Hall of Fame inductee, T.J. Cloutier, has won more than 50 major tournaments, earning 6 World Series of Poker bracelets. With more than $6 Million in live tournament cashes, T.J. is widely regarded as one of the best players of all time.
Thomas James Cloutier was born in October 13, 1939 in Albany, California. He attended the University of Berkeley on an athletic scholarship for baseball and football.
A true American poker legend, T.J. Cloutier has great ability in all poker games, a real sportsman’s spirit and the undivided respect from his peers. Cloutier is also cherished by the poker community for his storytelling ability and his sense of humor: everyone delights with T.J’s stories about the old days of Texas backroom games, and at tournament breaks you will find T.J. surrounded by an eager crowd listening to his stories about the early days of Texas Hold’em.
T.J. Cloutier graduated from Jefferson high school in Daly City, where he practiced basketball, football and baseball. He entered University of California on a scholarship to practice baseball and football, but he had to quit college to help his father at work and take care of his ill mother. Later on, T.J. joined the Army, where he started to discover and hone his poker abilities. After his stint in the Army he went back to sports and played for the Montreal Allouettes from the Canadian Football League until – a lot like Doyle Brunson – a knee injury left him out of the field for the rest of his life.
Ready to get his life back on track, T.J. Cloutier started a food business along with his father and his brother in law, which didn’t have much success; his personal life followed suit and he and his wife separated. After these rough experiences, he decided to move to Texas to work in the oil rigs, where he learned to play poker and soon realized that it was much more profitable than his day job; so in 1976 he decided to turn into a poker professional.
Over $9,300,000 later he has collected six WSOP gold bracelets and been named Best Poker Player of the Year twice (1998 and 2002.) No stranger to WSOP final tables, he is second only to Phil Hellmuth for most final tables with a whopping 39, and although he has yet to win a Main Event he has placed four times in the Top 5 including two second place finishes. He has six children, travels to tournaments with his wife Joy and has won more than 50 poker tournaments with buy-ins of $500 or more. T.J. Cloutier also contributes to poker by writing several Texas Hold’Em books, along with his friend Tom McEvoy.
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