On Sunday night, the World Series of Poker announced the late Layne Flack as the 61st member of the Poker Hall of Fame.
Flack, who passed away in July of last year at the age of 52, beat out nine other nominees including players Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, Brian Rast, Josh Arieh, Kathy Liebert, Michael Mizrachi, Mike Matusow, as well as PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg, WPT Director Matt Savage, and WSOP commentating duo Lon McEachern and Norman Chad.
The six-time WSOP bracelet winner burst onto the scene in the late 1990’s and was a household name throughout the poker boom in the early 2000’s, generally regarded as one of the best players of his era. The South Dakota native worked at small card clubs in Montana before he made his way to Las Vegas to play professionally.
He won his first WSOP bracelet in the 1999 $3,000 pot-limit hold’em for $224,400 and earned his nickname “Back-to-Back Flack” for winning two tournaments in as many days at the Legends of Poker series in Los Angeles just two months after that.
He went on to win two bracelets at consecutive WSOP’s in 2002 and 2003 to add to the history of his nickname. He won a pair of no-limit hold’em events in 2002 for a combined $571,900 before coming back the next year and taking down the $1,500 no-limit hold’em shootout for $120,000 and the $2,500 Omaha hi-lo for $119,260. He won his sixth and final bracelet in 2008 in the $1,500 pot-limit Omaha for a career-best score of $577,725.
Over the course of his more than two-decade career, Flack racked up more than $5 million in live tournament earnings while simultaneously becoming one of the most well-liked players on the tournament circuit.
Flack shared his thoughts on the Poker Hall of Fame back in 2019 when he was interviewed for a legendary episode of the Card Player Poker Stories Podcast.
“I know I’ll be in the Hall of Fame. Of course, I’d like to be alive when I get in,” Flack said.
At the time, Flack believed that politics involving the voting members had played a role in why he hadn’t been nominated yet. He was ultimately nominated for the first time in 2021, losing to Eli Elezra.
“I know it’s going to be harder and harder ten years from now because the younger generation of superstars will by 40 years old by then,” Flack continued.
Flack hoped to be inducted with his friend Ted Forrest, who has six WSOP bracelets of his own, played in the big game against Andy Beal, and has been nominated on and off since 2014, including this year.
Forrest joins Matt Savage, who has also been passed over for the hall in seven out of the last eight years.
The announcement came during a special Hall of Fame event at the Rio featuring a $1,979 buy-in in honor of the year the hall was founded. If players were able to eliminate a member, they would also earn an additional bounty equal to the year the player was inducted.
So great to see all of the #Poker Hall of Fame players together!
WSOP</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/PokerNews?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">PokerNews pic.twitter.com/Dko7O6LQlE
— Katerina Lukina (@k8te_look) July 11, 2022
In order to be considered for the Poker Hall of Fame, a player must be a minimum of 40 years old and must have played high-stakes poker “against acknowledged top competition” while “standing the test of time” by playing consistently well and earning the respect of their peers. Or, for non-players, they must have “contributed to the overall growth of the game with indelible positive and lasting results.”
There are 32 living members of the hall, which collectively vote each year from the list of nominees.
The WSOP has received some criticism in recent years for reducing the number of inductees to just one per year, while also eliminating the media vote. Card Player columnist Bernard Lee has some ideas that could help alleviate the backlog of players who are currently waiting to enter the hall.
Here is a look at all current members of the Poker Hall of Fame:
|Nick “The Greek” Dandolos||1979|
|Felton “Corky” McCorquodale||1979|
|James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok||1979|
|Walter Clyde “Puggy” Pearson||1987|
|Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson||1988|
|Jack “Treetop” Straus||1988|
|Fred “Sarge” Ferris||1989|
|David “Chip” Reese||1991|
|Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Preston||1992|
|Julius Oral Popwell||1996|
|Stu “The Kid” Ungar||2001|
|Johnny “The Orient Express” Chan||2002|
|Bobby “The Owl” Baldwin||2003|
|Brian “Sailor” Roberts||2012|
|David “Devilfish” Ulliott||2017|
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