Editor’s note: Layne Flack passed away on Monday and Phil Hellmuth reached out to USPoker to offer his reflections about his longtime friend.
My old friend Layne Flack was a six-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and one of the biggest and best personalities in the poker world.
He was universally loved in our poker world, and one reason was this: if he sensed that you were mad at him, or heard that you said something bad about him, then he came straight to you. He found you, walked up to you, and talked to you mano a mano.
None of this passive aggressive BS with Layno! If you were mad at him, it didn’t last long, as he would charm you and get to the bottom of any issues quickly. I always respected the fact that Layno tried his hardest to maintain good relationships with everyone.
Big personality, plenty of friends
When it came to having a quick wit, there was Layno! He would make you laugh about anything, even serious matters. He was lightning quick, and so fun to be around! A friend of mine told me that the back and forth between him and Layno was as sharp as ever as they went at each other over the last few weeks.
Layne, Ted Forrest, and I spent quite a lot of time together back in the day, including a trip to Baden, Austria, in October 2000 to play in the “Poker EM” Seven Card Stud tournament, followed by a stop in Paris for another tourney.
Layne could own a room, and became fast friends with everyone we met.
I lost a friend and poker world lost a friend: RIP Layne Flack. @themouthmatusow will do a LIVE show remembering Layne. Sean Chaffin will have an article out about the legendary—6-time @WSOP winner—w tributes from some of us. Mikey, Matt Savage and I on 3-way w tears in our eyes pic.twitter.com/CAn1D3x0Kl
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) July 20, 2021
Skills at the poker table
Layne’s poker game was even sharper than his amazingly sharp wit! He was ranked number two in the world in No Limit Hold’em tournaments when the first rankings came out in the late 1990s in Poker World magazine.
I said back then that Layne was my toughest opponent. He was impossible to bluff! I remember one WSOP tournament where he and I were chip leaders with 17 left. He put in the fourth bet with just an eight on a 9-9-8 board. Risking his entire stack with just an 8!
Of course, I was bluffing, but he knew that somehow. Then after moving in a mountain of chips, he showed it to me proudly.
I remember thinking, “If you try to bluff this guy again, then you’re an idiot.”
He was fearless! That brilliant poker game of Layne’s led to six WSOP bracelets.
Success beyond poker
Layne shot multiple perfect games of 300 in bowling and was nearly a scratch golfer. No matter what our match was in golf, and we had many all over the US, he always seemed to win.
Of course, the smart play was to have him on my team, then I always seemed to win.
Layno stayed at my house many times over the years. We always had a good time as we discussed life, poker strategies, our relationships with friends and family, and how things were going for us at that time.
I’ll miss my quick-witted, no-holds-barred, straight-up friend. To the legendary Layne Flack: rest in peace.
* Lead image courtesy WPT