T.J. Cloutier is one of the greatest tournament poker players of all time. He is considered the best poker player never to have won the World Series of Poker with two second place finishes. Prior to 2003, he was the all-time money leader in tournament poker with close to $8 million in career winnings. The key to T.J.'s success is his amazing poker memory of recalling individual playing styles. He might not remember your name, but he'll remember how you play, even if it happened a decade ago. That tremendous ability to read players is why T.J. Cloutier has close to 60 major tournament wins, more than any other player in history.
T.J. Cloutier - Source: Las Vegas & Poker
T.J. Cloutier got his first taste of poker during high school. He ended up losing the money he had earned caddying at the local golf course. As a youngster, T.J. was a gifted athlete and played baseball, football, and basketball. He was a football player at U.C. Berkeley and played in the 1959 Rose Bowl. He opted to play pro football in Canada because rookies there were paid twice as much as they were in America. The weather was harsh and playing conditions were sub par but T.J. gutted out five seasons with the Montreal Alouettes and the Toronto Argonauts, and eventually retired due to a bad knee.
After he retired from professional sports, T.J. took up playing poker full time. He was one of the many "Texas Rounders." They made their way driving from city to city and game to game throughout Texas in the 1960s playing in some of the richest and most dangerous games around. He played in his first World Series of Poker in 1983 and has cashed in at least one event every year since, except once.
T.J. Cloutier has almost $3 million in career winnings at the World Series of Poker. He won five WSoP bracelets for victories in Razz (2004), Omaha Hi/Lo (1994), Pot Limit Hold'em (1994), Pot Limit Omaha (1998), and Omaha High (1987). Although he has never won the main event at the World Series of Poker, he came in 2nd place in 1985 and 2000. He also has third and fifth place finishes. T.J. also has two final table appearances on the World Poker Tour. In the last few years, T.J. Cloutier has won several Pot Limit events (five total in 2002 and 2003) and is considered one of the best Pot Limit players in the world. Indeed, T.J. is one of the best all around poker players of all time, winning major tournaments in eleven different events including Seven-card Stud Hi/Lo, Lowball, and Chinese Poker.
T.J. Cloutier is the author of several popular books on poker. Championship Hold'em, one of the four books he co-authored with Tom McEvoy, is a book that every poker enthusiast should add to their collection. T.J. also has a reputation of being a notorious gambler, and has never seen a craps table he didn't like. He lives with his wife, Joy, in Texas, and the two travel together to poker tournaments all over the world.
Also read our T.J. Cloutier interview after he won his 6th WSoP bracelet in the 2005 WSoP.