Poker Hall of Fame's T.J. Cloutier's Tale from the Poker Trail

Apr 17, 2012 3:09 AM

T. J. Cloutier, Poker Hall of Fame member, winner of six gold bracelets, and the author of five poker books, told this road story in his book, Championship Hold’em.

The first time I went to Dallas to play poker, I played at the AmVets. A notorious guy named Troy Inman was running the place – and it was a helluva game. I was playing with the great players in those days, guys like Bob Hooks, Kenny Smith, Dicky Carson, Bill Bonds and Bill Smith.

I won $8,000 the first time I played there. But when it came time for me to leave, I had to walk down three flights of stairs to get out of the joint, which was in a pretty bad area down in the lower Greenville section of Dallas near Highway 30. As I was leaving, I got to wondering if I was gonna get out of the joint with all that money intact – Troy was notorious for hiding around corners and shooting people and stuff like that.

"Wait a minute, T. J.," Troy says. "With you packing that much cash on you, maybe I’d better walk down with you and be sure you make it to your car." So, he pulled out his pistol in case somebody came after us. As we were walking down the stairs, I was more afraid of the guy protecting me than I was of having somebody from the outside rob me! But fortunately, I got away with the money still in my pocket.

Troy was in and out of money. One time he left Dallas going to Shreveport and stopped off in Tyler, Texas, where he met up with Henry Bowen, who had bought a house there. After he left Bowen’s house, Troy went to a joint down on the river in Shreveport where they had good-looking girls doing the dancing. The gals weren’t entirely nude, they wore little tops.

Anyway, Troy tipped off $1,000 in one night to these girls. They would come and sit with him at his table, and he’d give them $20 here, $20 there, and he’d give the head girl $40. But the kicker to this story is that Troy was broke at the time. He had stopped off in Tyler to borrow the $1,000 from Bowen!