A new record has been set for the Guinness World Records “Longest Continuous Poker Tournament” at the APT-RWM Iron Man Poker Challenge after Damon Shulenberger won the event after 48 hours, 55 minutes and 58.5 seconds.
Shulenberger from the United States of America won the champion’s purse of $18,240 but more importantly, etched his name into the history books as the last man standing in the longest poker tournament ever.
And it was a tough tournament to play according to the newly-crowned APT champion, who never quite grinds in poker as much as other “pros”:
“I have never experienced anything like it in my life. Not only going without sleep for two nights straight but I started at Level 1 at 8PM and never left the table for five minutes, until almost 50 hours later, with winning the championship,” reflected Shulenberger in the post-tourney interview.
“I am mostly a casual player so whereas some people like to play all night, all day I’ve always maintained a commitment to sleeping at least by 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. so I never did an all-nighter like some of my friends. So actually I was really an iron man virgin.”
The $700 buy-in tournament initially had 115 runners and was cut down to 48 players at the midway point of what was the previous record of 36 hours, 34 minutes and 41 seconds set in Delaware, U.S.A. in August of 2012.
At roughly the 30th hour, the bubble was burst and the contenders were down to 18 players. Two more were eliminated during the first 30 minutes off bubble time and six more followed them to the rail in the next two hours to establish the 10-handed final table.
The first three hours of final table play saw five more players fall by the wayside. And the final five—Shulenberger, Sandro Simon (Germany), Lim Dae Hoon (Korea), Choi Byung Kyoo (Korea) and Florencio Campomanes (Philippines) — were still grinding it out when the previous mark was finally broken at around 8:45 a.m. Manila time.
“I owe it all to Berroca (juice) and also to the Asian Poker Tour girls for enlivening me with their presence,” said Shulenberger when asked of his method for staying awake and alert for the duration of the tournament.
Despite the record being broken already, the remaining five players showed no signs of letting up—probably, on the back of their minds, to establish an unreachable new world record to make it harder for future prospects who might want to attempt to rewrite history again.
“(Honestly) we wanted to finish it as quickly as possible to sleep but unfortunately the structure of the tournament didn’t allow it. We were forced to go on and on and on and almost to force us to sleep in our seats,” shared the champ.
Eventually, Campomanes (busted out at the 38th hour), Hoon (42nd hour) and Simon (45th hour) were felted first to set up the Shulenberger vs. Kyoo heads-up.
Both sleep-deprived and wanting absolute rest, Damon proved to be the tougher and more resilient player coming out on top after over four hours of heads-up battle.
The clinching hand was the A♣ 4♥ by Shulenberger against Kyoo’s K♣ 7♥ and the board A♦ 2♦ 3♦ J♠ 10♥ formally ended the long tournament and gave the American the title.
“I don’t think I’ll play poker again for at least a month,” promised Shulenberger. A promise kept until probably the next APT event.
APT-RWM Iron Man Poker Challenge Payout (US $)
1st Damon Shulenberger (USA) -$18,240
2nd Choi Byung Kyoo (Korea) – $10,670
3rd Sandro Simon (Germany) – $7,390
4th Lim Dae Hoon (Korea) -$5,390
5th Florencio Campomanes (Philippines) – $4,460
6th Howard Ang Lee (Philippines) – $3,680
7th Gerry Flores (Philippines) – $3,030
8th Kim Jinwi (Korea) – $2,530
9th Norbert Koh (Singpore) – $2,180
10th Martin Corpuz (Philippines) – $1,870
11th Samad Razavi (England) – $1,750
12th Zhang Quaosheng (Singapore) – $1,750
13th Nasser Jose Perez (Philippines) – $1,500
14th John Tech (Philippines) – $1,500
15th Liam Anderson (Australia) – $1,500
16th Dexter Salmingo (Philippines) – $1,320
17th Davor Bendin (Germany) – $1,320
18th Wendell Davis Garcia (Philippines) – $1,320
To satisfy the Guinness World Records’ requirement and to assure the integrity of the event, cameras were installed around the tournament areas with the event being recorded 24/7 for the duration of the tournament. Officials from the Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and independent auditors were also present all of the time to be “witnesses” to the record-breaking feat.
With the new year around the corner, players can start scheduling the APT dates in their calendars after the official announcement of tourneys for 2014.
The APT Asian Series Cebu is set from February 12th to 19th at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Lahug, Cebu City; the APT Philippines is scheduled from April 30th to May 7th at the Resorts World Manila; and the first-ever APT China will happen from June 18th to 25th at the Chimelong Paradise Hotel Convention Center in Guangzhou, China. For full details of upcoming tournaments, go to the Asian Poker Tour Events Page.