This afternoon, rumors spread around the poker industry that Cake Poker, which had purchased T.J. Cloutier’s 2005 World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet, was planning to return the piece to its rightful owners. Poker News Daily can now confirm those rumblings.
In a post found on Cake Poker that was created on Wednesday night, it was confirmed that the USA-friendly online poker site was indeed the new owner of the bracelet that Cloutier won in a $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event five years ago. The tournament saw the poker veteran defeat Steven Zoine heads-up in a final table that also included John “World” Hennigan, Dustin “Neverwin” Woolf, and DoylesRoom pro Todd Brunson. Text found on Cake Poker’s blog explains, “Our initial impulse upon seeing the auction was to say, ‘Hey this is a cool piece of poker history. We love poker. We should buy a WSOP bracelet!’ So we did.”
The final selling price for the WSOP keepsake was just over $4,000; Cloutier’s prize money for winning it was 165 times that amount. However, the online poker site and flagship room on the Cake Poker Network plans to return it to Cloutier: “We can’t, in good conscience, keep it from the man who rightfully won it; which is why we’ve decided to return it to T.J. Cloutier… just as soon as we’re done having some fun with it.” No specific plans for the bracelet were given, although Cake Poker officials tossed out “photo shoots” and “wearing it to a buddy’s home game” as several possibilities. The auction closed on Sunday on eBay and the hardware is currently on its way to Cake Poker’s headquarters.
An article that appeared on Wicked Chops Poker explained what might have led to Cloutier unloading his memorabilia: “We called T.J. He didn’t want to come on the air… but told our producer the following: ‘I don’t want to talk about it… yeah it’s mine… I was short… I pawned it… I tried to get it back with my ticket but I was too late.'” On Monday, Cake Poker officials teased that they may have purchased Cloutier’s bracelet.
The topic has spread around the online poker community like wildfire. On the TwoPlusTwo forums, posters speculated as to why Cloutier, who has nearly $10 million in career earnings, would contemplate selling one of his six bracelets. One member chimed in, “With the recent interest in poker and his name becoming more recognized, any memorabilia he has accumulated becomes more valuable. Bracelets don’t exactly do much but collect dust so why not get some value out of them.” Others have hypothesized that Cloutier’s love of craps may have caught up with him.
The other bracelet for sale, which Cloutier procured after taking down the 2007 Scotty Nguyen Poker Challenge IV, sold for $2,500. The Plano Pawn Shop saw a flurry of activity surrounding the two charms and Poker News Daily’s Earl Burton estimated that the WSOP jewelry was probably worth somewhere around $2,350. The bracelet contains 96 grams of 14 karat gold and 0.25 karats of diamonds. The high bid was submitted at 1:34pm PT on Sunday of $3,956 and stood for nearly six hours until the winning entry of $4,006 was introduced at 7:30pm PT.
Cake Poker is the flagship site of a network that also includes DoylesRoom, Lock Poker, PlayersOnly, PokerHost, Red Star Poker, and Stryyke. It happily accepts players from the United States and features former PokerStars icon Lee Jones as its Card Room Manager. The site is busy following its players in the 2010 Aussie Millions, taking place down under in Melbourne.
Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for the latest twists and turns in Cloutier’s bracelet sale.