In 2010, Phil “the Unabomber” Laak set the Guinness World Record for the longest continuous poker session when he broke Paul Zimbler’s previous record of 78 hours, 25 minutes and 45 seconds set just one year earlier.
With rules intact, such as witnesses being present and the session being videotaped, Laak played $10/$10 No Limit Hold’em for 115 hours straight and shattered Zimbler’s previous record.
Last month, Zach Gensler, a relatively unknown, 49-year-old player from Minnesota, bested Laak’s record by 9 hours, playing for 124 hours straight. For those who don’t want to do the math, that’s more than five days of continuous poker playing with nothing but five minute breaks each hour.
According to Gensler, breaking Laak’s record is something he’s been working at for years. In 2019, Gensler recorded an 80 hour session to train himself to attempt to break the record that was held by Laak. When the new Resorts World poker room opened in Las Vegas, Gensler and manager Gary Hagar worked out the details of this world record attempt.
Zach, We are proud to have been your choice to make your record breaking session. Giving us a chance to meet your expectations was a nice surprise and has given our new room great exposure. Your a machine, and a class act. Thanks Zach
— Resorts World Poker Room (@PokerRoomRWLV) November 5, 2021
According to Gensler, he’s always been a night owl who is able to take long road trips without much, or any, sleep. After a long session a few years back, he decided he was going to seriously attempt to break the world record.
Although the record is not yet official, it will almost certainly become official soon. Guinness World Records itself sanctioned the attempt and laid out the rules for the attempt. Most of the documentation of the attempt was handled by Hagar, who had a clock running on a TV and extra staff ensuring Gensler played every hand.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t a winning session for Gensler, but the Guinness World Record probably makes up a little bit for that loss. After all, he was attempting to break a world record, not book a win. Overall, the process went smoothly for Gensler although he did start to feel off around hour 80. Throughout the five day session, Gensler tweeted about once every hour.
Not surprisingly, there was an over/under set at 85 hours that saw a small amount of action being taken on both sides.
Congratulations to Gensler for cementing his name in the history books with his poker endurance.
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