The sad news shook the poker world on Monday July 19th. Six-time WSOP champion Layne “Back-to-Back” Flack was found dead in his Las Vegas home. Here’s why he was a legendary player, how his career developed and why his colleagues in the poker shop loved him.
How Lane Flack went from dealer to regular and got to Vegas
Lane Flack was born on May 18, 1969 in Rapid City, South Dakota. Since childhood, he played poker with his grandparents. In the first half of the 1990s, Flack took a job as a dealer at a small poker room in Billings, Montana. This room was his only place of work. Those who knew Flack as a dealer said he gave the best in the state. After work, Flack went to another casino where he played poker. As time went on, the game took longer and longer, and then Flack quit. At 24, he and his girlfriend Lane moved to Reno, Nevada to pursue a poker career. Lane Flack’s skill did not go unnoticed. The poker prodigy meets the sharks Johnny Chan and Ted Forrest.
WSOP wins and the history of the “Back to Back” nickname
Lane Flack won his first major $ 1,570 NLH Hall of Fame Poker Classic in 1997 ($ 68K). The following year, he made another big slip, winning the $ 540 NLHE Carnivale of Poker ($ 65K). In 1999, Flack won his first WSOP bracelet in a $ 3,000 Pot Limit Holdem ($ 224K) tournament.
In total, Lane Flack has won 6 WSOP bracelets in a way like no other. In 2002, he won two bracelets in two weeks, and then in 2003 he repeated this achievement. And at the final of the PLO8 tournament, Lane knocked out all of his opponents in 4 hours. For his ability to win two bracelets per series, he received the nickname “Back to Back”.
List of all Lane Flack’s WSOP wins:
|1999||$3,000 PL Holdem||$224,400|
|2002||$ 2,000 NLH||$303,880|
|2002||$ 1,500 NLH||$268,020|
|2003||$ 2,500 Omaha Hi-Lo Split||$119,260|
|2003||$1,500 Limit Holdem Shootout||$120,000|
|2008||$ 1,500 PLO rebuys||$577,725|
Rick Fuller remembered funny dialogue on this matter:
Some guy: How many WSOP bracelets do you have?
Some guy: So they were all won at a time when they were easy to win?
Flack (responded instantly) That’s right. This is why all the players of that time have six bracelets.
In fact, only 16 players have ever won 6 or more WSOP bracelets.
In total, Lane Flack has earned over $ 5M in live tournaments, with $ 2.8M in WSOP events. Lane remained loyal to the World Series until the end of his days. Even during the lockdown, he played at the WSOP Online and in 2020 made 10 hits on the Internet.
Lane Flack was an outstanding player not only in tournaments, but also in cash. At the peak of the game, many considered him one of the best. Flack was also liked to be called to poker shows on TV.
Drug and alcohol problems and the 2009 NBC Championship scandal
Lane Flack was a cocky, hyper-aggressive player. He was one of the first to play in a loose-aggressive style. He also didn’t mind drinking at the poker table.
In the early 2000s, Flack started having serious drug and alcohol problems. In 2004, Daniel Negreanu paid $ 60,000 to rehabilitate Flack. In his book Deal Me In, Flack recalled:
“I was successful at the tables in 2002 and 2003, but my lifestyle finished me off. In 2004, things went downhill. I lived in a one-room apartment with my girlfriend Paulette. I had no money to pay the rent. I haven’t eaten anything. Drugs almost killed me. ”
Alcohol and drugs were Flack’s loyal companions throughout his life. In the spring of 2009, Lane was scheduled to play in the first round of the NBC Championship heads-up against Vanessa Selbst. But at the right time he did not appear at the tournament site. David Oppenheim was found to replace him. David joked that he put something in Flack’s glass at the party last night to play for him. It was a joke, but there was some truth in it.
On the night before the tournament, Flack was detained by the police for not giving way to a car with special signals. He was also accused of drunk driving and speeding. Lane Flack refused to take an alcohol test (which is equivalent to an offense), served 6 hours at the precinct. Once free, he made a statement that a subsequent test at the police station had not found alcohol in his blood.
The official cause of Lane Flack’s death has not been announced. But Eli Elezra in her Twitter hinted that Flack had died of an overdose.
The reaction of the poker world to the passing of Lane Flack
The news of the death of the legendary player blew up Twitter. All agree on one opinion: he was a nice guy, free, funny, with an outstanding sense of humor.
Permanent WSOP commentator Norman Chad recalled a funny story in Twitter:
At the 2005 US Poker Championship in Atlantic City, I walked into the Taj Mahal and saw Lane Flack wearing a T-shirt that said Fire Norman Chad! I asked: “Seriously, or what?” To which Flack shrugged his shoulders, smiled and said: “So they gave away for free!
Jennifer Harman also remembered a funny story with Flack:
A long time ago, I bet on Flack. He had to comply with 6 rules (note: which ones, Harman did not say). But on the first evening he broke them all. We, as always, laughed notoriously at this. There has never been a case that you did not smile at me. RIP, Lane. I will miss your infectious laugh!
Phil Hellmuth: “I and the whole poker world have lost a friend. RIP Lane Flack. Together with Mike Matusow and Matt Savage, we will make a podcast dedicated to Flack, and Sean Chaffin will write an article. ”
Daniel Negreanu: “RIP Lane Flack. Going far, far back, I will keep all these crazy memories. Knowing Lane, I think he would like us to celebrate life and laugh at the good old days.