Cloutier falls short of goal, but still charms the crowd

24 June 2007

T.J. Cloutier fell just shy of reclaiming sole possession of the World Series of Poker record for final table appearances on Saturday night, finishing 11th in the $2,000 Pot Limit Hold'em event.

Cloutier, who has made 39 WSOP final tables, led Phil Hellmuth by two entering this year's Series, but Hellmuth tied him less than a week ago.

Most of the spectators on the rail were unaware of Cloutier's pursuit of history. But they crowded around his table nonetheless, and Cloutier provided them plenty of moments to remember.

Yuval Bronshtein was running over the table and playing lots of hands. Short stacked, Cloutier moved all in on a preflop re-raise, forcing Bronshtein to fold. Cloutier flashed A-10 before tossing his cards in the muck.

A few hands later, Cloutier re-raised all in against another player, who said he could beat A-10, but eventually folded. Cloutier flashed A-K suited and said "I thought I'd show you I had a real hand. I give you more respect …" before trailing off and gesturing towards Bronshtein.

He quickly addressed Bronshtein, however. "I don't blame you for playing when you're running hot," Cloutier said. "That's how you play poker. When you're on a rush, take advantage of it."

Cloutier ran into some bad luck, hitting a Jack to make top pair on the turn and pushing Pete Lawson all in. Lawson had hit a set of nines on the flop. Just to add insult to injury, Cloutier hit another Jack but it was no good against Lawson's full house.

A few hands later, Cloutier pushed with A-8 and Bronshtein called with pocket 10s. Cloutier probably should have known that he was in trouble when he hit an eight on the flop and an Ace on the turn to move ahead with The Dead Man's Hand, because Bronshtein hit a two-outer on the river, spiking a 10 to knock out the six-time gold bracelet winner.

The appearance of the river card that eliminated Cloutier made everyone – players, spectators, even the dealer – wince. Cloutier, jolted by the initial shock, looked away for a moment, then graciously got up, shook Bronshtein's hand, and wished the table luck.

Perhaps it will turn out to be good fortune for Cloutier, who can now attempt to make history in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event. He did, after all, make the final table last year.

Cloutier quips and quotes
There many not be a more entertaining "old-guard" player to watch from the rail than T.J. Cloutier. Not afraid to flash his cards to let you know he had the best of it, Cloutier gives fans and opponents a lot to think about while he plays. He also has lots of opinions, and he's happy to air them to anyone who will listen.

  • On the new WSOP bracelets designed by Corum: "They look like little girls' watches."
  • On deciding what decision he'll make before play gets to him: "Who knows what I'm going to do until it happens? Anyone who says they know what they're going to do before it happens is full of s***."

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