World famous poker players are almost always signed to one company or another. There are very few well known pros who continue to operate without the backing of a major online poker site. Tom Dwan was one of these players, but has now been snapped up by the most pro-friendly site of them all – Full Tilt Poker.
Dwan, often referred to by his online name ‘durrrr’, already spends most of his time playing in the high stakes cash games at Full Tilt. Thousands upon thousands of hands logged online have made him one of the most formidable players in the game. Sponsorship rumors have been swirling for some time, with most observers in agreement that Full Tilt was the most likely to capture his signature. He bolstered his profile with recent appearances on Poker After Dark and High Stakes Poker. On the latter show, Full Tilt supremo Howard Lederer claims that Dwan, “caused me to make maybe the worst play I’ve ever made on national TV.”
Having thoroughly impressed the big cheese it was only a matter of hammering out the details. Dwan was officially unveiled as a member of Team Full Tilt in a press conference on Monday. Howard led the introductions, calling Tom the first “pure” internet player as well as noting that most of Team Full Tilt had been around since before the poker boom. Chris “Jesus” Ferguson followed up with a short speech, before bringing on ‘durrrr Challenge’ opponent Patrick Antonius to officially welcome Tom. Patrick was the most recent inductee to Team Full Tilt and joins Dwan as one of only 3 players added in the last 5 years. With Dwan up on stage, Patrick ceremonially placed an FT cap on his head and a patch on his jacket.
Dwan seemed a little overawed by the occasion, but eased up to some degree after fielding a few questions from the assembled press. When asked why he chose to sign with Full Tilt, he stated that, “they have the highest stakes games, the best team, and the software is amazing.” Interestingly, there is some doubt as to whether the ‘durrrr’ name will remain in use. Tom admitted that he is in two minds about whether to keep it or not and will make a final decision after discussion with other Team Full Tilt members.
His new Full Tilt webpage mentions that he has never gone broke playing online poker, having built up his huge bankroll from a $40 deposit. However, this past week must have put a severe strain on his cash reserves. He has lost over $3 million in the last 7-days, with most of it going to mysterious new Swedish player ‘Isildur1’. Over three nights, $2.3 million went the way of the unknown Swede at Full Tilt’s $500/$1000 NLHE tables. Just like ‘martonas’ a few months ago, the arrival of a new high stakes player has caused much speculation and excitement among poker fans. Martonas was reportedly supported by a group of rich backers and although he booked some big wins early on, the high stakes regulars soon won back their loses. Whether the pattern will repeat with Isildur1 remains to be seen.
Tom Dwan will also be in training for the live version of his durrrr Challenge. On the 17th and 19th of November in London, Dwan will take on three pros in a heads-up Pot Limit Omaha cash game. Each will buy in for $500,000 and the matches must last for at least 500 hands. The contest was originally scheduled to take place at the WSOPE, with Matchroom Sport director Eddie Hearn lining up notoriously aggressive businessman Sammy George to face Dwan. George is still in the mix, along with Ilari “Ziigmund” Sahamies and Marcello “Luckexpress” Marigliano. Londoner Sammy George was typically gracious in his assessment of Dwan. “If Tom thinks he can come to my backyard and take half a million from my back pocket, he can think again.” The event will be broadcast on Sky Sports in early 2010.