The Ironman Poker Challenge may not hold the esteem as some of its more heralded counterparts, but it can now boast something neither the World Series of Poker nor the World Poker Tour can claim. After 36 hours, 34 minutes, and 11 seconds of continuous tournament play, the Casino at Delaware Park’s 2012 Ironman Poker Challenge officially became the longest continuous poker tournament in history.
And the ultimate stamp of validation? It was stamped and approved by no less than the Guinness Book of World Records.
“We are exceptionally proud to be the home of an event that has made world history,” Andy Gomeringer, Senior Vice President of Slots & Marketing, said in a press release announcing the record-setting achievement. “The Ironman Poker Challenge attracts outstanding and dedicated players, and we are very pleased that Guinness has recognized the stamina and caliber of our players—and the Delaware Park staff that supports them.”
Imagine playing poker for a little longer than a day-and-a-half. It might be a norm in the world of online poker, where marathon sessions lasting longer are not uncommon. But a live tournament with no breaks? Even those playing online take a minute or two in the bathroom in between sessions. Some even take to eating, drinking, and presumably a little action in between the sheets.
Play at the appropriately named Ironman Poker Challenge began at noon last August 25, 2012 and ran until its completion at around 12:36 a.m. on Monday, August 27. A total of 192 players joined the field, all fighting over a total prize pool of $100,608. It’s a relative pittance compared to most tournaments, which makes the achievement all the more memorable and downright impressive. In the end, three players were still standing when the clock hit the 36th hour, the duration the Guinness World Records set to be recognized for the record. Delaware Park was hoping to hit that mark after previous attempts at the record fell short of the mark, including the 2011 installment of the tournament, which lasted 31 hours and 58 minutes.
In the end, it was mission accomplished as Peter Konas of the Czech Republic eventually took home the title and the first place prize money of $27,160.
But the story of the tournament isn’t Konas’ win; it was the fact that the tournament itself is now part of record lore, an achievement made impressive by players and organizers who went without sleep for more than a day to set the world record.