Sexton's Corner, Vol.66, Part 1
Layne Flack
"Poker's Final Table Cash Machine"
This week's poker trivia question # 16
(the answer will be given in next week's column)
In 2007 Jerry Yang, who is one of poker's nicest gentlemen, won the WSOP Main Event.  When the
players got down to two tables Jerry caught the same hand three times in huge pots that were key to his
capturing the biggest poker title on earth, sending him into the history books.  The first time it happened
there were two tables left, and the next two times during the final table the same hand won the decisive
key pots that crowned Jerry Yang World Poker Champion.  Name this key hand.
Answer:
Last Weeks Poker Trivia Question & Last Weeks Answer,

Poker Trivia Question # 15

Chip Reese was known to be the greatest high stakes cash game player in the poker world for 30
years before his untimely death.  What was his amazing hand he caught that launched his career the
first time he played in the Big Game?  He never caught this hand again his whole life!  Name the year,
the place and the game this hand happened for the "Great One" that literally changed his life.
Tom Sexton is the featured columnist on www.SextonsCorner.com, which has become one of poker's most popular and unique online web sites
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In 1973 the Big Game in poker was played at the Flamingo Hotel Casino by the likes of Johnny
Moss, Puggy Pearson, Doyle Brunson, and Nicky Vachiano.  Chip Reese entered the room for
his first try in the $400/$800 7 Card Stud Hi Lo Split game.  He looked so young to security
that he was told to go away.....this game is for the high rollers son.  The first nite Chip flashed
his ID and entered the game his partner Danny Robison sat behind him as recounted in
Sexton's Corner, Vol. 25 "The Golddust Twins".  Chip caught a straight flush wheel catching
the 5 hearts on the river to scoop a gigantic $30,000 pot!  It was the only time he ever caught a
straight flush wheel in his 30 year career in 7 Card Stud Hi Lo Split, but winning this early pot
the first time he took the chance to play in the Big Game literally launched his poker career
into the high stakes world, never looking back again! With his confidence soaring that night,
Chip went on to win $390,000 that week-end...........a huge score in 1973!   
Stay tuned for Part 2 of Layne Flack’s intriguing and incredible story that at age
39, is still zooming upwards in the record books!  I remember what Stu Ungar
said in 1997 when he had just won his third WSOP Main Event.  He told Gabe
Kaplan on ESPN in his immediate interview on ESPN that “Nobody can beat me
except for myself.” There may be no one sentence or thought more important to
understand by anyone who has outstanding talent in any venue than that one!  
Eighteen months later though Stu Ungar was found dead at the Oasis Motel from
a lifestyle of drug abuse, which is probably life’s biggest landmine of all!  In all of
life’s endeavors there is nothing but a series of landmines everywhere.  The truly
great ones learn to cope and overcome these landmines in order to reach the top
of their individual worlds, both professionally and personally!  I’m certainly
rooting for Layne Flack to keep his train on the right track.  
L
ast week I thought I would check out a new poker room that has been open for
about six weeks now in Las Vegas.  I had heard some great things about the new
Poker Lounge at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and the state of the art 18 table
poker room.  It was opening night for the new Hold-em game called Hold-em Plus where a
player can buy a new card for $1.00 before the flop.

I sat down next to my friend Sam Shehadah who invented this game and got it approved by
gaming.  The Director of Poker Operations stopped by our table, Houston Waldie, and
welcomed everyone.  Talking with him the first five minutes was uplifting, as he is interested in
providing nothing but the best for all of his players.

His interaction and congeniality with the players around the whole room was very noticeable
and players are going to love playing there.  The first thing I told him I noticed was his chairs
are the most comfortable in town and Houston said they were custom special ordered from
LA as one of his top priorities.  There is no doubt this room is going to be a big hit with
everyone who comes to play here!  As I was playing that night one of poker’s biggest
superstars walked into the room to jump in a No Limit Hold-em game.  It was none other
than six time WSOP gold bracelet winner Layne Flack!  I’ve known Layne for many years
and before he left that night I was able to talk to him.

Simply put, Layne’s record playing in the WSOP is like no other player on the planet!

His ratio of cashes, final tables made, first places and top three at the final tables is the best
of all time!  He truly is poker’s most amazing closer at the WSOP final tables.  To prove this
let’s take a look at his results at the WSOP:
1.)        He has cashed in a total of 19 times at the WSOP
2.)        He has made 12 final tables
3.)        He has won 6 WSOP gold bracelets.
4.)        He has taken 2nd two times.
5.)        He has taken 3rd two times
6.)        He has taken 4th one time.
7.)        He took 8th one time
Layne Flack’s amazing track record when he gets to a final table is legendary in the poker world.  Even Hall of Famer Stu Ungar only won five times
out of his ten final tables he made at the WSOP, and Stuey’s reputation as a winning thorough bred horse at the final tables has always been what so
many still talk about to this day!  What Layne Flack has done is even more amazing if you look at the amount of entries he had to defeat versus what
Stu Ungar faced in his day.  At the race track bettors love a horse that wins, places, or shows almost every time out of the gate, especially when that
horse wins 1st place half of his career races!  Layne Flack is one of those rare competitors that only come around every few decades!

With all Layne has accomplished he is still a very young man.  He was born May 18, 1969 in Rapid City, South Dakota.  He graduated from High
School in 1987 and attended college in 1991.  He dealt and played poker and began to realize he could make more money doing that, so he left
college.  After growing up in Montana most of his life he started his poker career in Deadwood, South Dakota, and ended up moving to Las Vegas
after a short stay in Reno, Nevada first.  Layne actually held a private game and one of  his customers was Huck Seed.  Huck quickly spotted Layne’s
talent and suggested he take his poker talent to Las Vegas.  With Huck’s encouragement Layne headed to Las Vegas and won the second tournament
he entered and scored over $60,000.  The first big event he won was the Hall of Fame Classic at Binion’s Horseshoe.  This was a great confidence
builder and reinforced his decision that coming to Las Vegas was a good move.
It wasn’t too long after coming to Las Vegas that Layne was in a poker game losing almost everything he had won in a tournament earlier that night.  
Johnny Chan, who was the poker legend who had won the WSOP Main Event in 1987 and 1988 back to back, and then was runner-up in the
WSOP Main Event in 1989 intervened to give some advice to a young 26 year old Layne Flack:  “You need to stop tonight and get some sleep.  If
you do……. I’ll put you in tomorrow’s tournament.”  Sometimes when you are young and a little wild you don’t listen to anyone giving you advice,
but this was the living legend approaching Layne to offer some much needed advice.  Evidently Johnny Chan had seen something special about Layne’
s talent before anyone else noticed in Las Vegas.  For Layne to quit the game big loser that night and get some much needed rest may have been one
of the smartest things he ever did in his life.  He showed up for the tournament the next day and played for Chan.  Right out of the gate Layne Flack
wins this tournament playing for Chan!   Johnny became his mentor and friend.  Layne was able to sit behind Johnny in many side games and watch
how he played.  Watching the Master at work combined with his own raw talent was such a fortunate break to fine tune his game.  This may have
been the biggest factor in laying a solid foundation for Layne to soon find huge success down the road at the WSOP himself.  
Let’s not forget the great player back in Reno who encouraged
him to take his talents to Las Vegas around 1995.  Huck Seed
went on to win the 1996 WSOP Main Event himself as a young
man.  Looking back at Layne Flack’s start to become a great
poker player……How does a poker player who grew up in
Montana most of his life who started his poker career from
Deadwood, South Dakota manage to surround himself with the
best in the world? Most people don’t know this about Layne, but
in his early days in Montana, South Dakota, and Reno Layne
Flack had this unexplainable natural ability to close the show
when he made a final table in smaller tournaments.  Then right
before he moved to Las Vegas in 1995 he won 1st in the Spring
Poker Classic in Billings, Montana.  Before winning his 1st
WSOP title in 1998 he won another 1st place in the 1997 Hall of
Fame Classic and the 1998 Carnivale of Poker held at the Rio.  
Along with these victories he cashed in high in four other
tournaments. Before he went on to win 6 WSOP  gold bracelets
out of his 12 WSOP final tables along with two 2nd’s and two
3rd’s, Layne had developed a similar closing the show style in
(Left) Johnny Chan With Layne during the All In Energy music video shoot.
smaller final tables in his career elsewhere. One of the most stunning statistics to me of all time in WSOP history is Layne Flack’s extraordinary
percentage of coming in first, second, or third in 10 out of 12 final tables he has made………with six first places!  This is an 83% average of win,
place, or show in the world’s biggest tournaments in every final table you play in the prestigious World Series of Poker!  
To be fair, Layne Flack’s journey to find such success at the WSOP has been in the fast lane for sure, but not always in the positive fast lane.
Some of these bumps in the road are well documented with his drinking and drug problems.  He has quite often been compared to Stu Ungar not just
for his talents on the felt tables, but his personal demons he has had to overcome along the way.  Both Stuey and Layne have pushed the envelope to
the edge of life.  We lost Stuey as a result very early in his life at 45 years old.  All of us experience ups and downs in life………it is the essence of
what life is about.  Some ups and downs are more severe than others.  In Layne’s case his train has derailed big time several times, but to his credit,
he seems to be getting it back on the right track today.  Layne has made several course corrections and is back on top of things as of the 2008
WSOP with his $577,725 1st place victory in the $1500 No Limit Hold-em event with re-buys.  Wait until you here how he won this event with his
key hand against Phil Ivey in next week’s column.  We will hear from Layne about his various strategy philosophies and his ups and downs, along with
his thoughts about his Back to Back WSOP gold bracelets he won in 2002.  This amazing feat gave us his well known nickname of:  Layne “Back to
Back” Flack.
With all of his talent, there is no telling how successful his story could be in the WSOP and WPT history books, before he is done, and done on his
own terms.  

The Cab Is Parked,
Tom Sexton