Longform

The Player

Page 7 of 7

"The title would have been worth another half a million to me for appearances and my book, not to mention the extra $600,000 I would have won on the spot," Cloutier says now. "But, you know what? What the hell. It's just poker."

OK, you can't beat him, just like you can't get a hit off Randy Johnson or slam over Shaquille O'Neal. But you can call his bluff. You can believe he wants that title. Believe he's not Dan Marino but John Elway, who also got close four times before breaking through.

You can also wish him luck. Yes, he's arguably the world's best, but he does play poker, and anyone who does so, even T.J. Cloutier, needs a break now and then on the river.

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Eric Celeste
Contact: Eric Celeste