Cloutier Shows His Clout


Looks like it‚Äôs time to turn back the clock to the ‚Äò80‚Äôs.  Poker legend T.J. Cloutier won his 6th WSOP gold bracelet by besting a field of 466 and capturing the Event #13 ($5,000 NLH) title. 

Last year the story of the WSOP was all about the Young Guns, but so far this year it‚Äôs Revenge of the Pros. 

In the most talent-laden final table of the 2005 WSOP, T.J. Cloutier showed why he’s regarded as one of the all-time best tournament players…and why it doesn’t hurt to have a little luck on your side too.

Final table action began with classic, nuanced poker.  It took 33 hands until there was an empty seat.  First to go was Gavin Smith (netting $24,090).  From there it was Tony Ma ($43,805), Todd Brunson ($65,705, short coming in, he managed to ride a rollercoaster up and down before getting knocked out in 8th), Dustin Woolf ($87,610), John Hennigan ($109,510), Jason Berilgen ($131,410), Neal Wang ($153,315), and Cloutier‚Äôs good friend John Bonetti ($175,215). 

Heads-up, Zoine began with the chip lead.  Apparently Zoine is a big-time Cloutier fan, and confessed (much like what happened at the 2000 WSOP final table with Jim McManus) that he wouldn‚Äôt have made it that far if it wasn‚Äôt for Cloutier‚Äôs book, Championship No Limit and Pot Limit Hold‚Äôem.  In the background, someone was playing kumbaya. 

Cloutier started making his charge when he was dealt J-9 (his favorite trash hand) and flopped the nut straight (a mixed bag of 10-8-7). Zoine lead out with a bet, Cloutier raised him, Zoine thought about it for a minute and called. He was holding pocket 6’s, so he had outs.

The turn brought a 6, and Cloutier bet big into Zoine, who re-raised him all-in. Cloutier didn’t hesitate to call, and when the board didn’t pair on the river, Cloutier had the chips he needed to close the deal.

On the championship hand, Zoine had the button and raised Cloutier $50,000.  Cloutier re-raised him to $300,000. 

Zoine announces he’s all in and Cloutier calls.

Unfortunately (at first) for T.J., it‚Äôs his Ad-5h against Zoine‚Äôs Ah-Ks.  Cloutier is dominated.  But the flop comes up 9h-8s-6c, leaving Cloutier the remaining fives and sevens in the deck to win (7 outs). A Jack comes on the turn, but the river produces a 7.  Cloutier dives on the table and does the worm. 

All right, so he didn‚Äôt do the worm.  While Cloutier is old school, he ain‚Äôt that kind of old school.   But with the river straight, Cloutier captures his 6th bracelet.  Newcomer Zoine takes home $352,620 for 2nd.  And he can go home with the consolation of knowing that if you‚Äôre gonna lose a WSOP bracelet, it might sting a little less to lose it to your idol.

Cloutier has now won 52 major tournament titles ($500 or buy-in), and nearly $4 million in total WSOP earnings (doing most of it the hard way, before the massive fields).   For more basic Cloutier facts, check out his 2003 Card Player Magazine interview.

Photo credit: Erik Harkins/ Photography


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