One of the most colorful casino owners of all time, former businessman, publisher and Hustler owner Larry Flynt passed away this last week from heart failure at his home in Los Angeles. Flynt was a man who led one of the more interesting lives of anyone associated with the gaming industry. He was also arguably was one of the most passionate defenders of the First Amendment. Flynt was 78 years old.
Controversial Life Nearly Killed Him
To say that Flynt’s lifestyle was normal would be laughable. His business career started with the ownership of adult entertainment establishments in Ohio in the early 1970s. When business ebbed for his businesses, he took to promoting them through a small magazine that he named after the business – Hustler. This would be the area where Flynt would make his name and one which almost killed him.
Hustler went a little further than most adult magazines, often pushing the border of what some called “decency” and others called the First Amendment. Flynt, as he became more powerful, rose as a defendant of that sacred piece of the Bill of Rights, which resulted in an assassination attempt against him in 1978. He would survive the shooting, but he would be permanently paralyzed and wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life.
Flynt would move on to casino ownership in 2000, buying a California card room in Gardena, just outside of Los Angeles. He would rebrand the card room Hustler Casino, naturally, which hosted one of the more popular poker rooms in the L. A. area. It became a popular outlet for the game, with several major poker tournaments offered in its tournament area, and Flynt himself hosted a high-stakes game for years that drew in some of the best players in the world.
Despite being a cash game player for most of his life, Flynt did dabble in the tournament arena on a few occasions. His biggest score was a second-place finish in a high-stakes Stud game during one of his Hustler Casino tournaments, and he also earned a cash at the World Series of Poker, despite being banned from the tournament in his later life. Flynt’s career earnings in tournament poker are only around $240,000, but his legacy in the game is memorable.
Remembered in the Poker World
There are a few people who paused at the passing of Flynt to offer their remembrances of the man. Former poker journalist/host Lizzy Harrison passed along a story about being invited to see on of the Flynt poker games during the mid-2000s:
I was invited to watch Larry Flynt’s game in 2007, and was eager to film intvs, but was rebuffed by security. I reminded Larry of importance of freedom of press, and not only did he allow it, he also invited me to his office to intv him the following day: https://t.co/3SsvGpTsqo— Lizzy Harrison (@Lizzy_Harrison) February 11, 2021
Justin ‘BoostedJ’ Smith passed along his own anecdote about actually playing in “Larry’s Game” at the Hustler Casino. “From age 21 to about 27, I played in the “Larry Game” at the Hustler,” Smith started his Tweet. “(The stakes) went up to 4k/8k. It was a legendary game and exclusively 7 Card Stud. Fortunes were won and lost. Larry Flynt was one of the most inspiring friends I ever had. RIP.”
Although many might not have accepted some of the things that he did, Flynt was truly an original who set about a course of life on his own terms. Whether up or down, Flynt was the one who was in charge of his destiny. We here at Poker News Daily pass along our condolences to the Flynt family.