Is Tom Dwan Back For Good?

5 months ago
Is Tom Dwan Back For Good?
29 Dec

Tom Dwan took the poker world by storm in the early 2000s and then seemingly disappeared a decade later. Recently, he’s been making public appearances on popular poker shows, so is the legend back?

From $50 to $15,000

Tom Dwan’s poker origin story is what we all wish for. He received a $50 birthday gift when he was 17 and, with some coercion from his friends, decided to deposit it on a poker site. He found some success at low-stakes sit-n-gos, but really excelled at low-stakes cash games. By the time he turned 18, Dwan turned his $50 deposit into $15,000.

He continued to earn so much money that he decided to pay for his education at Boston University. After his first year however, he decided school wasn’t for him and pursued poker full-time. He went on to dominate the online poker scene under the username “durrrr” on sites like Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars.

Although his success stems from cash games, Dwan also has an impressive tournament showing. He’s cashed for over $5 million, with his best live cash being $793,775. He even came close to winning a bracelet in 2010, finishing second in the $1,500 NLHE event.

In a recent interview, Dwan explained some of the reasons behind his success at the highest stakes.

“It was only Super System that impacted me a bit,” Dwan said when asked how he got so good at the game. “I think the thing that helped me the most was finding friends as I was moving up in stakes that I thought were being honest with me.”
His aggressive style and wild plays made him a perfect fit for the popular poker shows like High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark, where he made some very memorable plays. However, when the infamous Black Friday happened in 2011, Dwan went on a bit of a hiatus.

The “Durrrr” Challenge

Dwan was so successful playing heads-up online that he issued the “durrrr” challenge to the poker world in 2009. It was an offer players couldn’t resist.

Basically, if Dwan was up $1 or more after playing 50,000 hands, he would win $500,000 from his opponent. However, if his opponent was up $1 or more, Dwan would have to pay $1.5 million on top of whatever they won during the match.

Dwan eventually ran into heads-up specialist Dan “jungleman” Cates in 2010, who is currently up $1.2 million over 19,335 hands. The challenge, albeit still active, was seemingly cut short after the Black Friday incident.

Despite numerous attempts, the challenge has yet to be completed, but a tweet from earlier this year may be a step in the right direction.

Where’d He Go?

After Black Friday, Dwan virtually disappeared from the public. It wasn’t until a few years ago he began making appearances in Paul Phua’s Triton Series cash games, and he even recently became a brand ambassador for the series.

He also plays some of the highest stakes in the world in private games in Macau with very wealthy Asian businessmen, where stakes can get up to $1,000/$2,000.

However, after a few years of stepping away from the scene, it seems like he’s steadily ramping up his public appearances for what some might call a comeback.

Back in the Scene?

As mentioned before, Dwan did begin making public appearances in the Triton series cash games and tournaments a few years back. More recently, Dwan has made several appearances on the new seasons of High Stakes Poker.

In this pot, Dwan wins a huge pot against two opponents.

Even more recently, Dwan has been clashing with players like Garrett Adelstein on Hustler Casino Live.

Dwan also sat down with the Pual Phua YouTube channel to discuss his poker origins, learning poker, the freedom poker gave him, and much more.

So the question stands, is Tom Dwan back for good? Historically, it’s been high stakes cash games that draw Dwan in. If games like those on Hustler Live and High Stakes Poker continue, I think it’s safe to say he will be around.

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Nikk from Western New York is a part-time journalist, a successful tournament poker player, and an avid fly fisherman.Read more


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