Hustler Founder and Poker Fanatic Larry Flynt Dies Aged 78

12 Feb

Larry Flynt, the controversial Hustler magazine and casino founder who had a passion for poker and pornography, has died in Los Angeles, aged 78.

A spokesperson for Larry Flynt publications told US press that free-speech advocate Mr Flynt died in his sleep at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center “from the recent onset of a sudden illness.”

Flynt had become an incredibly important figure in the USA for numerous reasons, not least of which the numerous lawsuits he was involved in over the years, one of which saw him shot outside a courthouse in Georgia in 1978, leaving him a paraplegic.

The self-confessed “smut peddler who cares” is perhaps most famous for the Hustler magazine that he founded in 1974, having built a business empire in Ohio based on strip clubs.

Married five times, Flynt was portrayed by Woody Harrelson in the 1996 movie “The People vs Larry Flynt”.

To many poker players, however, he will be remembered for his love of seven-card stud, his home game becoming one of the biggest and most famous in the world.

Despite, or perhaps because of being a mediocre player at best, a seat at Flynt’s game – originally held at his home and then moved to the Hustler Casino – was highly-sought after.

“Larry’s Game” as it became known had stakes as high as $4,000/$8,000 and featured his favourite 7-card stud, with players such as Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Barry Greenstein, Chip Reese and Ted Forrest among its famous participants. David Oppenheim reputedly once lost $1.8 million in the Flynt game.

It was said that anyone turning up late for the game faced a $500 fine, the money put towards food for the players. Because of his injuries following the 1978 shooting, Flynt’s preferred low room temperature saw players wrapping up to stay warm as they played.

Flynt also reportedly staked many players, the recently-deceased Thor Hansen, and old-school legend Danny Robinson among them. The latter, named along with Chip Reese as ‘The Golddust Twins’ was described by the late, great Mike Sexton as “the most famous and legendary 7-card stud player in the world”.

Flynt played few tournaments, and his biggest cash of $230,000 came at his own Larry Flynt’s Poker Challenge Cup, at his home casino in Gardena, as runner-up behind Barry Greenstein.

He also took $10,000 for an 8th place finish at the 2000 WSOP at Binion’s in Las Vegas, David Chiu taking the title in the $5k Seven-card stud tournament.

A decade or so earlier, Flynt had been banned from the WSOP after allegedly bribing players to chip dump to him in order to win a massive bet he had with Doyle Brunson.

More recently, Flynt lost a lawsuit he brought trying to overturn an “outdated” anti-organised crime law in California that he claimed had cost him the chance to enter lucrative “out-of-state” casino markets.

Flynt is survived by his fifth wife and four children.

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