How I Plan on Breaking the Guinness World Record for Poker Endurance

I still remember to this day looking through an old copy of the Guinness Book of World Records. I read it from cover to cover. It wasn’t long before I started thinking of breaking one of these records and getting myself into that book. There were a few that I thought I had a shot at.

I remember two of them. Pogo stick hops and memorizing pi. Basically drawn dead and not knowing it I made a few futile attempts at both of these and soon learned the harsh but real truth. Getting the record for something when you are up against billions of people is more difficult then I had suspected. At one point I even entertained the idea of starting a new category. Of course, that went nowhere as well, and by the time High School rolled around I had accepted my fate. Getting into the Guinness Book of World Records wasn’t going to be happening for me. Ok, no worries, move on.


Cut to about 8 years ago I found myself playing an enduro session of poker. Over time I played maybe about 10 or so of these enduro sessions (all between 40 and 60 hours) and it got me to thinking.

Maybe getting into that book is not so far fetched after all. Maybe, just maybe this could be it! There were only three things in the way.

1) I always seemed to fall asleep at the table.

2) Every few years the record got harder and harder to beat. (Others were thinking the same thing as me!) And…

3) With each new enduro session getting it done took more effort than the one before.

On the plus side…

1) I know that deep down in me is a machine that seems fueled by the impossibility of it all.

2) If I knew I was going for an official record, then maybe I could dodge the ‘between hand naps’ altogether.

And let’s face it, what would life be without challenges? Well, it would be living I suppose, but just not as fun. And fun is a major tenet in my life philosophy so I thought I would give it a try.


Anyway, I have been training since January 1 for this event. Time to beat: 78 hours. Held by my buddy from across the pond, Paul Zimbler.

What have I been doing to train you ask? Good question. Basically here is the run down.

Essentially I broke it down into three components. Body, mind, and spirit.

For my BODY:

I have been running, swimming, or going to the gym 5 times a week.

I have kept a tight leash on what I put into my body food wise. Great diet. (Special emphasis on not eating anything fried, cheese, or ice cream.) (By the way, I really love popcorn shrimp, fried calamari, mint flavored ice cream and Gouda cheese.) But more on this under ‘Spirit”.

For my MIND:

Every time I was eating well or at the gym I tried to remind myself that through these actions breaking the record would become effortless. (Neuro-linguistic programming at work.)

For my SPIRIT:

Each time I see fried food, cheese and ice cream I converted those food items into trigger points of effortless detachment. The thinking goes like this. By training myself to not want things I want very much, I will be ready and prepared to effortlessly not want the sleep that my body will inevitably want VERY badly. 6 months of training of not getting what I want will give me the much needed edge I will need.

If mint ice cream happens to be in front of me, now instead of craving it (or any of my other favorite foods) I am reminded of how effortless it is to not want the things I want. My will power is at an all time life high because of this.

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For what it’s worth. This training did not come from some secret military training manual or anything. I came up with all of this on my own. It may sound like a crack pot sort of training regimen but to be honest… every time I look at it, it seems genius. Maybe it is in some sort of weird top secret military manual and we just have never seen it. Titled… “How to beat the need for sleep on weird navy recon spy missions” or something like that.

How do I feel today?

My weight has dropped from 211 to 190. I feel fantastic. My will power is at an all time high, and I am ready to take on this challenge.

The Bellagio has agreed to host this event. I plan on starting at noon on the 2nd of June. And my goal is to get to 80 hours.

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I have played many enduro sessions of poker, but never anything of this magnitude. I know this will test my limits but I love a good challenge and am excited to be trying to beat this record in Vegas’ top poker room.

Good luck to me!

Phil Laak

Degen for Life