Layne Flack, Poker Biography
by Jennifer Newell
Born on May 18, 1969, Layne Flack hails from Rapid City, South Dakota but was raised in Montana. His introduction to card games came at an early age, as his grandparents taught him to play pinochle and he picked up other games through the years.
As a teenager, Flack moved back to Rapid City to graduate from high school there and proceeded to work at a casino for a time, then during his college years he worked as a poker dealer in Deadwood, South Dakota. And on his off time from his casino work, he often spent time at other casinos player poker and putting into practice all of the plays he saw at work. Ultimately, the urge to play and the money he made at the tables overrode the desire for a dealing job, and he quit to play full time.
His poker travels began in 1993 when he moved to Reno, where he reportedly made approximately $10K per month playing cash games and the occasional small tournament. But within two years, he and his girlfriend had a daughter, and they moved to Bozeman, Montana for the family's sake, though Flack continued to play poker, even establishing a poker room in a local casino there. He became friends with Huck Seed there, and the latter mentored him and encouraged him to take his poker game to Las Vegas, which Flack did in 1997.
He immediately found some success on the tournament scene, picking up his first win in the Hall of Fame Poker Classic in Las Vegas in 1997 for $67,800, followed by a win at the Carnivale of Poker a few months later. By April of 1998, he was ready to take a shot at the World Series of Poker, and he barely missed winning a bracelet when he came in second in the $2K no-limit hold'em event. And in the year that followed, he final tabled and won several tournaments in the Vegas and Los Angeles areas.
It was then that Flack met Johnny Chan, who also gave him pointers and instructed him on lifestyle changes that would help his game, as well as strategy tips. Chan staked him in some tournaments, and encouraged by the confidence Chan had in him, Flack excelled. And by 1999, he not only had several Legends of Poker and L.A. Poker Classic final tables and wins under his belt, but he headed to the WSOP that year and picked up his first bracelet in a $3K pot-limit hold'em tournament. And 2002 became his year to shine, as he picked up two WSOP bracelets - one in $2K no-limit hold'em and another in $1,500 NLHE - which launched the nickname that would stick with him for years: Back to Back Flack.
His wins spread to the World Poker Tour, where he finished in second place at the 2002 World Poker Finals in Foxwoods but picked up his first WPT title in 2003 at the WPT Invitational. He then took another two bracelets at that year's World Series of Poker, one in limit hold'em and the other in an Omaha hi-lo split game, showing that his game was diversifying and his skills were continuing to improve. He kept placing well at the WPT but a win eluded him through the years, but he added another WSOP bracelet to his resume in 2008 when he won a PLO tournament for his sixth WSOP title, a feat that not many other poker players in the history of the game had been able to do.
Through the years, though, Flack struggled with personal demons, mostly in the form of drugs. From 2000 forward, his drug use progressed from occasional pick-me-up drugs to ecstasy and harder drugs as well as alcohol. He admitted to playing many tournaments while intoxicated, and though it didn't seem to affect his results much, he was often unable to drive to and from casinos. But his friends took notice and began to worry. By 2004, Daniel Negreanu offered to put him into a rehabilitation facility, and Flack accepted. The lengthy recovery process put Flack on a clean and sober path for several years, though he seemed to relapse quite severely in 2008 or 2009, as reports vary on that. But in 2009, he was picked up for a DUI on the way to the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship, which made his personal problems all the more public again.
But Flack continues to perform at the poker tables. Through the decades, he has picked up more than $4.3 million in live tournament winnings, as well as successes in cash games and in the realm of online poker. With the support of a variety of friends, Flack has the potential to continue his long string of poker accomplishments.Read Layne Flack's Profile for more information including his tournament results and total winnings.
Jennifer Newell is a freelance writer, originally from St. Louis but now living in Los Angeles. She fell in love with poker while working at WPT and began writing about it in 2005.