TJ Cloutier
by Greg Cavouras  

T.J. Cloutier - Source

Some people are just bound to be successful at whatever they choose to do. T.J. Cloutier is one of these people; before becoming a Poker legend, Cloutier was a successful businessman, and a professional football player. With over 50 major tournament wins to his credit, few would argue that TJ Cloutier has earned his reputation as one of the best poker players of all time.


Born in 1939 in Albany, California, TJ Cloutier was a talented athlete at a young age. His athletic ability earned him a scholarship at Berkeley. TJ would also be drafted by the US Army, and it was here where he started playing Poker. Upon return from the Army, TJ joined the Montreal Allouettes of the Canadian Football League. He was then traded to the Toronto Argonauts, where unfortunately he would suffer a career-ending knee injury. Having lost the ability to play professional football, TJ started a grocery chain with his father and brother-in-law. The business was moderately successful, until embezzlement by an outside partner, and the business was dissolved. This would be a turning point in TJ’s life.


After the collapse of his company, TJ headed east to Texas. With $100 in his pockets, he took a job on the oil rigs, and took up Poker in his spare time. Before long Poker was paying better than his day job, so the decision to become a Poker player was an easy one. From those humble beginnings, TJ has risen to prominence as one of the most successful tournament poker players of all time. It’s estimated he has since earned between $7 and $8 million in winnings!


The key to Cloutier’s success at the tables is his incredible observational skills; he is truly gifted with his eyes, and is seemingly capable of taking in every detail at a poker table and using them to his advantage. His observation makes him very difficult to play against, and he capitalizes on this skill by exploiting the information his opponents inevitably leak.


Although TJ hasn’t won the WSOP main event yet, he holds 4 WSOP bracelets. Like most of the true greats, TJ is a versatile player and is a threat to win a title in any tournament in any form of poker. Add that to his WPT victories, and over 50 major tournament wins, and it becomes obvious why many players will tell you TJ Cloutier is one of the greatest tournament players of all time. Today, TJ lives with his wife Joy in Texas, and has published four books about Poker. Look for him to continue to be a force in the Poker world anytime he sits down at a table.

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