The Hunt For Tom ‘Durrrr’ Dwan

3 years ago
Tom Dwan And The Triads
14:51
11 Mar

They seek him here, they seek him there,

Those forumites seek him everywhere.

Is he in Macao? — Is he in Japan?

That damned, elusive Tom ‘Durrrr’ Dwan’


Apologies for murdering the rhyme of the Scarlet Pimpernel, but the French Revolution was a long time ago, and a more pressing issue for fans of the poker world is the continuing saga of the one-time Golden Boy of Poker, Tom ‘Durrrr’ Dwan.

Ten months since his last little tweet, more than two years since his departure from Full Tilt, and slightly more than that since his last tournament cash – Dwan has all but disappeared from the poker world which saw him reach multi-millionaire status before he was even 20 years old.

The various sightings and rumours surrounding his current whereabouts carry so little credibility that they are almost worthless. I say almost, because as every detective knows, a lot of scraps of useless information have to be sifted through to reach the ultimate truth.


We do know that he was at the grand opening of the Poker King Club in Macao back in May of last year, accompanied by Phil Ivey and various Macao casino-types, including club president Winfred Yu. He appeared yet again in October in the same Venetian Macao Casino, seemingly relaxed despite the rumours which have him over $20milllion in hock to the local triads.

Rumours which also have him being forced to play baccarat to pay off his debts. Rumours which are exactly that, unsubstantiated reports from sources not best-placed to know anyway.

So, what could he possibly be doing if he isn’t living under the thumb of Macao’s Mr Big, desperately trying to pay off what he owes?


Laying low?

Well, the simplest theory is that he got tired of the limelight over here in the Western world, and decided for the sake of his sanity to chill in the Far East. A place where his poker skills might be more lucrative than against the world’s best – and without most of the accompanying media pressures.

Quietly re-building a bankroll might not seem like his style, but it’s a distinct possibility. From some of last year’s pics of Dwan in Macao, the games didn’t appear to be the nosebleed games he allegedly won and lost tens of millions in, back in 2013.


In too deep?

This is the scariest scenario, with Dwan so deep in hock to the local Triads that he is being forced to play whatever and wherever to pay off the millions he owes. I’m no Triad expert, but I guess if he was a local with no real connections, he’d be ‘sleeping with the fishes’ by now. Luckily, Dwan is famous (in poker circles at least), an American, and much more likely to be able to ‘win’ his way out of a hole than most.

Another factor which makes this unlikely is that he has never seemed to be anything other than his normal, happy self when he has been spotted, apart from one discredited rumour that he was surrounded by ‘henchmen’ and physically restrained to his seat.


Big game but no money to play?

This is one of the likelier reasons for Dwan’s so-called ‘disappearance’. The biggest games are in Macao now, and you need really deep pockets to deal with live cash-game variance, so he has found a willing backer for his high-stakes thrills.

Of course, this could be tied in with the previous Triad-based possibility – what happens when you lose too much? – but it’s entirely possible that he is killing the live Macao nosebleeds, and even paying a huge cut to his stakers, while leaving a tidy sum for Timmy Dean (his new Macao name!)


We are Anonymous!

Or at least Tom ‘Timmy Dean/durrrr’ Dwan might be, according to pokerupdate’s theories:

One has to wonder if he is possibly playing under an assumed name in an attempt to build a bankroll.”

This for me is as unlikely as the ‘in hock to the Triads’ theory, and he wouldn’t have to hide out in Macao if he wanted to be an invisible winner online. It could, of course, be that he is doing both: anonymous online plus playing the big Macao cash games. But that's a stretch, and I think the poker community is small and savvy enough to know when there is another Isildur1 doing the rounds. Unless, of course, Dwan isn’t killing the online game the way he used to?

So, we are really no further forward in our hunt for the Scarlet Pimpernel of poker, and until the little guy rears his head again and gives us another clue, there’s no telling when or if we’ll ever find out what’s really going on with Dwan.


As fellow poker players, of course, I’m hoping we are all agreed that the Triad option and all that entails is not what we want to hear? Guys? C’mon guys, really???


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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more

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