RIP Back-to-Back Flack. On Monday, word quickly spread around Las Vegas that Layne Flack passed away. Flack was a throwback and Vegas legend for his skills on the felt and his antics away from the tables. Flack was still from the old-school of Vegas pros that worked hard and partied harder. When he was focused and locked in, Flack was tough to beat... especially if he had a stack in front of him.
"RIP Layne Flack," tweeted Daniel Negreanu. "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."
Flack grew up in South Dakota and Montana. He worked the graveyard shift in casinos in Deadwood, South Dakota during college and that's when he was introduced to stud poker. After he got a grasp of the game, he decided to drop out of school and quit his casino gig. He moved to Reno to purse a life as a professional. After a quick stint in Nevada, he moved back to Montana after his daughter was born. He returned to the casino biz to support his family. He ran a poker room in Bozeman for a bit. As the story goes, Huck seed convinced Flack he should take another shot at poker.
In 1997, Flack went to Las Vegas and won his first tournament. At the 1998 WSOP, Flack narrowly missed a bracelet when he took second in a $2K NL event. He won $133K for a runner-up finish before losing to Jeff Ross heads-up for the bracelet. His first WSOP final table also included Scotty Nguyen, Barry Shulman, Bob Feduniak, and Marsha Waggoner.
Flack first became a legend at the Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino on the outskirts of Los Angeles. In August of 1999, Flack won back-to-back tournaments at the Bike. The locals bestowed him the nickname 'Back-to-Back Flack', which stuck for the next two decades.
Flack had a burning passion for PLO, but he was a fierce NL player. Flack finally won his WSOP first bracelet in 1999 in a $3,000 PLO event, which paid out $223K. In 2002, Flack won two bracelets in NL events for a total score worth $571K. In 2003, Flack bagged two more pieces of bling with another NL shootout bracelet and his first Omaha 8 bracelet.
In the early days of the World Poker Tour, Flack was a popular player on their broadcast with four final table appearances, including two runner-up finishes and a victory at the 2003 WPT Invitational.
At the 2008 WSOP, a clean and sober Flack shipped a $1,500 PLO rebuy event for his largest score in his career worth $577,725. That marked his sixth and final bracelet of his career.
Flack had a well-publicized battle with drugs and alcohol. Sin City is a nonstop party 24/7 and when you're young with a brick of cash burning a hole in your pocket, it's difficult to just say no. Flack indulged in club drugs and powdery substances to keep the poker and party going. Flack lived the rockstar lifestyle in Vegas, but it eventually burned him out and left him broke and busto. His friends and family tried to help him get sober. Negreanu paid for one of Flack's trips to rehab in 2004.
Although his heavy druggy days were behind him, Flack could not outrun the booze demon. He got pulled over by Vegas cops for a DUI the night before the Heads-up Poker Championship and missed the taping of the event because he was behind bars.
If Flack took better care of himself, especially during the peak of his powers, he could've easily won ten or more bracelets. Vegas is a merciless town, especially if you have multiple vices and constantly live life in high gear. For a brief time, when Flack was on the top of his game and before the partying caught up to him, he was truly one of the premier poker players in the world. Every star in the universe eventually burns out. Flack's luminous star dominated the Vegas sky for several decades, but his burned out too fast.
RIP Layne Flack.