This year saw Zach Gensler set the world record for biggest single-day poker session. The 2018 WSOP Main Event champion is not afraid of taking on high stakes games, but he’s also taken up professional sports betting this past year.

Professional poker player In 2010, Phil Laak did what some players thought was impossible. At the Bellagio, he played a 115-hour poker session, breaking the Guinness World Record.

Many people believed this could never be surpassed, but Zach Gensler disagreed. 

Gensler came inside the new Resorts World poker room in Las Vegas on Oct. 27 around 3 p.m. He took a seat on the felt and resolved to beat Laak’s record. 

“I’ve always known I could put in lengthy sessions,” says Gensler, who resides in Moorhead, Minnesota. “I thought I had a shot to surpass Phil Laak’s 115-hour record.”

“At Aria, my previous longest session was 80 hours. After meeting him on the poker floor, [director of poker operations] Sean McCormick motivated me to try again and succeed.”




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Getting down on the table

On Twitter, Gensler tracked his progress hour by hour. He also recorded the proceedings on video.

Gensler works as an interior woodworker in new homes throughout the day and enjoys playing poker in his spare time. His foray into the realm of poker began following a traumatic event in his life.

His mother died in 2010, and he sought a means to cope with the grief. Gensler started playing poker as a kind of distraction.

“It took my mind off the fact that he was dying,” he adds.

Gensler had some good fortune early on. He won $80,000 in a poor beat jackpot at the Golden Gates Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado.

A few years later, at Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen, Minnesota, he won a table share of another bad beat jackpot at $48,000. His poker career has gotten off to a good start thanks to the two large winnings.

“Winning the bad beat jackpots rekindled my interest in poker,” he adds.

Setting a new high-water mark

Gensler completed his admission into the record books on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m., after 124 hours continuous play at Resorts with few pauses. He stayed up for more than five days while playing.

Gensler adhered to a rigorous schedule, taking no more than 15-minute breaks. This was the time for eating, relaxing, and using the toilets.

Gary Hagar, director of poker operations at Resorts World, recorded and validated the effort. Guinness will get all evidence, including:

  • surveillance footage
  • tracking software for competitions
  • clip from a personal vlog

After the organization evaluates the data, Gensler believes that his record will be formally acknowledged in the coming weeks. He struggled to get through certain days since this wasn’t an easy task.

“It started becoming challenging for me at the 90-hour mark,” Gensler admits.

Regardless, this poker warrior persisted.

Bringing everything to a close and the aftermath

Many poker players came into the poker room to see how he was doing and offered to buy him a dinner or simply keep him company. 

Gensler was down roughly $1,200 after five days of pounding. He’d gotten close to break-even at the 115-hour mark. His poker experience, however, ended in the red after a downswing in the final few hours.

Gensler was entirely aware of his surroundings after completing the task, yet he couldn’t wait to get some sleep. This is the last time he will go for a session of that length. He now has a new aim in mind: to divert his attention away from cash games.

“Winning a large event is my next big goal,” he adds. 

How did it feel to finally achieve his aim after hours and hours at the table?

He recalls, “It felt fantastic to reach my objective and to keep going for four more hours over what I had planned.” “I’m feeling much better today, but my body and mind needed approximately a week to completely heal.”

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