Sunday, June 6, 2010

99 Hours And Counting For Laak

[You can support Phil by texting SUNSHINE to 20222
to give $10 to Camp Sunshine]

Phil "The Unabomber" Laak has now been playing poker for 99 hours straight and counting at a $20/$10 No-Limit Hold 'Em at the Bellagio. On Saturday, he busted every known endurance record, the 72-hour stretch that is the official Guinness record and the 79-hour run that the poker world accepted as the real mark.

Since I've been following this wacky feat for AOL News for a few days now -- my piece on his surpassing the record and his allegiance to talcum powder is up this morning -- but here are some other fun images to share.

First of all, the Bellagio poker room is a nonstop madhouse. It looks like this every night I've been there:

Hang out at the Bellagio poker room long enough and you realize that it can be a full-service high-end take-out dining experience, carts coming and going nonstop. This wasn't Phil's, but I thought the flower was a nice touch:

Here's Phil with girlfriend Jennifer Tilly on Saturday night when he passed the mark of 79 hours set by Paul Zimbler of London who, incidentally, I interviewed via email for my AOL News piece:

For a while, Antonio Esfandiari, Laak's close pal and as WSOP bracelet winner known as The Magician, played at the table:

After he left, he made prop bets with other poker players that Laak would make it 96.5 hours, which he did. On Twitter, he was gleeful:

I, too, might be kept awake by the poof of hair sitting to the right of Phil.

That interviewer, incidentally, asked to sample the food that Phil was eating. Phil is having meals delivered by a nutritionist every five hours. The one at the 75th hour looked like this:

Phil is presently up $12,000. He keeps a graph every hour of whether he's up or down. He's been down more than $30,000 but came back. He promises to split the winnings with Camp Sunshine, a camp in Maine for kids with serious illnesses and their families. Looking back on it, he should have gotten pledges from other poker pros to donate X amount per hour after he broke the record. No word as to whether Antonio will be giving his prop-bet winnings to Camp Sunshine.

In case you're wondering, this is what's on the table besides him, and if you click to blow up that image you may be able to see me in the frame of the webcam while I was taking this shot:

Yes, he can see the webcam feed that has been going out for all this time, although he hasn't participated in the chat so far as I can tell. That would be this guy:

Phil vows he's used no caffeine yet but has enjoyed dollops of some sludge known as dextro-cyclodized liquid beef amino and protein complex recommended by a nutritionist for energy. That's what the bottle is behind the tissues.

This event/stunt has clearly been good for Laak, if he ever gets his sleep back. There are presently nearly 1900 people watching the live webcam stream and his Twitter following zoomed from about 1,500 on Wednesday to nearly 5,000 now.

Here's what the cam screen looked like an hour ago:

And finally, Laak's folks emailed me this fun little keepsake, a shot of me interviewing Laak and Tilly on Wednesday, the audio of which is available in the podcast feed or here.

That was in Hour 7. I interviewed him again at Hour 75 but opted not to podcast that because he understandably didn't make a whole lot of sense. I can only imagine how well he's speaking now as approaches 100.


Bogas said...

"I interviewed him again at Hour 75 but opted not to podcast that because he understandably didn't make a whole lot of sense".

I'd like to hear that - it sounds fun :)