According to Bill Emmons' gaming card, he was exactly the 141st person ever hired to work at a casino in Colorado. That was more than 20 years ago, and he's been playing poker ever since -- but he's never played poker like he's playing right now. And before he's through, if all goes according to plan, Emmons will have played poker like nobody ever has: By 3 p.m. Monday, Emmons and his partner, David Miller, hope to break the Guinness World Record for marathon poker playing at Fortune Valley Casino in Central City with a total of 120 continuous hours of gaming. But that won't be the only thing extreme about the feat.
Emmons' marathon, which started yesterday at 3 p.m., seeks to defeat the record for the same category, set last year by Phil Laak at the Bellagio in Las Vegas at 115 hours; Emmons' goal of 120 amounts to exactly five days. "Guinness gives us five-minute breaks every hour, and you're allowed to save those up, so we might be able to put together 40 minutes and get in a quick nap or something," Emmons says. "But it's being filmed every second, and people have to account for where we are at all times. Guinness is pretty serious about this stuff."
The point of the stunt, through sponsorships, is to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, a charity of which Emmons' mother is a fan. "When I was a kid, I can remember my mom walking me around asking for money for MDA. She's not doing so well lately, and she can't really get on her feet to fundraise anymore, so I'm doing it for her." As far as why his mom is so devoted to that particular charity, Emmons isn't really sure -- "You know, I couldn't really tell you that," he says -- but that doesn't really make the gesture any less sweet. Especially considering Emmons is putting his own health on the line.
"I've got a blood clot in my leg," he says. "I got out of the hospital after about eight hours on Monday, so during the marathon, I'll be giving myself shots in the stomach and taking medication to keep the clotting down. The doctors said this was not a good idea, but we're too close not to do it now."
Holy shit! Did you hear that part about how he's going to have to give himself shots in the stomach? Holy shit!
If they manage to pull if off, it'll make it just that much more impressive; nevertheless, Emmons is modest: "I'm not big enough to break any records playing football or baseball, and I can't even stand on skates," he concedes, "but I can play poker."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.