Poker legend TJ Cloutier shares tales from the poker trail.
Besides being grounded at home so much lately, the reason I've been playing a lot of online tournaments is to get some practice competing against large fields of players. And boy, oh boy, do you ever learn how to take bad beats! Of course I've always been able to take the beats. But online they're really magnified. I haven't smashed my computer against the wall yet, although I've thought about it 50,000 times.
Actually, I play cheap online. When you see Jack-9-Clubs or my name in a small online no-limit tournament, it's me! I've heard, "No, that's not you, TJ. I know you wouldn't be playing at that level." But hey, it is me-those lower levels are what I like to play online. I'll play the little $200 tournaments, and I play a lot of sit 'n goes for anything between $38 to $50. Look for Jack-9-Clubs on PokerStars, or TJ Cloutier on all the other sites.
There's a rumor going around that PicClub might be picking up six more of the smaller online cardrooms, and there's a chance I might get a cardroom named after me. That'd be kind of a kick. And Flush magazine in London just published an issue with a caricature of me on the cover that they titled "TJ Cloutier, Portrait of a Poker Legend." They wrote a six-page article on me based on an interview we did a while back.
It starts out, "TJ Cloutier has won more poker tournaments than anyone else. He's also seen men shot at poker games, loves Bulgarians, and worries for Phil Hellmuth. Flush gets behind one of the all-time greats. As horribly clichéd as it might sound, TJ is a living legend with 60 major titles and more tournament wins than anyone else. He's also come painfully close to winning the Main Event."
"Painfully close" isn't too bad a way of saying "lost," is it? Truth is, I've finished second twice and been in the top five twice. And "painfully close" is about the best way I can describe what's been happening with me at the WSOP so far this year. Even with all the practice hours I've been putting in against large fields and in the sit 'n goes online, my results still have not been perfect. But I'm always optimistic. Tomorrow is another day, as the saying goes. And even if it's not perfect, I'm always glad to be able to hit the ground running every morning ... even if it means running the motor in my scooter.
I'll check back in with you in a few days. Till then this is TJ signing off from the Rio in Vegas to the world.
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