New World Record for Longest Hold’em Session?

Note the question mark at the end of the title, fair readers. Rumors abound that the record Phil Laak set just this spring may already be broken. If you happened to miss that go-round too, then here’s a refresher on the record in question…

On June 7, 2010, pro Phil “Unabomber” Laak finally left his seat at the $10/$20 NL Hold’em table in the Bellagio’s poker room in Las Vegas. Laak had more or less been filling that same seat for 115 hours straight. Officials from Guinness were on hand to confirm that Laak had set a new world record for the single longest uninterrupted poker session in history. Not only did Laak soundly beat the record formerly set by fellow pro Paul Zimbler in 2009, he blew that 78-hour session out of the water. Laak didn’t do it for the money, though. In fact, half of his meager earnings of $6,766 went to charity.

Fast forward to last Saturday, when a pair of tournament players at the Grand Hotel in New Zealand supposedly completed 117 hours of Hold’em play in a single session. The players in question – tournament winner Christie Teki-Reu and the runner-up, known only as “Chopper” – reportedly started the tournament with a full table of players on Monday and played through Saturday afternoon to set a new record.

While the local press was on hand to document some of the event, recent reports suggest that Guinness was not, and many are already questioning the legitimacy of Teki-Reu’s claim. For one, Teki-Reu herself admitted in her first interviews following the ordeal that she refused to eliminate her opponent, Chopper, until the record had been beaten. This fact stands in stark contrast to Laak’s record-setting session in which he not only played a cash game at a public table, but in many cases was actually at risk of ending his days-long session with a loss. In other words, the many players seated around Laak’s table were more than willing to take his money and end his run short of its history-making goal.

Also, since even the press has been unable to determine the identities of all of Teki-Reu’s opponents or the full terms of the 117 hour tournament, it will be hard for the kiwis to prove that their record-breaking endeavor meets Guinness’ strict guidelines. Teki-Reu may very well walk away from her hard-earned tournament win with nothing more than a trophy.

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