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Poker Legends: Layne Flack

“Poker is a game and a conversation going on without words.”

Even before he became a poker pro, Layne Flack knew how to listen to the language of poker. When he was a dealer at a casino, players would think he was cheating (even though he wasn’t playing!) because he would say what cards they held before they flipped their hands up at showdown.

Flack would go on to become a poker great, with over $5M in live earnings, six World Series of Poker bracelets, and back-to-back high-profile tournament wins that earned him the nickname “Back-to-back Flack”.

Photo: Poker.org

The 2022 Poker Hall of Fame

Flack was recently inducted into the poker hall of fame, making him the latest to join a pantheon of greats that includes Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, and Daniel Negreanu.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t get to enjoy the accolades. Flack died on July 19, 2021 at the age of 52. According to the Clark County coroner, the cause of death was listed as fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine intoxication.

The worst part of it is that in a 2019 Poker Stories interview he said “I know I’ll be in the hall of fame. Of course, I’d like to be alive when I get in.” The irony is real with that one.

A Big Poker Personality

Known for living “life in the fast Layne”, Flack had a huge personality at the table, and only God knows how many crazy stories he could tell. He came up from humble beginnings, became a high-roller, and epitomized that lifestyle.

For instance, there was one time when a friend of his found him at a strip club at noon, still wasted from the night before. They were partway through a multi-table tournament, so his friend dragged Flack to the casino, where he ordered two more beers. By the end of the night, he had the biggest stack at the tournament.

At another tournament, he fell asleep mid-hand because he was so drunk. His opponent thought he was tanking, but he was actually asleep! When he suddenly woke up, he pushed all his chips into the pot, only realizing that his hand was 82—he had no clue what he was doing. Still, unable to get a read on him, his opponent had to fold.

“I’m not scared of anyone in the world at Hold Em,” said Phil Hellmuth. “But I do have a healthy respect for drunk Layne.”

Now that he is enshrined in the poker hall of fame, Layne Flack will always be remembered for the wild times he had on and off the felt, his outgoing personality, and the fun energy he brought to the table.


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