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The Five Biggest Live MTT Winners Hailing From Texas
Texas is the second-largest U.S. state by both area and volume so it’s no surprise dozens of top poker players hail from The Lone Star State. $41,341,428 is the impressive sum won by the top five live poker tournament players from Texas. That only tells part of the story, however, as you’re about to find out.
TJ Cloutier Is The Biggest Live MTT Winner From Texas
Thomas John “TJ” Cloutier tops the all-time money listings for the state of Texas. Cloutier is a poker legend with $10,443,473 in live poker tournament winnings. He’s managed that eight-figure haul without ever enjoying a $1 million prize.
Cloutier’s first recorded live MTT cash came in 1983 and his last in 2020. There’s still gas in the 80-year-old’s tanks!
The man from Richardson had a promising football career cut short by injury. Playing poker became his passion and he travelled from Texas to Nevada regularly. Cloutier has six WSOP bracelets and has finished in the top five of the Main Event four times. He finished second in 1985 and again in 2000, the latter to Chris “Jesus” Ferguson.
Ben Tollerene Left Texas To Continue His Career
Ben Tollerene is one of the most successful Texas poker players of all time. He’s won more than $3.3 million from online poker tournaments and more than $9.5 in the live arena.
Those impressive totals only tell some of Tollerene’s story because he crushes cash games. He’s won millions of dollars playing the highest stakes cash games under the alias “Ben86”. Tollerene is equally adept at No-Limit Hold’em as he is Pot-Limit Omaha and is a beast at the tables.
Tollerene now calls Vancouver, Canada home but his heart is in Texas. He emigrated to continue playing at sites such as PokerStars where he is feared and respected in equal measure.
David Williams: From Dallas, Texas to Las Vegas, Nevada
David Williams hails from Arlington, Texas but now resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. Williams was a hugely successful Magic: The Gathering player before becoming a poker pro. You may have also seen Williams on MasterChef where he finished second in Season 7.
Williams shot to fame in 2004 when he finished second to Greg Raymer in the WSOP Main Event. The result netted Williams a career-best $3,500,000 and PokerStars signed both he and Raymer as Team PokerStars Pros.
He won his first and only WSOP bracelet in a $1,500 Seven Card Stud event in 2006. He’s also got a WPT title to his name, the 2010 $25,000 WPT World Championship. That victory saw Williams reel in another $1,530,537.
Williams is approaching $9 million in live MTT winnings as his earnings stand at $8,788,464.
Keith Tilston The High Roller From Austin
Austin, Texas is where Keith Tilston calls home. His career is quite remarkable if a little unexplainable. Tilston enjoyed a dozen or so cashes between 2005 and 2009 but then disappeared for four years. He became a regular feature in High Roller and Super High Roller events upon his return.
Tilston won the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic in 2017 and turned $25,000 into $424,000. Victory in $52,000 US Poker Open in 2019 netted him an additional $660,000.
A dozen more six-figure prizes followed before Tilston won $2,792,406 at the 2019 WSOP. Tilston triumphed in the $100,000 High Roller and took his earnings to $6,417,409. We do wonder what Tilston got up to during his four-year hiatus.
Doyle Brunson: Poker’s Most Famous Texan
Doyle Brunson occupies fifth-place in our list and is easily the most famous poker player from Texas. The Godfather of Poker is a living legend, the 87-year-old is still going strong.
Brunson has a staggering 10-WSOP bracelets including a brace of Main Event titles. “Texas Dolly” has $6,176,737 in live tournament winnings, but far more from cash games.
The Texas legend retired from tournament poker a few years back to concentrate on cash games. He’s won tens of millions of dollars during a career spanning more than half a century.