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The Longest Poker Game in History

By July 15, 2022September 20th, 20222 Comments

Have you ever asked yourself during one of those late Friday night poker games that seem to last forever just how long one could play a single session of poker without interruption? Well, now that we put that thought into your head, you might as well stay with us for the story of the longest poker game ever played.

Where Did The Longest Poker Game in History Take Place?

If someone were to ask you to guess the location of where the longest poker game took place, chances are you’d probably imagine some Twitch-streamed World Series of Poker tournament with Guinness World Record officials trying to note down a record. But the truth is that it took place in a setting that’s inseparable from poker history. The Wild West.

The longest poker game in history occurred in a famous town you might know by an even more famous movie. Tombstone, Arizona. A place known for the infamous shootout at the O.K. Corral. And not an ounce less infamous venue where history was made is the Bird Cage Theatre that stands to this day. You can imagine what kind of reputation it had back in the day when the New York Times described it as “the wildest, wickedest night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast.”

It is in the basement of the said institution that the longest poker game occurred. And it’s not the only thing that the basement hosted. It also had an elite bordello where it’s said Wyatt Earp met his fourth wife with whom he remained married for 47 years.

Who Took Part in The Longest Poker Game?

Speaking of Wyatt Earp, he was only one in the line of the most recognizable faces of the Old West that took part in the poker games Bird Cage Theater organized. He and the other participants of the already mentioned shootout at the O.K. Corral were not only regulars of the Bird Cage Theatre but actively took part in the longest poker game. Besides the famous duo of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, other notable players were George Hearst, Diamond Jim Brady, Bat Masterson, and Adolphus Busch.

What Were the Stakes?

The owners of the Bird Cage wanted to keep their business afloat by coming up with the idea of organizing a never-ending high-stakes poker game. The minimum buy-in was $1,000 with an estimated $10,000,000 that changed hands during the course of the game. If you take into account the inflation it corresponds to more than $273,300,000+ in today’s dollars. And out of all the proceedings, 10% went to the owners of the Bird Cage. So, it’s quite obvious why they didn’t want it to ever end, isn’t it?

How Long Did The Longest Poker Game Ever Played Last?

We got so worked up, that we forgot to mention what got us started writing this article in the first place. The duration of the longest poker game in history. Well, it ran continuously from 1881 to 1889, for a total span of 8 years, 5 months, and 3 days and an unknown number of hours. How’s that possible, you may rightfully ask? Well, the official story goes that players would quit only when someone new came in to play and replace them. Also, they had only a few minutes worth of rest in between the hands, after which the game would continue.

Why Did it End?

So, what was the reason for the game to finally fold knowing it was lucrative for all the parties involved? Considering the history of Tombstone and Bird Cage, one would presume a shootout or a heist to be the reason. But the truth is rather prosaic. In March of 1889, the miners of the nearby Grand Central Mine dug too deep, causing ground waters to flood the silver deposits that were the backbone of Tombstone’s economy. The town’s residents grew poorer, which made the Bird Cage owners put an abrupt end to the longest poker game ever played. So far, that is!


While eight years might seem like a long time for a poker game in this day and time, the one truth that stands the test of time is that the longer you practice, the better you become at something. If you want to acquire the status of these legendary poker players, go check out our list of tips on how to quickly improve your poker skills. And when you do, feel free to play some of the best online poker games you can get your hands on, here at Brango’s instant withdrawal casino.


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