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Jerry Buss

Phil Laak enjoying a well deserved shuteye

It’s official: the world is ending soon. Phil Laak gave it his best effort to have a record to his name, in this case the “Longest Poker Game”, which was previously officially in the hands of Larry Olmsted. Larry Olmsted’s official time was 72 hours and 22 minutes, which he set at the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut in 2004. The unofficial record, as in the one not sanctioned (yet) by the Guinness people, stood in the hands of Paul Zimbler who played poker nonstop for 78 hours and 25 minutes.

As FlopTurnRiver has previously reported, Phil Laak was not content with just edging out his nearest competitor, and decided to completely and totally decimate the previous record. In a herculean effort that I’m not sure will ever be matched until someone who has a permanent and possibly mutant sleeping insomnia disorder and a mean poker game will attempt to do, Laak now holds the record. The final tally? 115 hours exactly.

Most of us have trouble playing (winning) poker for 3 hours straight. This guy did it for 115 hours. That’s 5 hours short of 5 days, and even Jack Bauer, the fictional protagonist of the hit TV series 24 is going to be amazed at this feat. Phil Laak has been on a strict no sweets and low-fat diet since January to prepare for his attempt. His nutritionist was on hand to provide him meals every 5 hours to keep his wits sharp, and possibly for him to not go insane. His game of choice was $10/$20, and the reports indicate that he finished the ordeal being $6,766 in the black. Half of those proceeds will go to a charity for children with life-threatening diseases, so Mr. Laak shows he has a big heart as well.

For a guy who has won over $2,500,000 in lifetime tournament winnings, those are pretty small stakes, but it was a wise move as losing a very significant part of his roll (read: go broke) was totally possible if he would play at his usual cash game stakes.

For the record to be valid, the whole thing had to be videotaped, witnesses had to be present to ensure he did not have a quick nap or equipment malfunction in which some minutes of footage would be mysteriously missing. A variety of ways come to mind in which this effort could be cheated. The guys of Guinness World Records still have to verify all the proof, documentation and videotaping for this record, which means that the record won’t be certified for months.

The only word that comes to mind to describe what happened is: Epic. Who knows what’s next for Phil Laak… maybe he will try to emulate the fabled Nick Dandolos versus Johnny Moss HU grudge match of ’49 that lasted for a whole 5 months? All you need is to find a willing participant and … wink wink…