6/8/10 – Poker pro Phil ‘Unabomber' Laak (37) has successfully completed his attempt on the world record for continuous poker play, convincingly breaking all previous records with a hard-to-beat 115 hour benchmark.
His well documented success will be sent to the Guinness Book of Records for official recognition, he announced after ending the initiative Monday.
Laak started playing at 12:04pm on June 2 in the Bellagio Poker Room in Las Vegas, and broke the world record by 36 hours and 15 minutes when he stopped at 7:04am on June 7.
"I was shooting for 80 hours all along and eventually it came," said Laak. "It was loads of fun and of course impossible without my crew. This has been one of the most wonderful journeys I've ever taken, touchingly human and beautiful on so many levels. Thanks to everyone who shared in this amazing ride."
Laak used the record-breaking attempt to raise money for Camp Sunshine, an organisation that supports children with life-threatening illnesses and their immediate families through various stages of illness. Unabomber donated half of his winnings and raised additional funds by selling several of his signature hooded sweatshirts, along with numerous tee shirts worn during the record setting game, for up to $500 each. He also won a 58th hour challenge to do 30 pushups for a $1,000 donation to the charity. Additionally, fans were able to donate $10 to the camp by texting.
Many of Laak's poker pro friends and peers came to play with him or offer support. In addition to his longtime girlfriend, actress and poker pro, Jennifer Tilly, other pros who stopped by included Scotty Nguyen, Prahlad Freidman, James Mitchell, Rod Fani, Eric Liu, Huck Seed, David Wells, Mike Matusow and Jean-Robert Bellande.
The record setting game was a thoroughly modern affair that included Laak tweeting throughout to give updates to his followers, and an ongoing web video stream of his game that was viewed in 120 countries by over 177,000 people. The Unabomber Poker Blog has plenty of coverage of the event as well as a Picture Gallery composed of images from the entire challenge.
A support team comprised of Susan von Seggern, Jeff Bass, John Srednicki, Ace Jones, Jennifer Tilly and Wolf Rosenberg rotated in shifts to ensure that the proper Guinness documentation requirements were met at all stages, and that Laak was properly nourished with appropriate foods.
He was served small meals every five hours by nutritionist, "All American Dave," who kept the player's blood sugar at a consistent level with a diet of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean chicken and fish and sweet potatoes.
Laak pulled the plug after 115 hours, nearly two days longer than the official world record of 72 hours and 2 minutes held by Larry Olmsted. Last September, Paul Zimbler overtook the Olstead record by playing for 78 hours and 45 minutes, but it was not sanctioned by Guinness World Records.