”I've been very observant throughout my entire life and I've always had a sort of photographic memory for how people play their hands in certain situations.”
Cloutier started playing poker during his time in the U.S. Army. After leaving the army he eventually ended up in Texas in 1976 working on oil rigs. This proved very fortunate for him since he soon started making more money playing poker than working at his day job. He thus quit his job at the oil rigs and started playing poker full time.
His real ascendancy began in 1985 with a second place in the World Championships. He has since then ended in the money at the World Championships on numerous occasions. 1988 he ended 5th, 1998 3rd and 2000 he yet again ended up in second place.
Cloutier won his first bracelet in 1987 and has until today won a total of 58 major tournaments and six bracelets. Cloutier is also the only player ever who has won in all three Omaha types played at WSOP.
Hold'em starting hand J-9 of clubs has been named "T.J. Cloutier" in his honor. The reason for this was that he in a single year managed to flop no less than three straight flushes with this starting hand.
2004 was a less fortunate year for T.J. Cloutier. He collapsed during a poker game in Aruba and had to receive emergency surgery to remove a brain tumor. Later the same year he suffered a heart attack. But he eventually pulled through to win his sixth bracelet and $657,100 in a 2005 WSOP No Limit competition.
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