Few poker players can lay claim to the longevity enjoyed by T.J. Cloutier. With a career that goes all the way back to the 1950s, Cloutier has just about seen and done it all in the game of poker.
One of the most prolific players in World Series of Poker history, Cloutier is the only player in the WSOP record books with bracelet wins in all three versions of Omaha offered at the series. He’s also the only player to ever finish second in the WSOP Main Event twice.
Here’s a look T.J. Cloutier’s poker career, which still stands up as one of the most remarkable in the history of the game:
T.J. Cloutier’s Tournament Results and Biggest Cashes
As of August 2021, T.J. Cloutier’s career poker tournament earnings total $10,444,516. Cloutier’s five biggest tournament scores include:
- 2000 World Series of Poker $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship (2nd – $896,500)
- 2005 World Series of Poker $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em (1st – $657,100)
- 2006 World Series of Poker $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. (5th – $480,480)
- 1998 World Series of Poker $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship (3rd – $437,500)
- 2005 Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament $400,000 Grand Final (4th – $300,000)
Take a look at Cloutier’s entire history of tournament poker results at his Hendon Mob page.
T.J. Cloutier’s Memorable Hands
The following hand takes place between a pair of poker icons at the 2006 National Heads Up Poker Championship. Cloutier and Daniel Negreanu are embroiled in a quarterfinal match when this pot unfolds:
The blinds are at 2,000/4,000 when this hand begins. Cloutier limps with 9♦ 7♠, and Negreanu checks back with 9♠ 6♠.
The flop comes A♠ 7♥ T♠, Negreanu checks, Cloutier bets 8,000, and Negreanu check-raises to 32,000. The raise is enough to put Cloutier all in, and the poker legend makes the snap call with just third pair.
The turn comes the 5♦, bringing no help to either player. The river falls the A♣, and Cloutier finds a double up and takes the lead in the match.
Slow Rolling Phil Hellmuth
The 2003 Showdown at the Sands provides the backdrop for our next classic hand involving T.J. Cloutier. This vintage clip sees Cloutier take on Phil Hellmuth in the $10,000 Main Event.
The blinds are at 1,000/2,000 when this hand begins:
Hellmuth looks down at A♣ 3♥, and open limps into the pot. Cloutier completes in the small blind with T♠ 9♣, and Phil Gordon checks his option with Q♣ 5♠.
The flop comes K♠ 7♠ J♥, and action checks to Hellmuth. Hellmuth bets, Cloutier calls, and Gordon folds.
The turn brings the A♠, and Cloutier leads out for 7,000. Hellmuth calls with his top pair, and the two legendary figures go to the river.
Fifth street brings the 3♠, making two pair for Hellmuth but bringing in a flush for Cloutier. Cloutier bets 20,000, and Hellmuth calls.
“You win Phil,” says Cloutier, and Hellmuth responds by turning over his aces and threes. Unfortunately for the “Poker Brat” Cloutier is actually the winner in this hand.
After a few moments of examining the hand, Cloutier realizes that he has the spade flush, apologizing as he tables his hand. Hellmuth, predictably upset, accuses Cloutier of slow rolling.
It’s hard to imagine that the always well-mannered Clouiter intentionally slow rolled Hellmuth, and Hellmuth’s reaction is actually pretty tame compared to what we might expect from him in this spot.
Cloutier went on to finish fifth in the tournament for an $87,300 payday, while Hellmuth didn’t cash.
The Incredible Poker Career of T.J. Cloutier
By the time the “poker boom” brought poker to the mainstream in the mid-2000s, Cloutier already owned decades of experience in the game. Born in 1939, Cloutier began playing poker in the 1950s in the cardrooms of Northern California.
Cloutier eventually moved back to his native Texas to work in the oil fields of the Lone Star State. That didn’t last long, however, as the future poker legend realized he could make more money at the poker tables than he did in the oil industry.
With more than 60 years of playing poker under his belt, Cloutier has spent considerable time playing just about every imaginable form of poker. He’s authored several poker books over the past six decades, covering a range of games that includes No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, multi-table tournaments, and tournament final tables.
Cloutier’s $10,444,516 in career live earnings (as of August 2021) puts him in the top 100 on the Hendon Mob All Time Money List. Unlike many of the other players on that list, Cloutier doesn’t have any seven-figure cashes, with his career totals owing to his longevity in the game.
He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2006, and still makes occasional appearances on the live event circuit. Cloutier is also known for his legendary craps sessions, which have led to rumored financial troubles for the poker icon over the course of his career.
T.J. Cloutier is a six-time WSOP bracelet winner, with 97 total cashes and more than $4.7 million in winnings at the series over his career. He’s the only player in WSOP history to win bracelets in all three forms of Omaha offered at the series (Pot-Limit, Limit, and Eight or Better).
Cloutier also holds the distinction of finishing runner up in the WSOP Main Event not once, but twice. His biggest career cash came in a second-place finish at the 2000 Main Event, which earned Cloutier $896,500. Chris “Jesus” Ferguson went on to win that year’s Main Event for $1,500,000.
The 1985 WSOP Main Event also saw Cloutier finish second, cashing for $280,000.
Cloutier’s last major win came at the 2007 Scotty Nguyen Poker Challenge IV, where he won the $5,000 Championship Event for $240,560.