The life of high stakes professional Tom Dwan is rarely dull. As a regular instigator of nosebleed cash games on Full Tilt he plays daily for pots that run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. His aggressive playing style has also lead to some million dollar bankroll swings in the past year. Not to mention his famous durrrr challenge, a marathon multi-table heads up contest against fellow high stake expert Patrick Antonius.
This past week has been even more up-and-down than usual. First up, Tom appears on the new series of Poker After Dark which has just begun airing on NBC. He features in the first 12 episodes alongside Eli Elezra, Howard Lederer, Illari “Ziigmund” Sahamies, Phil Ivey, and his old adversary Patrick Antonius. Rather than the usual Sit & Go formula, this first table of the series is a special cash game edition. Half the table bought in for $100,000, while Dwan, Ivey, and Antonius elected to begin with $250,000. Blinds started at $200/$400 with a $100 ante.
Although only the first few episodes have aired, Dwan has begun as he means to go on. In one of the biggest pots so far, both he and Sahamies moved all-in with the same diamond flush draw. Unfortunately for Ziigmund, his Jack high draw trailed to Dwan’s King high draw. The elusive final diamond completed the flush for both players and shipped Ziigmund’s whole stack to his regular online opponent. Play continues at the same table for the next two weeks.
Elsewhere, things are looking less positive for the young poker phenom. The official list of Poker Hall of Fame nominees has been approved and released by the Hall of Fame Governing Council and Dwan’s name is conspicuously absent. This year, for the first time, nominations were open to the public. An online submission asked poker fans to submit their picks for the Hall of Fame, with the top finishers going through to an official vote. Dwan’s name was a surprise entry, but clearly showed the affection and respect many poker fans feel for the young player.
Many of the old guard balked at his inclusion, arguing that at only 23 years old he had yet to ‘stand the test of time’ – a condition required by the official HoF entry criteria. At 33 and 35 Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu were also considered too young, although their names were still present on this latest official list. In a recent video blog, Negreanu admitted that even he considered himself too young to be admitted. The 15 living Hall of Fame members and a 15 strong media panel now have until October 2nd to cast their votes. Doyle Brunson and Pokerati writer Dan Michalski have both thrown their weight behind Mike Sexton. The long time player and poker ambassador is expected to be one of two players inducted into during a ceremony at the WSOP on November 7th.
The most exciting news surrounding Tom Dwan is also the most tenuous. Rumors started to swirl after an appearance by Howard Lederer on ESPN’s Inside Deal. Lederer is the co-owner of Full Tilt Poker and was pressed on whether the sponsor-less Dwan might be a potential addition to the already stellar Full Tilt roster. “Obviously Durrrr is an enormously talented player, one of these days it would be great if he were representing the site,” Lederer replied.
The rumors have gained a little more credence this week after a posting on Phil Ivey’s facebook page. Ivey is Full Tilt pro himself and reportedly announced the signing to his fans. “You heard it first from Team Ivey, Full Tilt Poker will soon announce a big sponsorship signing of the best of the best, young online phenom, Tom “durrrr” Dwan. Durrrr will be the latest addition to Team Full Tilt. details [sic] to come. Check Twitter for latest updates.” Given Ivey’s notoriously media-shy attitude, doubts have been cast over the legitimacy of the Facebook account. However, Bluff Magazine claim that the account is maintained by Ivey’s good friends. Specifically, Poker Road chief Joe Sebok and his poker reporter girlfriend Amanda Leatherman.