After 10 days and a competitive auction featuring five separate bidders, T.J. Cloutier’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet sold for $4,006 on the popular online auction site eBay. The Plano Pawn Shop put up the bracelet, which Cloutier won in a $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event in 2005.
With the starting price at $2,999, the following bidding history during the 10-day process was listed as on eBay’s website:
Bid #1: Jan. 22 – $2,999
Bid #2: Jan. 22 – $3,200
Bid #3: Jan. 22 – $3,250
Bid #4: Jan. 22 – $3,500
Bid #5: Jan. 22 – $3,550
Bid #6: Jan. 23 – $3,700
Bid #7: Jan. 24 – $3,750
Bid #8: Jan. 24 – $3,800
Bid #9: Jan. 24 – $3,850
Bid #10: Jan. 24 – $3,900
Bid #11: Jan. 24 – $3,956
Bid #12: Jan. 24 – $4,006
The highest bid stood at $3,956 with just moments remaining in the auction, but in the final minute, another bidder made an offer of $4,006, which ultimately was enough to claim the item. The winning bidder is unknown at this time due to the privacy policies of eBay.
Meanwhile, the reasons behind Cloutier’s willingness to pawn off his WSOP bracelet are under speculation. The 71-year-old pro is one of the most successful tournament players in the history of the game, collecting six WSOP bracelets, a total of 39 titles around the world, and career earnings of $9,413,236. However, some suggest that Cloutier has lost more money playing craps than he ever made from playing poker; this reputation seems to follow him where he travels.
Professional poker player Terrance “Unassigned” Chan wrote in his blog in 2006 about a losing craps session in which Cloutier was the shooter. Chan and his friends lost $3,000 on one Cloutier roll and, afterward, he wrote, “T.J. has lost more money at craps than possibly any human being alive. Obviously he’s just a poor craps player and one should bet against him, not with him.”
Since then, rumors circled that Cloutier’s poker earnings have dried up, as he’s been seen borrowing money for tournament buy-ins on multiple occasions. Online poker pro Grayson “the_dean22” Nichols recalled an occurrence involving Cloutier on the poker forum PocketFives.com: “I remember a couple years ago, going to play in a $100 rebuy at the Orleans Hotel with Steve ‘gboro780’ Gross and Ari Engel. We get registered for the maybe 60 person field and we see Cloutier just hanging around, bumming the free hot dogs asking for a stake in the tournament. (It) looks like this isn’t a new development.”
The monetary value of a WSOP bracelet has been a source of debate since Cloutier’s bracelet went up on eBay. Following the conclusion of the auction, Poker News Daily caught up with Matt “mattg1983” Graham and asked the two-time WSOP bracelet winner the minimum amount he’d sell either of his bracelets for. “It totally depends on finances, but right now I’d take like $30,000,” said Graham, who won the $1,500 Limit Hold’em Shootout in 2008 and the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha World Championship in 2009. Asked if he were hypothetically broke and in need of money, Graham told us that he’d accept a $10,000 offer.
Dozens of others on the forums commented about the value of a bracelet, in particular one belonging to Cloutier. “I would definitely buy a WSOP bracelet if it belonged to Phil Ivey or Stu Ungar or Doyle Brunson,” said TwoPlusTwo poster TexCortez. “They are just straight up legends. T.J. on the other hand… well, it kind of ranks up there with buying an old pair of Richard Simmons exercise shorts from eBay.”