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Flack is back at WPT Legends
When the WPT Legends of Poker begins at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, California Saturday, one of poker's greatest players says he'll be looking to put last year's event behind him.
"It hurt," Flack told PokerListings. "But it was more frustration than anything."
Flack went broke last year in a massive hand on the tournament's penultimate day that saw eventual winner John Phan suck out huge to crack Flack's pocket aces and leave him just short of his fourth WPT final table and a chance at a second WPT title.
But that's not the entire story.
Tournaments at the Bike use a chip to denote when a player has moved all in. Several times throughout the event, Phan asked dealers for the chip, holding it in his hands while making his next move.
Sometimes he would push all in, but other times he would give the chip back to the dealer choosing a different course of action.
With just two eliminations until the TV final table was set, Phan opened with a raise.
Flack reraised and, once again, after counting out enough chips to cover Flack, Phan asked the dealer for the chip.
Once the dealer put the chip in Phan's hand, an argument ensued regarding whether the act of asking for the chip meant a player had moved all in or not.
Flack called the floor and, noting this could be an angle to get an opponent's reaction, the tournament director gave Phan a warning that the next time he asked for the chip, he would indeed be all in.
Phan mumbled something about being caught, Flack said he knew he was just trying to scare him, but the money went in regardless.
Phan had sevens, flopped a set and turned quads to crack Flack's aces.
"When the seven came, well, that's poker; you win some you lose some," Flack said. "I know he had done it a bunch of times earlier and John Phan is known as a shot taker.
"I wouldn't have even said anything publically, but a few months later I got a call from my friend Brandon Cantu saying he did it again to him at another tournament. It's just not right."
In the year since the last Legends of Poker, Flack has run through all the 'what if' scenarios and despite the bitter taste in his mouth, he says he's ready to put the bad beat behind him.
Now he's simply focused on the tremendous success he's had at the Bike in previous years.
Popular opinion is that Flack got his nickname "Back2Back" by winning back-to-back WSOP events in 2002 and 2003, but he told PokerListings it all really started at the Bicycle Casino in 1999.
Coming off his first WSOP bracelet win earlier that year, Flack went back-to-back at the Legends of Poker, winning the Limit Hold'em shootout event and the Seven Card Stud event before making the final table of a No-Limit Hold'em event.
In 2000, before it was a WPT event, he also won the $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em main event at Legends.
"I like L.A.," Flack said. "I do really enjoy playing at the Bike and I have a lot of history there. I'm really looking forward to this."
Last year, Phan rolled into Legends as the hottest player in poker, having won two 2008 WSOP bracelets and narrowly missing a WPT title at the Season 7 Bellagio Cup a month earlier.
Despite online star Amit Makhija going into the final table with the chip lead, Phan continued to run like a champion to book the win and $1,091,428 first-place prize.
Representatives from Phan's sponsor Full Tilt Poker claim he is on vacation in Asia, is unavailable for comment and will likely not be defending his Legends title this year.
Coming off two final tables and another two decent cashes at the WSOP this summer, Flack is hoping it will be his turn this time around.
"It should be a lot of fun," he said.
PokerListings will be following all the action from the start of play at 3 p.m. PT Saturday until Wednesday's final table in our Live Tournaments section.