Poker player halts world record at 115 hours

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The Independent Online

Poker star Phil Laak halted the longest poker game in history at 115 hours early Monday, nearly two days longer than the current mark recognized as the official world record.

"Wow, 115 hours, I should have my head examined," said Laak, as the number appeared on the running clock on a laptop screen next to his seat at the Bellagio Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas. "I am definitely sick."

The 37-year-old pro began playing at 12:00 pm local time last Wednesday at the famous resort and quit at 7:00 am on Monday saying he still felt fine but didn't want to "do any more damage to my body than necessary."

He was permitted a five-minute break for every hour he played and could bank those for longer breaks. While he vowed he did not consume any caffeine or stimulants, he did manage at least one 30-minute nap.

Paperwork and video evidence to document Laak's feat is expected to be submitted this month to Guinness World Records, but it was witnessed live via a webcam by more than 130,000 people each day from more than 90 nations.

The previous official record, 72 hours and 2 minutes, was held by Larry Olmsted set at the Foxwood casino in 2004, but in poker circles the unofficial record - not sanctioned by Guinness but still part of lore - is Londoner Paul Zimbler's 78 hour, 45 minute stint last September.

Laak is the boyfriend of Academy Award nominee Jennifer Tilly, an actress who in recent years has also become a poker professional.

Laak promised to donate half his 6,766 dollars in winnings to Camp Sunshine, a Maine camp for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. In addition, visitors to his blog, Twitter site and the webcam feed were encouraged to donate to the cause via text message.

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