Poker Hall of Famer T.J. Cloutier talks about Bobby Chapman

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Poker Hall of Famer T.J. Cloutier related this story in Championship No-Limit Hold’em.

Bobby Chapman was the boss gambler in Dallas for years and years. Every poker game in Dallas or Fort Worth always kept at least one six pack of Schlitz in the refrigerator in case he showed up. Bobby might not play for three months but if he showed up, he was gonna drink, and he would get bombed after his first beer – he just couldn’t handle alcohol at all.

His whole theory of playing poker and playing drunk was, “I’m gonna put enough money on the table that if I beat you in one out of five hands, I’ll break you.” And he was a dog on most of ‘em. Bobby didn’t play very good hold’em but when he was sober, he played damned good Omaha.

Bobby always put up the money for Art Saling’s Omaha game, guaranteed the money and all that. In this particular game, we were playing at the Ramada Inn that Art managed. Three guys who owned pizza parlors joined us for the game. It was the first time they’d played with us and they were horrible players. We were playing a really big pot-limit Omaha game with $25/$25/$50 blinds when this pot came up.

I’m on the button so I’m dealing. First pizza man calls, second pizza man calls, and then here comes Bobby into the pot with a raise. Third pizza man calls. I’m looking down at 10-9-8-8 with one suit. “Well, Chapman’s liable to be raising with anything and there’s a lot of money in the pot,” I’m thinking, “so I might be able to win something here.”

So I reraise the pot about $1,200. First pizza man calls, second pizza man calls, Bobby studies a long time and then he just flat calls. Third pizza man calls. When Bobby took a long time on it, I’m thinking, “He’s got a big hand, a pair of aces. He’s trapping in this hand.”

Here comes the flop: A-8-8. I flopped four eights in this pot! First pizza man checks, second pizza man checks, Bobby moves in. Third pizza man folds. “I think I’ll call you, Bobby,” I say.

There’s over $28,000 in this pot and he never knew what hit him! This was the one time when Bobby was drunk and really had a hand. You see, a lot of times when he was drinking he’d bet all the way through, and then on the end he’d say, “Straight flush!” That meant he didn’t even have a pair.

Of course, Bobby was such a gentleman he never said a word, just “You’ve got a pretty good hand there, T.J.”

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