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How Do Normal People Get Roped Into Marathon Poker Sessions?

22 April 2006

NOTE: This is the second in a series of articles about my attempt to play poker for a 24-hour session on April 22-23, 2006. Click
here to read Part I.



In my first installment, I described how and why I decided to play a 24-hour poker marathon. But in reality, my game is kind of contrived. I'm doing this so I can describe to you, loyal audience, what the experience is like.



I still don't quite understand why, given the chance to get some sleep, someone would play for such a long
time under normal conditions. Turns out, not many people plan on playing for that long.



Antonio Esfandiari, a professional player known by many as "The Magician," once played a 36-hour session when he was 19 years old.



"I never planned on playing that long," Esfandiari said. "I usually don't play for more than 12 hours unless there are serious pigeons in the game."










Chris Akin, a player in my weekly home game, once got a group together to get a hotel room for a night at Foxwoods. After checking in, they all dropped off their suitcases and proceeded immediately to the poker room.



While the rest of the group eventually cashed in their chips and crashed for the night, Akin ended up playing for 27 consecutive hours. He left without seeing the hotel room again, jumping in the car once the rest of the crew was ready to leave.



"It just sort of happened," Akin said of the 27-hour marathon. "The other people at the table were all relaxed and having a good time, so that made it easier to stick around."



Antonio Esfandiari's Tips on How to Survive a 24-Hour Poker Session

  • Alter your sleep schedule so you wake up an hour before you plan to start playing.

  • Avoid caffeinated beverages until you get into the final 6-8 hours, because your body will become
    dependent on the drug and you will need to keep replacing it.

  • Once you do need a pick-me-up, try kickbutt amped energy
    ballz
    . Esfandiari, a spokesman for the product, describes them as
    Red Bull in a candy form.




Todd Yellin, another regular in our weekly game, also has experience playing extended sessions at Foxwoods. Like Esfandiari and Akin, he never plans on a long session. He only plays through the night when he's had a run of bad luck early on.



"What usually happens is that I drop a couple hundred bucks, and I'm stubborn enough to sit there until I make it back," Yellin said. "I think I always have (made it back) on these sessions, given enough patience and time, which is why I keep (playing)."



Yellin also believes that once he reaches a certain point in the night, it makes more sense to wait for the sun to rise before making the two hour trek from the casino back home to Cambridge, Mass.



"They lay out muffins and stuff around 8 a.m., which helps energize me," Yellin said. "Also just having the natural light wakes you up if you were dragging a bit. Usually, I'll have won my money back by that point, which means it's time to leave."



Larry Olmstead of Hartland, Vt., however, takes the cake. Two years ago, Olmstead played for 72 consecutive hours at Foxwoods, setting the Guinness world record for consecutive hours of casino poker room play. Unlike most marathon players, Olmstead planned the session to gather material for a story published in U.S. Airways' Attaché magazine.



"A few years ago, I had gone to Las Vegas and played for 45 straight hours," Olmstead said in a story in the Valley News. "But that time, I was drinking constantly and just doing it for fun. I figured doing it one more day without drinking and being focused would be okay. It was a little harder than it looked."



Okay, so my 24 hours looks wimpy in comparison, but hopefully I can pass on enough knowledge from my experience to give you the tools to survive a marathon poker session, whether you plan it or not.



In his previous life, Aaron Todd was a sports journalist by day and a poker player by night. He can now be found covering the poker beat for Casino City and making horrendously unsuccessful bluffs in his home game. Write to Aaron at aarontodd@casinocity.com.


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Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.