The late Layne Flack, a six-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner who passed away unexpectedly last year at age 52, was announced as the Poker Hall of Fame’s sole 2022 inductee on Sunday afternoon during a brief ceremony at the 2022 WSOP.
Flack’s selection as the 2022 inductee was announced during an early break in Event #76: $1,979 Poker Hall of Fame Bounty No-Limit Hold’em event, which began action today in the Paris Ballroom. The PHOF selects only one inductee each year, and Flack topped an outstanding field of ten finalists, including Matt Savage, Isai Scheinberg, the announcing team of Norman Chad and Lon McEachern, Josh Arieh, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Mike Matusow, Kathy Liebert, Michael Mizrachi, and Brian Rast.
News of Flack’s selection as the 2022 inductee began to leak into public knowledge on Saturday. Flack topped the voting among the 32 living members of the PHOF, Overall, Flack becomes the 61st poker figure to be honored, and he is the first to be selected posthumously since David “Devilfish” Ulliott was similarly enshrined in 2017. The WSOP did not immediately release the voting tallies.
‘Back to Back’ Flack was feared force at tables in early ’00s
Flack earned his six WSOP bracelets in a ten-year stretch from 1999 to 2008. His famed “Back to Back” nickname was derived from his unusual achievement, in 2002 and 2003, of not only winning two bracelets in a single WSOP, but doing so in consecutive years. Overall, Flack earned more than $5 million in recorded tourney results.
Flack’s long-time friend, Derek “Tex” Barch, spoke warmly of Flack at today’s ceremony. “He was an amazing friend, more like a brother. Through good, bad and all his mischief — Layne had your back! Layne was close to my children. He would come and spend weeks at our house. Always entertaining them, taking them places and making sure it was all about them. When my daughter died this past January, one thing that brought comfort to me was to know that Layne would be there to greet her, and they could laugh together, in eternity.”
Another of the 2022 finalists, Savage, has often commented on how Flack dominated tournament poker during the height of his career. Sadly, Flack’s outstanding career was later derailed by his ongoing struggles with alcoholism. Flack had reportedly turned his life around in the months preceding his unexpected passing, but he was never able to again demonstrate the form that made him a legend, for a short period, among his fellow pros. Flack was widely admired by many of his fellow players and was known as an outgoing and friendly player at the tables.
For Savage, the 2022 PHOF balloting represented yet another near miss. A perennial favorite, Savage had already been named a finalist more often than any other person in poker history, and he finished as the runner-up in both of the last two years in which voting totals were known. The WSOP did not release official tallies in 2021 after Eli Elezra rose from fifth place a year earlier to become the voters’ choice for enshrinement.
Featured image source courtesy PokerGO