Poker Spotlight on TJ Cloutier

Before it even existed as a career, TJ Cloutier had already become a tournament poker professional and is now associated with one of the leading poker rooms, PokerStars. With the early poker tournament trail stretching across the United States with stops being few and far between, a tournament player had many miles to cover and needed to have even better finishes than today to be considered as successful. Cloutier was one of the first to make this amazing journey and his tournament record is comparable to nearly any other tournament player. Currently, his 57 in the money finishes at the WSOP is only behind a few players and his six bracelets puts him on the list of the top ten WSOP players of all time. The road to Cloutier's poker career was a wild one and few friends and family could have predicted his future.

Born and raised in California, Cloutier was an athletic star, playing both baseball and football. His talents were noticed in the local area and he was offered a scholarship to the University of California at Berkeley. His time as a collegiate athlete was cut short due to financial issues and he was forced to leave to help support his family. Drafted into the military, Cloutier returned to football after his tour of duty was over, starting a professional career in the Canadian Football League. However, it was not to be and an injury put him on the sidelines forever. Ready to make money, Cloutier started a business in the food industry, but it also failed, leaving the former athlete to move to the state of Texas to work in the booming oil industry. It is during his work there that he found poker and quickly realized that his poker winnings easily eclipsed his working salary. The decision to go pro at poker was quite easy and Cloutier had found the career that would keep him busy for the rest of his life.

While Cloutier has poker skills in every game imaginable, his best talents come at games that involve community cards, namely Hold 'Em and Omaha. In fact, he is the only player that has managed to win a bracelet in three different forms of Omaha. With Fixed Limit Omaha High no longer a normal game in the series, it is expected that this record will stand for a long time to come. While he has won bracelets, the Main Event has always been slightly out of his reach. Four times he has made it to the final table, but each time someone else has managed to pick up the title. The closest that Cloutier has come was in 1985 and 2000, where he finished second in both cases. All told, Cloutier has made 41 final tables, second only to Phil Hellmuth with 41.

Often considered to be the first true tournament grinder, Cloutier still remains a threat to this day and continues to follow the trail across the United States. Each year, the 72 year old pro brings in new cashes and a tournament, the TJ Cloutier Choctaw Poker Classic, has even been named in his honor.

Become like TJ Cloutier by playing free poker games at PokerStars.

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