uncle acrobat in his early years.
"In the United States, there are many businessmen who are not necessarily very good at poker but who participate in big tournaments to have fun"says Steven Moreau. Bill Perkins is certainly the best known of these showmen. The billionaire has made a fortune in the management of hedge funds and uses his money to invite himself in the biggest tournaments. Once alongside the best players, the fiftieth anniversary offers them money to take on completely crazy challenges.
"His pleasure is to make" prop bets "with poker players, explains Quentin Lecompte, a French professional. Recently he offered to offer $ 150,000 to Jaime Staples (140 kilos) and his brother Matt (60 kilos), if both could reach the same weight after one year. " A challenge that both brothers had accepted and won. In 2016, the billionaire had to offer $ 600,000 to the sulphurous Dan Bilzerian, after he made Las Vegas – Los Angeles, by bike and in less than 48 hours.
Big Congrats to Jaime & Matt on winning $ 150,000 in this epic bet! The final weigh in; 188.3 lbs & 188.3 lbs each. They started 1 year ago at 304 lbs & 135 lbs! This picture is from the moment was made in St. Thomas at Bill's house & today; the moment the bet concluded. pic.twitter.com/XcrchdKD5F
– Jeff Gross (@JeffGrossPoker) March 26, 2018
"Poker players see" prop bets "as easy money"Quentin Lecompte analyzes that, given the amounts proposed, includes those that meet these challenges. The sound of the bell is similar to Steven Moreau: "It does not shock me, it's part of the mindset of poker players. These bets can have a positive purpose. In the case of weight loss, even if the player does not manage to win his challenge, he will still have managed to lose a few pounds. "
The positive end was more vague about the "prop bet" of the confinement in the bathroom. Several specialists even pointed out the risks associated with this extreme isolation. In the world of the game, the imagination of the players is the only real limit to these fantastic bets. In 1996, Brian Zembic, a Canadian Black Jack player, won $ 100,000 with breast implants.