Poker's Final Table Cash Machine
|Sexton's Corner, Vol 67, Part 2
Last week we highlighted the tournament record of Layne Flack in Part 1 that demonstrated his
reputation to be poker’s final table cash machine. With his 19 WSOP cashes, 12 final tables, 6 first
places, 2 second places, and 2 thirds on the poker world’s biggest stage……….. his batting average is
the best in the business!
If you were to make a big time final table at any WSOP or WPT event, the one player you would hope
not to encounter would be the ever aggressive Layne Flack! He has got to be one of the most
dangerous players to face in the world at any final table! There are millions of poker players on Earth,
but if you made a list of the 10 toughest final table players that you would not want to ever face at the
WSOP or WPT event……Layne Flack would be very high up on that prestigious list! Great Hold’em
players like Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, Erik Seidel, Daniel Negreanu, Allen
Cunningham, and others might be selected………it certainly is subjective, but for my money, Layne
Flack would make most people’s list of the 10 toughest players to face at a WSOP or WPT final table.
His winning track record is simply too awesome to ignore! I remember Layne Flack’s incredible feat at
the 2002 WSOP when he won back to back WSOP gold bracelets! This daily double raised a lot of
eyebrows that year as a poker star was born. In 2002 I was the one with a lucky ringside seat, as the
official photographer for Binion’s Horseshoe. Layne looked great in both events wearing a bright
purple shirt. He was in stroke and seemed to be in total control of both final tables. On the big key
pots he seemed to know every time what his opponents had as though he had some special ESP
power when to press the action. He looked like a winning jockey on the best horse, as he sensed
when to let it go and push everything into the winner’s circle! His two back to back victories were
impressive, and placed him in extremely rare territory in the WSOP record books.
These back to back victories were his 2nd and 3rd WSOP gold bracelets on his way to win 6 WSOP
titles by 2008 in the $1500 N.L. Hold’em event with re-buys. Layne bought in for 21 rebuys or $31,500
in total rebuys! He ended up winning $577,725 which was his biggest WSOP payday in his career!
A player has to have a lot of confidence in his own ability to overcome his investment to pull this off!
Layne Flack: Most people think you should always raise on the button in no-limit, but they are wrong.
In no-limit, the most common places where players go broke is on the button and in the blinds.
Everyone thinks you’re stealing in those positions, so you cannot steal. Hypothetically, what you do in
limit is way different from what you do in no-limit. In limit, you should almost always raise on the button
and play position, but in no-limit, if you raise on the button, you had better be prepared to stick it all in.
Justin Marchand: You’ve also advocated attacking big stacks rather than endorsing the small-ball
approach to accumulating chips. Why so?
Layne Flack: Well, first off, it is the best way to gain chips, right? The hardest thing about playing no-
limit is playing the big stack. With a short stack, you have only a few options, but with a big stack, you
have a ton of options. Big stacks are forced to play the flop, turn, and river, which is a much harder
thing to do. And people who have a big stack have something to protect and don’t want to lose it, so,
actually, they are less dangerous than those players with short stacks, if you play them right
So many players just don’t change gears when they get a big stack, and cannot hold on to it. The
other problem with playing a big stack is that you get into more coin flip situations. Often, if you have a
big stack and make a raise, and someone reraises all in, pot odds will require a call. Now the guy gets
to see all five cards and his hand is protected. Now you’re not a player, but a coin flipper.
Besides Layne winning back to back WSOP bracelets in 2002, he won two more bracelets the very next
year in 2003. Although these weren’t back to back events, to win two WSOP bracelets two years in a
row is something so rare I can’t recall anyone else doing this feat. Yes, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey and Ted
Forest won three WSOP gold bracelets during one WSOP, but the following year they didn’t pick up two
more. (Or even one) Layne won his first one in 1999, two in 2002, two in 2003, and five years later
after a few ups and downs, he won his 6th WSOP title. Only Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan, Doyle
Brunson, Johnny Moss, Erik Seidel, and Billy Baxter have won more. All of these players are in Poker’s
Hall of Fame except for Erik Seidel, and they are probably soon inviting him into Poker’s most exclusive
club very soon. With his eight WSOP bracelets combined with his longevity, class and personal
integrity Erik is a no-brainer to be selected for membership to Poker’s Hall of Fame.
Layne will tell you flatly, “When I sit down at a final table I like to find out who is scared of me first and who isn’t. My strategy will adjust to beat both types of
players.” Recently Layne was featured on the cover of Card Player Magazine. There is a must read article on Layne written by Justin Marchand called “Life
Out Of The Fast Layne” in the September 24, 2008 Issue. Justin discovers how Layne’s mind works on some important points to consider when looking to
win at the poker tables. Two examples that jumped out for me were the following: Justin Marchand: I’ve read that you have said, “In no-limit, everything you
think you should do, you shouldn’t do.” Can you give me an example of where this line of thinking is applicable?
Phil Hellmuth is the greatest Hold-em tournament player around, as his 11 WSOP gold bracelets certainly underscore, but as of today, he has never won in
any other game outside of Hold-em. When I was the WSOP official photographer I remember Phil and Scotty Nguyen getting heads-up in a high low split
event. Phil was so crushed coming so close but ending up in 2nd place he literally dropped to the floor in an emotional heap and stayed there for almost 10
minutes with his head buried in his arms, before getting up to accept what had just happened. It was drama at its finest, but showed just how bad Phil wants
to win one outside of Hold-em for sure. There is no doubt he will break that barrier more than once before his career is finished! Many times Phil Hellmuth
gets criticized for his outbursts, as he is the first to admit he wears his emotions on his sleeves during competition.
I’ve been with Phil outside of poker like on Cruises and he is truly a nice family man and good father to his kids!
Layne Flack is headed to that rare territory reserved for the greatest poker players in the world; rather it is a Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Phil Hellmuth, or
anyone else. With Layne’s 6 WSOP gold bracelets……. he has become a big star in today’s poker world! With all of the accolades that come his way, there
is also a sense of responsibility that is part of the package, to represent the poker world at its very best on and off the field of competition. This lesson for
our great poker players is the most important one for them to all learn. In the end, the most respected poker champions demonstrate class, integrity, and
respect for their opponents at all times. To remain humble with strong character is a sign of strength and self confidence. Combine this with a poker player’
s raw talent on the green felt; the whole package is truly indestructible!
The Cab Is Parked,
Layne’s career is as though he was shot out of a cannon with absolute spectacular performances! There is no doubt if he continues to utilize his talents he
could easily be a unanimous selection to Poker’s Hall of Fame himself down the road. Remember, Layne is 25 years younger than the “Great One” Doyle
Brunson! With all of Layne’s talent there is no way to know just high up the mountain his accomplishments will take him.
By the way, Layne Flack has also had 7 cashes on the WPT including a victory, which most WSOP gold bracelet winners can’t claim. He has won many other
tournaments, including picking up a $500,000 payday at the Aruba Classic not too long ago. His daughter, Hailey, who is 13 never was able to watch her
Dad play at a final table before in the Casinos. Layne was extra proud that day, as his daughter got to see firsthand just how good her Dad is at his craft.
A $500,000 payday would have to impress Hailey or any other kid……..don’t you think?
As mentioned previously Johnny Chan has been Layne’s mentor from his early days in Las Vegas. Not only has Johnny backed him up in some big
tournaments in the past, but the two of them are genuinely good friends. It was Layne Flack who approached Johnny first about getting involved in ALL-IN
Energy Drink, and Johnny took the product to the next level we witnessed at the 2008 WSOP. Both Johnny and Layne are loaded with so much talent, not
only in No-limit, but in all of the other games as well. Look up their records in the 16 WSOP events that the two of them have won gold bracelets in, and the
variety of events they collected their World titles in will get you to start shaking your head in disbelief! The greatest icon in the poker world today is Doyle
Brunson and he too has collected his titles in a variety of events.
|(Above) Layne Flack & Johnny Chan during the All IN Energy Drink Video.