Who Are Poker’s Guinness World Record Holders?

By Ian John
October 23, 2023
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The game of poker has been around a long time. In fact, we know it was played in the 19th century and it may well have been played long before that.


    And over that time, many incredible things have happened in the world of poker. So it is right that we pay our respects to some of the weird, wonderful and occasionally wacky Guinness Book of World Records held regarding the game.

    Of course, you can play poker at bet365 Poker and try and smash some of these records. But judging by these records, it’ll be a big ask!

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    So let’s delve straight in with a look at some of the ‘official’ records that you can try and smash yourself!

    Poker World Record FAQs!

    Q. What was the longest continuous poker tournament?

    Most tournaments nowadays will have breaks built into them, including overnight breaks for tournaments that last more than one day.

    However, that is not the case with all of them.

    In fact, in December 2013 at the Asian Poker Tour and Resorts World in Manila, the Philippines a new record was set.

    That for the longest continuous, one-sitting, tournament in history.

    The Iron Man Poker Challenge in Pasay tournament lasted for a bottom-numbing 48 hours, 55 minutes and 58.5 seconds.

    In the end, it was Damon Shulenberger of the United States that took home the biggest share of $18,240 from a total prize pool of $71,400.

    How long he then slept for afterwards is not known!

    Q. What is the largest online poker tournament ever held in terms of player numbers?

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    You may think of Las Vegas or Atlantic City as the home of poker, but the largest online poker tournament ever held was actually hosted in the United Kingdom.

    PokerStars UK, whose base was in Onchan in the Isle of Man, organised a tournament from the 5th to 6th October 2015 which attracted 253,692 participants.

    It took 470 hands to decide the winner, a player going by the nickname of DaDumon, who hailed from Austria and who won the top prize of $10,000.

    Q. What is the longest poker playing session by an individual player?

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    The latest Guinness Book of Records suggests the longest time a person has played poker continuously, which has been verified by multiple sources, is 115 hours.

    That record was achieved by poker professional Phil Laak of San Jose in California, who played continuously from the 2nd to the 7th June at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    His attempt to set the record was streamed live online and over 130,000 people tuned in over the course of the marathon to see how Laak performed.

    The record allowed Laak to take 5-minute breaks every hour, which he could ‘bank’ into longer breaks, which he did, taking half hour naps.

    He beat the previous record of 72 hours and 2 minutes, set by Larry Olmsted in 2004.

    After 115 hours, Laak finished up $6,766 and donated half of those winnings to the Camp Sunshine Charity.

    However, that record now could well have been broken.

    In November 2021, Zach Gensler took to the $1 – $3 no limit hold’em tables at the Resorts World Casino in an attempt to beat the record.

    Using the same 5-minute break rule per hour, which could be banked. Gensler saved up his breaks so he could take two 2 hour+ naps during his attempt.

    He sat down at 3pm on October 27th and cashed in his chips at 7pm on November the 1st.

    Gensler played for 124 hours according to resort bosses that witnessed the attempt.

    However, unlike Laak, Gensler finished down $1,200 at the end of his attempt.

    The Casino is believed to have submitted the documentary evidence required to Guinness to see if the record would stand.

    But as yet, it is Laak’s record that still remains in the book, for now.

    Q. Who holds the record for most Main Event wins at the World Series of Poker?

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    Stu “The Kid” Ungar holds the record for most WSOP Main Event victories with three.

    He achieved back to back victories in 1980 and 1981 and then landed his third WSOP Main Event bracelet with a third win in 1997.

    Compatriot Johnny Moss is also often claimed to have won three WSOP Main Event bracelets, winning two in 1971 and 1974. However his ‘victory’ in the 1970 tournament was not a tournament victory, but awarded by him winning a vote of fellow players.

    As such, most poker players view Ungar’s trio of successes as the benchmark to beat.

    Q. Who has won the largest cash prize in a poker tournament?

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    That record is now held by Bryn Kenney, kind of. Here’s why:

    The largest cash prize in a poker tournament record was previously held by Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari.

    The American poker professional won a prize of $18,346,673 at the World Series of Poker 2012 in Las Vegas Nevada.

    That record was then beaten in the 2019 Triton Super High Roller Series – Triton Million event when Bryn Kenney set the new record with a total win of €20,563,324.

    Oddly Kenney didn’t win the event. Aaron Zang did, but the two had agreed a deal to split the top prizes between them as they went heads up. The deal saw Kenney taking home $20,563,324 and Zhang $16,775,820.

    Zhang’s ‘win’ in that tournament saw him take home $16,775,820, which ranks third on the all-time payout list.

    Had the two played to a conclusion without striking a deal, Zhang would have won the original first place prize of $23,100,000.

    Q. What is the biggest win in a crypto-poker tournament?

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    The biggest cryptocurrency win for an online crypto poker game came in July 2019 on the Winning Poker Network in Costa Rica.

    The VENOM tournament saw hundreds of players pay the crypto-based entry fee, swelling the coffers to a crypto jackpot valued at $1,050,559.50.

    Across 48 hours of play and with a final table that had eight finalists and lasted 5 hours and 6 minutes, it was a Brazilian player, known only as “TheBigKid” that won the tournament and took home the jackpot prize.

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