Posts Tagged ‘TJ-Cloutier’

Texas’ “Cowboy Capitol” becomes “Poker Capitol”

by , Apr 21, 2009 | 3:01 pm

More than 250 players from 98 towns and four different states drove in to Stephenville, TX, for the 6th Annual Cowboy Capitol Poker Tournament. ($300+0 NLH)

I feel compelled to explain that I am writing this post on my laptop, on the back patio of Risky’s Bar-B-Q in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, during possibly the most beautiful day that Spring will bring to my beloved city. I smile as I listen to one Australian tourist at the table behind me attempt to explain to his mates the American concept of “All-You-Can-Eat Ribs”.

How It Works
The Best Real-Money Poker Tournament
in Texas

Doc Fletcher: “It’s like trainin’ a horse. After a while you don’t have to keep whippin’em. They go where you want to go.”

Interview with Stephenville Tournament Director Doc Fletcher 6:58


Zoom up and out to a poetic blend of southern culture and urban bustle that has made my fair city of Fort Worth a Texas jewel, and the subject of 3.4 million Asian tourist photos. Somewhere a diminutive, fair skinned traveler points out the genitalia of the bovine shaped shrubbery (ala Scissorhands), and covers her mouth to giggle before turning and rushing off in very short, quick steps. And I order another Dos Equis.

A couple of blocks away is the ornate and grandiose Bass Hall. The Hall is big sister to the Maddox Muse Center, which was once slated to host, what was at the time to be, the largest poker tournament in the state of Texas; The Southwest Poker Invitational. Well,… Until the powers that be leaned on us, referencing an obscure liquor license, used for the occasional wedding reception, and shut us down and took tens of thousands of charitable dollars out of play. The call came on Friday; The tournament was scheduled for Sunday. Just like that 325 players and countless deserving beneficiaries of the charitable event were sucked out on at the river. I remember well, because it was my tournament. Go Texas!


Dream Team Podcast

Tao of Pokerati

by , Mar 31, 2009 | 6:02 am

Team Tao of Pokerati hits Caesar’s Palace (and Bellagio) for the first open-field running (second overall) of Dream Team Poker. Have a listen to join Pauly and Dan + Shaniac on our ventures to the registration and jersey-issue cocktail party … a pregame breakfast at Cafe Bellagio (where we declare ourselves the favorites, or at least a Top 10 team) … and then back to Caesar’s for the tournament itself. Along the way we analyze the intricacies of team play, formulate an alliance against TJ Cloutier, negotiate a deal to off Jerry Yang, and show you how big bets on March Madness might be the secret antidote to tilt. Intense strategy talk and hand breakdowns to boot …

Chapter 10: Go Team

Episode 10.1: Gel Time

Episode 10.2: Shirts vs. Skins

Episode 10.3: Spam and Eggs

Episode 10.4: Karma, Villanova, and Thor

Episode 10.5: Bustout Strategy

Episode 10.6: Better Luck Next Time

Pros in Dallas (and Choctaw) Weekend

Vladimir Gorsky charity event

by , Sep 25, 2008 | 10:17 am

Interesting charity event going on in Dallas this weekend … a $1,500+ buy-in with $1k going to the prize pool. The rest going toward medical expenses for internationally renowned Russian/American/Dallas artist Vladimir Gorsky, who is suffering from brain cancer. TJ Cloutier writes a little about him and the event here. Some of the other Vlad-loving pros supposed to attend include: Amir Vahedi, Tom McEvoy, Young Phan, Kido Pham, Jennicide, and Warren Karp.

Though I don’t know Vlad, I’ve actually seen some of his art before, including his Tapestry of the Centuries (above), and I gotta say, it is some pretty impressive stuff. And apparently he’s quite the card-playin’ guy … no wonder he chronicled Las Vegas in mixed media and presented it to LV Mayor Oscar Goodman. (He also happens to be friends with the President Bush family — having painted the portrait of GHWB that hangs in his Houston office, and Babs with her beloved Millie.)

The event takes place at the Westin City Center. Glad to see it. If they successfully pull off this event, it will be good to see charity poker getting back to what it could/should/used to be in Texas — though it does seem a little strange for a charity event to be going on in Dallas that doesn’t have anything to do with Pokerati or Clonie.

Fortunately, I will be able to follow the action on

One other really interesting thing about this event: the support it’s getting from the Choctaw Nation. They’re running single-table satellites to this event 24/7 between now and then. And as a show of appreciation for helping out their friend Vlad, the pros slated to be in Dallas on Saturday will be in Oklahoma for Choctaw’s Friday night tourney, reportedly playing with bounties on their heads.

Click below to see the flyer and get more details about signing up:


RE: The River Gets Underway

by , Aug 17, 2008 | 12:29 pm

Defending Champ: Sure, I may have gotten lucky on the river, but hey, I had the best hand going in!

So what do you do after beating TJ Cloutier to win $230k? That’s not exactly lottery money, after all — especially after taxes — but it was enough to (kinda) change the life of Vik Vijay, the Oklahoma poker dealer who won the 2007 Red River Roundup (now called, more elegantly Oklahoma-y, The River) and then delivered on his post-victory promise to quit his job and move to Las Vegas with highly energized bankroll in hand. Since then:

hey dan –
yeah, im headed down to winstar next week to defend – ive got the last starting day – thursday the 21st. hopefully it will go well. the last year has been interesting – i moved to vegas and have mostly been playing. i worked at the venetian this summer, dealing poker for their summer tournament set, but they didnt keep any of us on for anything regular. the poker has been going well, but i really got to lay off the blackjack. other than that, life is pretty good.

-vik vijay.

The River Gets Underway

by , | 11:27 am

wingirls2 I think cards are already in the air for the pseudo-shootout River Tournament at WinStar in Oklahoma. Alas, I am not there … am still in Vegas as the first of five groups of 300 players play down to 30.

Though this is not yet confirmed, we think with 1,500, a $2,000 buy-in, and a guaranteed $3 million prize pool that this might-well be the biggest non-WSOP event at $2,000 or more in the history of ever. At a minimum, it’s the biggest event of the year for Texas poker — and Oklahoma poker, too, of course. Was hoping I’d be able to make it back to glorious Thackerville to bring you some WSOP-style coverage of this biggity poker hoedown, but it just doesn’t seem likely.

Last year’s runner-up TJ Cloutier starts today. I’m sure lots of other players we know and love are also there — in fact, if anyone has any updates, be sure to let us know. (Send me an email if you want me Ed to set you up to CSR from the felt/rail.)

Also, last I heard, today is sold out, but 140 seats overall remain. I gotta imagine they’ll fill up if the WinStar is still running single-table satellites … and I know at least two Dallas poker rooms are running sats, so …

Oklahoma Is More than OK

Biggest Event of the Year in North-North Texas

by , Aug 12, 2008 | 8:40 am

Paul in Dallas sends along some info about the upcoming River Touranment in Winstar, Oklahoma. (OK, technically it’s Thackerville, but Winstar is what puts this border town on the map, so …)

As for the River tourney, I’ve been up several times during the months of “qualifying,” and it has been fairly impressive. More impressive is the price you can get for your seats, nearly full price. I won a single table satellite and was able to sell the chip on Craig’s List for $1900 (buyin is $2100). The rake they’ve been able to steal on many satellites has been most impressive- they have been running big tournaments each month ($400+40) for seats, which isn’t too obscene at 10%, but they have been been running $55 single table sat’s to those tournaments, 10 to a table, with winner taking a seat ($440 value) and the house keeping the other $110. And yet people keep playing them.

Not sure if you’ve been kept abreast of the Winstar goings-on, but they did start serving liquor during the summer, and it has changed weekend play considerably. Many tables running 24 hours from Thursday to Monday morning each week. Squishy soft.

Wow. Damn. I did not know. Go WinStar! Should be interesting to see how this $3 million tourney plays out. Would expect to see a virtual who’s who of Texas poker contending.

(Last year, you may recall, this event was called the Red River Roundup and had a guaranteed prize pool of $1 million, in which Vikram Vijay of Oklahoma defeated TJ Cloutier heads-up, making it seem a little bit like an old-fashioned version of the WSOP main event for both of them.)

(Way) Outside the WSOP – (Main Event Day 1c Evening Update)

by , Jul 5, 2008 | 7:56 pm

Today’s attendance at day 1c of the Main Event was a vast improvement over the past two days, as 1,928 laid their money down to participate in the Main Event. Rumors are circulating that Sunday will have a complete sellout of 2,700 which would take them near the 7,000 figure that seemed improbable on Thursday. Among those whose dream is already over, such notables as: Huck Seed, Larry Flynt, Sean Buchanan, Gavin Griffin, Mimi Tran, Justin Bonomo, David Chiu, Bart Hanson, and Marco Traniello.

The leader at the dinner break appears to be Michael Martin, who is just under 100,000 in chips. More familiar names near the top: Jeff Madsen, Chris Moneymaker, Mike Matusow, TJ Cloutier, and the lovely and talented Liz Lieu, Clonie Gowen, Evelyn Ng, Kara Scott, and Isabelle Mercier. More updates can be found at the WSOP update site here.

The returning horde of about 1,500 will return shortly to play two more two-hour levels, with those survivors returning to play on Wednesday, July 9.

More updates during the evening…

I Spy… (HORSE Day 1 Edition)

by , Jun 25, 2008 | 8:19 pm

Poker pros.

Fans along the rail taking flash photography that is strictly prohibited in the Amazon Room. If the floor staff or someone with Harrah’s doesn’t start enforcing it, I might have to.

The ESPN video chicks looking bored to tears during the start of the most exciting event of the WSOP thus far. Obviously, they know their poker…and love it.

Players happy to see that they receive $100 food vouchers each day of the tournament. TJ Cloutier couldn’t get over it and kept telling the tournament staffer how much he appreciated the voucher rather than the buffet that Harrah’s provided last year. “They ran out of food!” he recalled like it was yesterday.

More poker pros.

The number of players pretty firmly set at 147 on the board, just one shy of last year’s total. Looks like I lost two bets big-time. My prediction of 175 was severely inflated, and I’m paying $40 for it. Biggest prop bet loss by far this series. Maybe I can borrow it from one of these players in front of me who just bought in to a tournament for $50,000!

Walking on Watermarks

Why Is Chris Ferguson Special?

by , Jun 4, 2008 | 10:54 am

IT’S A MIRACLE: Full Tilt wasn’t exactly a poker powerhouse in 2000, the year Chris Ferguson won the main event.

There are 35 big banners hanging up around the Amazon room — a pretty cool ring-of-honor thing going on — honoring 38 years of main event champions and four players of the year … and I couldn’t help but notice one of them doesn’t belong. [Insert Tom joke here.]

Chris Ferguson, whose banner lords over the 75/150 Omaha-8 game that has been going on all night and through the morning, commemorates his 2000 win over TJ Cloutier. But look a little closer and you’ll see this photo is hardly authentic — it bears a Full Tilt logo … branding op for a company that didn’t exist at that time. All the other banner mugs feature pics from the feat in question.

The real Chris Ferguson, circa 2000.

UPDATE: Actually there are two of them like this … The picture of Dan Harrington supposedly from 1995 shows him fully decked out in 888 and Pacific Poker gear.

Horserace Pokering

by , Apr 23, 2008 | 1:22 pm

Just for funsies, I thought I’d make predictions on the final 6 with 61 players left — hey, if they can change a rule mid-tourney, why can’t I change my theoretical horses? So that was last night, but I fell asleep before the official chip counts went up … hence no post until now, with 45 players remaining, and all “my guys” still in (sorry, Tom, I just didn’t “feel” a monster comeback). I did make one change, however, after seeing play develop a little bit today:

Gus Hansen
Jeff King Steve Billrakis
TJ Cloutier
Jonathan Kalmar
Robert Mizrachi
Tom Dwan/Durrr

Anyone got an over/under on how many of these I’ll get right? Or perhaps their own picks based on who’s well-chipped, favorably seated, and generally playing well of late?

Poker Players Delayed in Dallas

by , Apr 18, 2008 | 7:35 am

usa today

Today’s paper, seen here in a box at DFW airport, seems a bit ironic.

DFW AIRPORT–Argh. After getting my arse kicked by various turns and rivers in the Batface home game last night, I am now waiting in an airport terminal for a heavily delayed plane. One of the other passengers got a good read on the situation before we boarded — “It’s never a good sign when you see your pilot hanging out the window cleaning his own windshield. Don’t they have people for that?” Sure enough, we got on the plane, waited for an hour, then were asked to deplane. (I’ve never before been told to get off a plane once getting on it.) US Airways pilots and managers and ticket agents are outside looking at the plane trying to figure out what’s wrong with it. Not a good sign.

I booked this early flight so I could make it to the Jennifer Harman charity event. Note to J-Ha: sorry, don’t think I’m gonna make it, but you should probably still have the event. T.J. Cloutier is also on this flight — headed to V-town for the $25k WPT World Championship at Bellagio — as are Dallas/WSOP dealer Beth and her poker-playing boyfriend Brice, who are taking a Vegas vacation together for the first time … and there’s one other passenger dude I don’t know but I recognize from a table somewhere, either in Las Vegas or Dallas.

Have a feeling today is going to be really fun … for traveling poker players and non-players alike.

Hellmuth vs. Durrr Heads-up Rematch?

by , Mar 2, 2008 | 7:29 pm

Tom Dwan, aka Durrr, cracked Phil Hellmuth’s pocket aces with pocket 10s in the third hand of the opening round of the National Heads-Up Poker Championship … and now there is talk of a rematch for $100,000.

(Hellmuth already made about $90k from other players offering insurance on the hand while waiting for the flop.)

Phil wrote about the hand itself — and he’s right, Durrr made a bad play — unless of course the online phenom was possibly taking Chris Ferguson’s philosophy that worked against TJ Cloutier into account, which says that when you are outmatched it is mathematically in your interest to gamble. Anyhow, here’s Hellmuth’s recall of how the 2008 hand went down … and here are the terms of a potential rematch:

After I told him that I wouldn’t have lost $3,000 with 10-10–which is the truth–Durr handled himself with class, albeit he did what all the young guys do when they’re a bit insecure, he challenged me to play heads up for $100,000. Durr knew he played the hand poorly, and if he doesn’t know now, he will understand how bad a play he made in two or three years. Will I play him heads up in the real world? Absolutely! But on my terms. I don’t need the money, and I have nothing to gain from playing him heads up, whereas he does have something to gain. He could say that he beat me. Despite that, here are my terms: I will play him in the bay area, in a casino (his terms, and I echo them), during the daytime (like starting at noon), whenever I feel like it (I choose the date). I don’t need to play him, I crushed him in three hands on NBC!! He may have won the chips, but the world knows who really won the hand!!

Heads-up Championship 2: Clubs-bracket tidbits
Because I happen to be here

by , Feb 29, 2008 | 6:07 pm

6:02 — Who is this announcer guy? Not too exciting nor comprehensive.

6:03 — Funny, he just made it over to the Tom vs. Gavin table … pointed out that Tom was trailing by “a little more than a few thousand chips.” He then seem confused by why Gavin had some book on the table. “Oops! I Won Too Much Money,” he said over the microphone, surprised to discover the author was right in front of him.

6:05 — “Gavin Smith takes down another nice pot. No one at this table is very afraid,” he said, presumably referring to Tom’s questionable call.

6:06 — Robert Goldfarb is on the other side of the room, not responding to my texts inquiring about what is going on over at his end.

6:09 — Chris Ferguson hits a three-outer on the river … I know see a hot blonde girl standing up and clapping, and am pretty sure that is his modeltastic Brazilian girlfriend.

6:13 — TJ Cloutier shows up and is laughing tickled upon hearing the report from Robert Williamson’s little sister (and favorite Pokerati stalking victim) who informs him that indeed, Hellmuth went out on the third hand. “Heh-heh-ha,” says Cloutier in his Hank-Hill chortle.

6:14 — Oh no! My personal sleeper pick and Arizona Posse-ite Hooman Nikzad is out. He got it all-in with the best, but Greg Raymer turned a set to advance.

6:20 — Tom pushes all-in, Gavin folds … to give the Donkey Bomber a 24k-16k lead. Last time these two played heads-up at the same time, both were competing for WSOP bracelets (in different events). Tom won his match, and Gavin lost his. Just sayin’ …

6:22 — At least two very Hammery flops have come in this 8-match quadrant of first round action. Both 7-7-2 flops have resulted in bets followed by folds. Very interesting.

6:30 — There are seats for about 90 spectators in this makeshift Caesar’s viewing coliseum. Twelve media spots (not counting the dozen or so NBC folks who have the run of the floor.

6:31 — Kenny Tran doubles up against Scott Clements thanks to running clubs. “The turn always gives you extra outs,” the announcer said. No it doesn’t, at least four of us in the room are thinking.

6:33 — Back to counting … there’s standing room only for about a dozen squeezed in around the rails.

6:34 — Greg Raymer can’t seem to leave, even though he’s already one. It’s clear (imho) he’s looking for camera time … not Phil Hellmuth-style for ego … but presumably to get some HD-pixel time for his patch-friends at PokerStars.

6:36 — As Raymer loudly mentioned PokerStars, a headphone-wearing producer woman just informed Fossilman that he was getting in the camera’s way and needed to leave. “Aww, c’mon,” Raymer unsuccessfully plead.

6:40 — Scott Clements’ AK holds up against A7, and California Jen’s pick to win it all moves on.

6:41 — Gabe Kaplan knocks out Antonius.

National Heads-Up Championship Odds

by , Feb 15, 2008 | 6:33 pm

Though I’m not sure how official these are, some odds on who’s gonna win the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship (Feb. 29) are out … and Tom Schneider is listed in the middle of the pack at 45:1 — the same as David Williams, Jennifer Harman, Huck seed, and TJ Cloutier. Duuude. Not bad. Clonie, after all, is 80:1, which is almost as good as Jerry Yang’s 60:1.

Click below to see the full list … and while doing that, think how funny it is that this sorta poker ink comes from (And Tom says I do nothing for him …)


TJ Cloutier on Old School Economics

by , Dec 19, 2007 | 6:19 am

TJ Cloutier’s latest column … an interesting if not prescient tale of some poker southern-circuit old-timers that include a game-runner who takes an extra rake right under someone’s nose ($100 a pop); a bookie sent to jail and kicked out of Dallas, Hazzard County-style; and legendary players with a not-so-unique philosophy on credit and debt.

Considering that TJ has been running good of late — and they don’t have craps in Oklahoma — I can’t help but give some thought to the road-gambler ethos he extols, and wonder where it fits in today’s contemporary poker economy:

“I’ve still got 30 days to pay that off,” Jack said, “so quit bothering me.” And the guy left. As the first man was going down the stairs, a second man was walking up them. The door was still open, so Jack let him in.

“I’m down on my luck,” the man cries to Jack. “Could you loan me $10,000 till I get back on my feet?” And Jack peeled the ten grand right out of his pocket and gave it to him! I couldn’t explain Jack Straus any better than telling this story.

One time when we were on the golf course, Straus told me that he liked me because I was like him. “I’m broke one day and have a fortune the next day,” he said, “and I don’t give a damn.”