The Will to Win: T.J. Cloutier

T.J. Cloutier

T.J. Cloutier has led quite a life. The 67-year-old Californian attended the University of California at Berkley on baseball and football scholarships and later played professional football for Montreal and Toronto in the Canadian Football League. After knee injuries ended his football career, T.J. turned to poker, first in Shreveport, Los Angeles and Dallas, and later in tournament play in Las Vegas. He's the third all-time money winner in the World Series of Poker with just under $3 million earned and has won six WSOP bracelets. caught up with T.J. during a break in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament.

So how are you playing today?

I'm playing fine. I haven't been getting any cards just yet, but I'm still there. [As of this writing, T.J. was holding steady with $52,000 in chips to his name, good for 62nd out of 138 players.]

You chose to play in the H.O.R.S.E. tournament over the $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em event.

Yeah. There's a lot more money in the H.O.R.S.E. tournament, and you get to play with good players. The seniors - it's a fine tournament, but I never got a chance to play in it. One year I was doing the Razz, the next year I was doing something else - I never get to play in it. But I'm in the Senior's Hall of Fame, so...

Which of the H.O.R.S.E. games is your favorite?

T.J. Cloutier

The final one, No-Limit Hold'em. But I play them all. I guess my weakest game is Stud or Omaha Eight-or-Better. I don't play those, just in tournaments. But the rest of them, I've played a lot. I've got bracelets in most of them.

How have you been playing overall in the World Series?

I haven't done anything yet. I've played in four events before today and I didn't do anything, but I haven't been giving my money away either. You've got to get a few breaks, you know? It's like 75% skill and like 25% luck, but that 25% can make a world of difference.

Is there anything from your professional football career that you bring to the poker tables?

Competitiveness. That's about it. The will to win, you know, that's about it.

Are there any WSOP events that you're especially looking forward to playing?

T.J. Cloutier

I'm going to play all of the No-Limit Hold'em events, unless I make a final table where I can't get in one, and all of the Pot-Limit Hold'em events and the Main Event. Probably just the Hold'em events.

Great. Thanks T.J.


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