Breaking Down the Action:
  • The Life of a Poker Legend
  • ‘Back-to-Back’ Flack’s Bracelet Brilliance
  • Poker Legends Pay Tribute to Lost Genius

5 Minute Read

Layne Flack was a six-time WSOP bracelet winner, and passed on Monday night aged just 52

The poker world was stunned on Monday night as news broke of the death of six-time WSOP bracelet winner Layne Flack. At the age of just 52, Flack’s passing is a major shock with the poker legend found dead at home.

With no cause of death currently known, the effervescent Flack may not have won a WSOP bracelet since 2008, but he leaves a hole in the poker world that will never be filled.

The Life of a Poker Legend

In many ways, Layne Flack represents the second wave of poker players who would go on to become legends in a different way to the original ‘cowboy’ poker players such as Johnny Moss, Amarillo Slim, and Doyle Brunson. Flack was born a few weeks before the ‘Summer of ’69 in Rapid City, South Dakota, and initially worked as a poker dealer before the game got into his veins.

Moving to Nevada, Flack sat with players such as Johnny Chan and Ted Forrest, learning at the knee of legends. By his mid-twenties, Flack was both a father and a young poker professional in the same era as players such as Phil Hellmuth. Flack was backed by players such as Johnny ‘The Orient Express’ Chan, and success soon followed.

Flack’s first major title was the Hall of Fame Poker Classic, which he won in Las Vegas for $67,800 in August 1997 aged just 28, outlasting players such as T.J. Cloutier at the final table. Another big win in the 356-player Carnivale of Poker kicked off 1998, before his first major result in the World Series of Poker.

Flack came second in the 1998 WSOP $2,000 NLHE event, losing heads-up to Jeff Ross but finishing above players such as Scotty Nguyen, Barry Shulman, and Marsha Waggoner at a stacked final table. Far from being the end, Flack’s best cash would propel him to WSOP fame and fortune.

‘Back-to-Back’ Flack’s Bracelet Brilliance

It took just 13 more months for Flack to land his first WSOP bracelet, as he won the $3,000-entry Pot-Limit Hold’em event for $224,400 in May 1999. The next two tournaments he cashed in, he won. Taking down the $330 Legends of Poker event in Los Angeles was impressive, but to add the same tournament victory the very next day was something special and earned Flack the nickname ‘Back to Back’.

The WSOP bracelet run had only just begun. Flack won two WSOP bracelets in 2002, two more in 2003 before a final bracelet arrived in 2008. Flack was proving himself a true all-rounder, taking down WSOP titles in disciplines such as No Limit Hold’em, Limit Omaha Hi-Lo, Pot Limit Omaha, and Limit Hold’em Shootout events. He was a poker natural at the felt, as well as the life and soul of the party off it.

Just last year, Layne Flack cashed nine times in the 2020 WSOP Online Series and that only bolstered a live resume that few can match. In his lifetime, Flack won over $5 million at the live felt alone and passes as the 255th most successful live poker player in history, above players such as Tom Dwan, Marcel Luske, and Dylan Linde.

Poker Legends Pay Tribute to Lost Genius

Reactions to Flack’s sad death have poured in from around the poker world and come from some of the biggest players in the game.

“I lost a friend and [the] poker world lost a friend: RIP Layne Flack,” said 15-time WSOP winner Phil Hellmuth. “Mike Matusow will do a LIVE show remembering Layne. Mikey, Matt Savage and I on 3-way with tears in our eyes.”

Daniel Negreanu’s put a tribute on Twitter to his old friend.

“RIP Layne Flack. We go way, way back and I’ll cherish all the crazy memories. Knowing Layne, I imagine he would want us all to celebrate his life and share laughs about the good old days.”

Jennifer Harman told of staking Flack in the game of poker.

“A while back, I staked Layne Flack. There were six rules that he agreed to. The first night he broke them all.  We laughed about it and then business as usual. Rest in Peace Layne. Gonna miss your infectious laugh!!”

Norman Chad told of an amusing encounter at the 2005 U.S. Poker Championship in Atlantic City.

“I walked into the Taj Mahal and saw Layne Flack, among others, wearing a ‘Fire Norman Chad’ T-shirt. ‘Really?’ I said to him. He shrugged his shoulders and smiled. ‘It was free.’”

Mike Matusow spoke for many in his grief and revealed that he had spoken with Flack recently.

“I’m so gutted as I just got news [Flack passed] away in his sleep last night! I talked with him [for two hours] on phone a week ago and he was telling me how he had turned his life around.”

Layne Flack will be sorely missed in the poker world and remains a legend of the game. It is expected that he will one day be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.

Dave Consolazio

Dave Consolazio has been passionate about writing and sports journalism since his high school years. He has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from USC where he worked with the school's radio and television stations. His work has been featured in SportsbookReview, Sports Illustrated and SB Nation. Dave's experience ranges across multiple fields in the gambling industry. You can find his sports, casino, and poker articles in GambleOnline.co.

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