"Ghosts At The Table"

No one can deny that poker has experienced a renaissance of sorts in the past few years. Des Wilson's book Ghosts At The Table: Riverboat Gamblers, Texas Rounders, Roadside Hucksters, and the Living Legends Who Made Poker What It Is Today chronicles the path of how poker gained the status it has today by telling the stories of some of game's greatest faces.

My favorite story in this chronicle of poker players, honest and otherwise, concerns T.J. Cloutier, who accomplished what I think is probably the most audacious bluff ever in a big money game. It happened, Des Wilson alleges, in Shreveport. With seven thousand dollars in the center of the table and only one other player, Wayne Edmunds, still in the game, Cloutier put his cards down. The dealer absently swept up Cloutier’s hand and pushed it into the pile of cards discarded by the players who’d earlier folded, leaving Cloutier with no cards. Fortunately for him, Edmunds was examining his own cards at the time and noticed nothing. Cloutier cupped his empty hands close to his chest and raised. Edmunds shook his head and folded. Cloutier had beaten him with nothing. Literally.


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