Late Larry Flynt Leaves a Poker Legacy

The late Larry Flynt who died in February 2021 aged 78

Larry Flynt died last week and most people know him as the controversial founder of Hustler Magazine. Flynt left a strong legacy in the world of poker, too.

Flynt hailed from Lakeville, Kentucky but he made his name in Ohio. He purchased his mother’s bar for $1,800 in 1965, refitted it, and turned it into a business pulling in $1,000 per week. It made that much money that Flynt bought two more bars with the profits.

1968 saw Flynt open a higher-class bar featuring nude hostess dancers; he called it the Hustler Club. The club was a roaring success, which prompted him to open similar venues in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo. The most successful Hustler bars pulled in $500,000 a year, a huge sum in the 1960s.

Flynt launched the sexually explicit Hustler Magazine in 1974 and it was highly lucrative. The man who grew up in poverty was now a millionaire.

Disaster struck on March 6, 1978 when Joseph Paul Franklin shot Flynt. Franklin, a white supremacist, was outraged by a photoshoot in Hustler. He shot Flynt, leaving him partially paralysed from the waist down and needed a wheelchair.

Flynt died from heart failure in Los Angeles on February 10, 2021 aged 78-years-old.

Flynt The Poker Player

The multi-millionaire began playing poker in the 1970s and was good friends with Danny Robison. Robison is regarded as one of the best stud players to ever play the game. He and David “Chip” Reese moved to Las Vegas together in the 1970s.

Robison’s prolific poker playing drew Flynt to the game and he developed a passion for seven-card stud. He wasn’t the most skilled player, but his personal fortune of several hundred million dollars allowed him to play the game for high stakes.

Flynt primarily played cash games, but had some limited tournament success. He won $240,255 in his MTT career, the bulk coming from one of his own tournaments. He finished second in the $125,000 Million Dollar Seven Card Stud Tournament in 2003 and banked $230,000. Barry Greenstein won the event for $770,000.

June 22, 2000 saw Flynt open the Hustler Casino in Gardena, California. Max Votolato, the director of Freeway City, revealed nobody wanted the casino calling Hustler.

“He was able to harness this new, young, hip crowd of poker players and make them his clientele. The city of Gardena originally didn’t want Flynt to call it The Hustler Casino. They wanted it to be ‘The New Eldorado Club’ but the Hustler name brand is such a big draw and so the rest is history.”

The biggest stud games took place at Hustler Casino. $2,000/$4,000 with a $1,000 ante and a $200,000 minimum buy-in was the game! Such luminaries as Phil Ivey, Ted Forrest, and John Hennigan frequented the games.

Playing For the Love of the Game

Eli Elezra is a talented stud player, one with three WSOP bracelets in that format. It is fair to say Elezra is able to assess a fellow stud player’s skills.

“Larry is a nice guy but he plays way too many hands. That is why everyone plays with him. He’s won a million dollars a few times, but, that the end of the year he loses what he is supposed to lose.”

His losses were often large, but he just loved playing, especially home games as Rod Pardey Jr explained.

“The first thing that happened was that everyone got a $100 haircut by a top Beverly Hills barber. Then there was a gourmet dinner that was as nice as could be. Then the poker began. Larry lost a million dollars that night. I believe the limit was $800/$1,600 with a lot of cross-booking going on.”

The controversial Flynt was a polarizing character. You can’t argue, however, that the deep-pocketed man had a major love for the game of poker.

Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.

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