A few months back, in Las Vegas, at the Red Rock Casino's $20,000 buy-in tournament, Layne "Back-to-back" Flack faced a tough six-handed starting table, including: Phil Ivey, Allen Cunningham, Richard Brodie, Jeff Shulman and Robert Mizrachi. There were six tables with six players at each table, and winning your table simply meant that you would get your money back. The final six players would then play for $600,000 for first place, live on FSN (Fox Sports Net) on Thanksgiving Day - the first show is on October 7th.
Flack is one of the toughest - and most feared - no-limit Hold 'em tournament players in the world, and he has been since he left Montana and showed up in Las Vegas back in 1998. In 1998, on his very first trip to a major tournament, Flack made an immediate impact by winning one of the first big-time poker tournaments that he ever played in. A few years later, he picked up his "back-to-back" nickname at the Bicycle Club (in Los Angeles) when he won two tournaments in two days. The reason Flack is feared at the table is that he is capable of betting all of his chips on a pure bluff when he smells any weakness at all in his opponent. When Flack is reading the other players well, then you might as well stop trying to bluff him altogether, because if you do, he will be ready for you.
Flack tells me, "I felt like I was in complete control of the table, playing at the top of my game, and making some nice hands as well. My pocket aces made a full house, my pocket kings made a full house, and then I flopped a set with pocket fives." They had started with $100,000 in chips apiece and Flack was up to $240,000 when the following hand came up against Cunningham with the blinds at $4,000-$8,000. To set-up the play Flack says, "Twice I had thrown away ace-rag hands including A-6, after Cunningham had moved all-in on the button or from the small blind - I was on his left. Now he moved all-in on the button for $80,000, and I 'insta-called' him from the small blind with K-J. I had sort of set Allen up by folding the ace-rag hands, and this was the time to knock him out. Of course, my K-J was gold! Allen had 10-9, and the flop came down eight high, followed by a 10 and a nine. Ouch!" (Flack's K-J was roughly a 2-to-1 favorite before the flop. It also seems like $80,000 was a lot for Cunningham to risk with 10-9 before the flop.)
The story continues, "I fought for 40 minutes to get back up to $200,000 in chips, and then Cunningham moves all-in with 9-8, and I call him with my K-9. Can you believe it; I lost this pot as well when Allen hit an eight on me? Now I was down to $40,000 but not ready to give up quite yet. Again I fought back and won a $140,000 pot when Allen moved all-in with J-8, and this time I called him with K-Q. Now my old buddy Richard, who actually wrote Microsoft Word, and is named 'Quiet Lion' on the Internet poker sites, raised it up with A-10 to $24,000 to go. I then moved all-in for $140,000 with J-J, and Richard called me immediately. I was surprised that he 'insta-called' here, but Richard is super-wealthy and I think that he likes to beat me whenever he can. (If Brody thinks Flack is weak, then he can call here.) In any case, I was a huge favorite to take the chip lead and go on to win this thing. When the flop came down A-J-2, it was over. Or was it? The next card was an ace, and I said, 'No ace or 10 please.' Then tournament director Matt Savage said, 'What about a deuce?' As if on cue, the dealer burned and turned and a deuce popped up for me to lose the pot and get eliminated. Richard flopped one pair against my trips, but wound up making aces full."
By the way, Flack was a 2-1â2-to-1 favorite to win before the flop with his J-J against Brody's A-10. As far as being a favorite on the flop, Flack was such a big favorite (roughly 30-to-1) that I cannot count that high! However, I can count on the fact that you will see Flack's name over and over; if you're paying attention to who's winning in the poker world over the next 10 years.
Setting up another player may include:
A) Throwing away a strong hand and showing him
B) Giving him the impression that he can bluff you
C) Never bluffing him until a key hand comes up
D) All of the above.