Poker legend TJ Cloutier shares tales from the poker trail.
Sitting around the house watching football and playing online poker, I was pretty much in my comfort zone when a friend called and told me all about his new yearís resolutions. Heís gonna do this, not gonna do that, planning to go there, hoping to do that, you know the drill. ďSo whatís on your list, TJ?Ē he asked. I drew a blank.
Got me to thinking, though, so now Iíve put together a few items, starting with paring down my tournament schedule. I plan on playing around 10 events at the World Series of Poker, and maybe 10 other tournaments. That will give me more time to devote to teaching for the World Poker Tour bootcamps, and to acting as the Ambassador of Poker for the PicClub. Through the rest of the year, Iíll play the big ones at the Bellagio, and the WPT events that I can get toóa lot smaller schedule than usual for me.
Of course, Iíll continue with the four charity events I do every year, including the big one, Math for America, at the St. Regis in New York City. That one raises a ton of money to improve the quality of instruction in mathematics. Clonie Gowan, Dan Harrington and I appear at it each year. My sister has been a teacher for most of her life, and I know she wouldíve liked being able to sit out a couple of semesters to get further training in her subject matter.
Iíve also put a health goal on my list. I got a little heavy for a while, and when my weight got up to 288, my heart doctor told me I needed to lose some of my excess baggage. Last month I lost 22 pounds when I contracted intestinal problems in the Dominican Republic. Getting sick wasnít too much fun, but something good came out of it: Now my weightís down to 268 and thatís where I plan to keep it.
Some new things are on the horizon that Iím looking forward to. The WPT bootcamp is expanding to some different venues, such as Chicago and New York, in big hotels rather than casinos. Since weíll be in such huge population centers, weíre expanding the size of our classes from 60 to 75 (theyíre always sell-outs). This will be a good change for everybody, Iím sure.
Iíve leaving for Biloxi this Tuesday to play in the $10K event there. Joy and I are looking forward to being at the Beau Rivage again, which wasnít significantly damaged by Katrina. Then Iíll be in Vegas on the 24th-25th for the WPT bootcamp at the Golden Nugget in Downtown, starting a new era for our classes, which have always been held on the Strip before now. Our WPT Captains event is coming up at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City on February 28th. Then weíll be in Chicago for our inaugural hotel bootcamp the first week of April.
Even without playing back-to-back, wall-to-wall tournaments like I used to do, Iíll still be heavily involved in the world of poker, giving a little something back to a game thatís been so good to me over the years. I wish you a mighty fine 2009, and hope to shake hands with you somewhere along the tournament trail this year. Till then, this is TJ signing off from Texas to the world.
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