The World Series of Poker is now underway in Las Vegas. Not the Main Event. That won’t start until July. But there are nearly 70 events on the schedule, with tens of millions in prize money on the line.

If you’ve never been to the World Series of Poker, let us take a minute to describe it. During the series, it’s crowded. And we use the term crowded to describe one of the early events. The Main Event? That can only be described as absolute an utter chaos.

The WSOP takes place at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas. It’s not directly on the strip, but it’s about a 1-minute cab ride from Caesars Palace, off one of the side streets. On a good day in Las Vegas, the strip is packed with people (on a bad day, you can’t move). But during the World Series of Poker, all traffic moves to the Rio. The Main Event features thousands of players. We’re talking 6,000 or 7,000 players on average.

And those thousands of players can play for 14 hours straight. Yes, there are lunch breaks and bathroom breaks. And since it’s a tournament, you can technically get up whenever you want and the dealer will just blind you out. But even with getting up to stretch, playing poker for that long each day can be grueling not only mentally, but also physically.

Poker tournament chairs aren’t exactly the most comfortable chairs available. Think of banquet chairs at a wedding, without the fancy linen coverings. Now imagine sitting on one for more than half a day at a time.

It gets so tough that the World Series of Poker sends around personal masseuses to offer massages. It costs money but they do it right at the table while you play. It’s pretty fantastic and it helps players relax. And since sitting isn’t really good for anyone, the massage is needed.

Phil Laak lives the dream of staying awake

As bad as a 14-hour poker day sounds, it’s nothing compared to what professional poker player Phil Laak went through. The champion player, who is married to actress-turned-poker-player Jennifer Tilly, sat down at the tables for 115 hours of nonstop poker action.

Yup, you read that right. 115 hours of poker playing insanity. It went down at the Bellagio in Las Vegas back in 2010, but it’s still the record and we can’t see it being broken anytime soon. We’re talking consecutive hours, with one 5-minute every hour (which were ultimately taken off the total time, so the 115 hours is after accounting for those breaks).

With Jennifer Tilly by his side, he bested the previous record holder’s 78 hours. Laak wanted to originally hit 80 hours, but he just kept going, pretty much ensuring that the record would be secured for a long time.

Why did he do it?

Two reasons, actually. First, there’s something big to be said about getting yourself into the Guinness Book of World Records. It was Laak’s childhood dream to get himself into the record books. Laak managed to do that, and he’ll be in there for a long time. But the second one is even more impressive. Laak donated all of his winnings to a local children’s charity.

The pro poker player doesn’t need the cash. Laak has made millions playing poker and he has a WSOP bracelet to prove it. He’s also made 6 WSOP final tables and has cashed over 61 times at various casinos across the world.

How did he do it?

If you’re planning to follow in Laak’s footsteps, don’t think you can just sit down and try. Laak actually trained for 6 months before even attempting to break the record. Yes, it seems strange to train for sitting down. But remember, we’re talking about no sleep. If you’re a slob and haven’t worked out—if you’re not fit—don’t both trying because your body needs to be able to handle staying awake for that time.

Diet is also a big part. Laak stayed away from coffee and energy drinks. Instead, he focused on healthy eating and worked with a trainer to build a healthy, regular diet.

In the mood for poker?

If you’re craving poker, we don’t recommend playing for 115 hours. In fact, if you find yourself playing for so long that you forget to go to sleep (or, worse, work), you might want to seek help from a responsible gambling agency. But if you’re into playing responsibly, check out what Silver Oak Casino has on offer.

Let’s be clear. We’re not an online poker site. If you want to play against other players from various corners of the globe, you’ll need to find a poker room that let’s you play against other players (these sites usually don’t offer online casino games, and if they do they’re usually sub par).

However, at Silver Oak Casino, you’ll find lots of video poker options, including Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Crazy Eights, and lots more. These games follow similar hand ranking systems that you might be used to with Hold’em, Omaha, and 5-Card Stud, except instead of playing against other players, you’re simply playing against yourself.

As long as you hit the bottom ranked card, you’ll get paid out. So in Jacks or Better, if you’re dealt a pair of Jacks or anything better, you’ll win. Plus, after the first deal, you can still swap out cards for new ones—as many as all 5.

Sign up now and play for free

In addition to poker, you’ll find table games, specialty games, and slots. In fact, if you could find it at Bellagio, you can find it online at Silver Oak Casino. The only thing you need to get started is a free account. We’ve made it really easy to set one up. Just create a username, set a password, enter a few pieces of information for security purposes, and you’re good to go. With your account, you can play on PCs, Macs, and Android and iOS devices, so come join us whatever you use and wherever you go. Heck, you could even bring us with you to Vegas — just in case you want to attempt to slash Laak’s record and want something to do between hands.


Simon is an overactive gambler and the Staff Writer here at Silver Oak. He loves casino bonuses, online slots, and using the em dash too often. Currently, he rests his typing hands in Vancouver, Canada.