As Day 6 of the 2018 World Series of Poker plays down to 27 players, Clayton Fletcher continues to generate social media buzz from some Hollywood heavyweights who are clearly leading his cheering section.
Fletcher, who works as a stand-up comedian, is in the midst of his second deep run in the Main Event. In 2016, he outlasted all but 95 other players and even spent time as the overall chip leader. The second time around is quite a different ride though.
“It’s just been really different because that year I actually had a chip lead for many, many hours and this tournament has been different because in that I’ve just been kind of hanging around average,” said Fletcher. “I’ve been sticking right around the average stack for most of the tournament, so it’s just a different game when you’re not able to be a big stack bully which is actually my natural playing style.”
Fletcher developed that playing style playing against family and friends from the time he was nine years old in the Friday night Fletcher home game.
“I probably started enjoying poker when I was nine years old. I have two brothers, and between those two guys and then my mom, and of course all my uncles, it’s something that if you’re a Fletcher you know how to play poker. It’s kind of part of our lifestyle,” said Fletcher.
When he first started playing, the game was Five Card Stud. Then it evolved to Seven Card Stud and even draw games. Every Friday night, starting some time around the late 70s or early 80s, the house would be packed.
“I can remember one night we had 38 people in the house – family and friends. It’s kind of legendary. There’s food, there’s laughter. It’s very, very serious … a $20 buy-in, very serious game,” Fletcher joked. “The Fletchers like poker, man.”
Don’t think for a second that Fletcher is just some home game hero enjoying a seemingly impossible second Main Event run. He’s just as passionate about poker as he is about stand-up comedy and he counts himself fortunate that he’s able to play as often as he does.
“I play between 35 and 40 tournaments a year and a lot of times I try to structure those tournaments around my comedy schedule or I try to structure my comedy schedule around the tournaments I like to play,” said Fletcher. “So if I look and I really have a certain stop on the tour I want to go, like for example Melbourne, I’ll call the comedy clubs in that area and try to get a gig so that I can do both.”
Fletcher has, in fact, made his way to the Aussie Millions on a couple of occasions to work some local comedy joints while also getting in a few Aussie Millions events.
The ESPN feature table has been focused on other players so far throughout this tournament, but he’s got some support from some big names chomping at the bit to see him get on the feature table. Brian Koppelman, who co-wrote Rounders, has been social media showing support and fellow comic Norm McDonald has also shown some love.
Fun sweating Clayton. Great guy. Nyc comic. Poker lifer. https://t.co/GF35MwMawc
— Brian Koppelman (@briankoppelman) July 11, 2018
“Well, Brian (Koppelman) is a good friend, I’ve known him for many years. I’ve actually done stand up with him,” said Fletcher. “Norm’s a great guy. I actually met him back in 2015 when I had that other deep run and he showed me some support because he heard that there was a comic, he hadn’t heard of me, but he came and showed some love. He remembers that and he’s been texting me and tweeting about me and that’s been awesome.”
The Main Event isn’t at all an opportunity for Fletcher to promote himself. He wants to be known as a serious and formidable player that came to poker’s biggest stage and forced people to remember his name. So much so that he gets choked up thinking about what it would mean to him to make the final table or even win.
“It just means that … I … left my mark. I want to leave my mark,” said Fletcher, struggling to find the proper words. “At night I dream about winning bracelets.”
Fletcher has a weekly stand-up show of his own in New York City at the Greenwich Comedy Club. The Main Event doesn’t wrap up until Saturday night though.
“I’m usually there on Fridays, but I’m hoping I won’t be able to make this Friday,” said Fletcher. “I want to be here.”