Poker World Mourns Las Vegas Mainstay Hank Yang

The poker world is reeling from the loss of Hank Yang, a member of the high-stakes community for more than a decade. His death was announced on Twitter on Wednesday by fellow poker pro Jesse Segall, who called Yang “The most generous/friendly player around.”

Hank Yang
Hank Yang is pictured where he was happiest, on the poker felt in a Las Vegas cash game. (Image: Katerina Lukina)

“His love for poker was obvious, but his love for people was second to none,” Segall wrote. “The void left behind in his wake will be impossible to fill.”

In a comment below Segall’s Tweet, fellow poker pro Felipe Ramos wrote that Yang “has to be top 0.00001% people in the history of humanity.”

Extremely Big Blinds

Yang, who hailed from Virginia, wasn’t big on poker tournaments. Though he logged an impressive $178,492 in career tourney cashes, according to PokerNews.com, he was more likely to be found playing cash games at the Aria poker room or in private games arranged for players who enjoy betting unusually large sums of money.

On a 2018 episode of PokerGo’s “Poker After Dark” series, Yang competed in a $20K minimum buy-in game against felt legends that included Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth. Not only did Yang live to tell the tale, he walked away with a table-leading profit of more than $100K.

“He was such a sick gambler – in both the best and worst kind of ways,” poker pro Matt Berkey said on his “Only Friends” podcast. “What a joy to be around whenever it came to be in a competitive environment … He made games great.”

Yang’s Hendon Mob results show just three total cashes, his final one a 40th-place finish for $12,496 in a $3K event at the WPT World Championships last month at Wynn Las Vegas.

Check in the Dark

Though Yang’s cause of death has yet to be revealed, Berkey alluded to a deep darkness that may have come into play.

“I’m not going to pretend he lived a perfect life and didn’t have his issues,” Berkey said. “It’s particularly unfortunate to have somebody who I think is a net positive to the community, that may have been struggling a little bit behind the scenes and suffering quietly. It makes you feel very powerless as an onlooker and a peer.”