The only person that’s harder to find than Waldo or Carmen Sandiego is Tom Dwan. He dominated the online poker world as “Durrrr” for years and racked up over $2.66 million in live earnings before virtually dropping off the face of the planet over the last two years.
His lack of face time at the poker tables has prompted questions about whether Tom Dwan is broke. Granted, every major poker pro at some point in their career has to endure this question from trolling fans but with the length of time that Dwan has spent incognito, one has to wonder if there is some truth to these rumors.
Today we will look at a few of the theories surrounding Tom Dwan and maybe figure out whether poker’s former wunderkind is actually busto or just laying low.
Theory 1 – Tom Dwan is Broke
The first and most prevailing theory regarding Tom Dwan is that he is broke and playing next to no poker anywhere in the world. In the event that he does play, it is because that he has found backing of some type.
However, if this is the case and he has not dug himself out of whatever hole he is in, it would seem that those sources of backing would dry up regardless of his ability in the past.
If that were the case, the only people that would think about backing him would be a tournament backer. When is the last time you’ve seen him in a poker tournament? I can’t think of when either.
Theory 2 – Bankroll is Hurting and Needs Full Backing to Play Highest Stakes
Another theory floating around is that Dwan needs backing in order to play the highest stakes in the world. He isn’t completely “broke” per se, but he can’t stand the swings that come playing the highest stakes in the world. Some have suggested that Macau businessmen or other high stakes poker pros are backing Dwan with him receiving as little as 10% of his play.
When Dwan has been spotted in the past year, it has been in Macau. This does lend to this particular theory, despite the so-called backer having never been named. With many of the big games going down in Macau, and the lack of media coverage compared to the United States and elsewhere, it would be the perfect place for him to try and rebuild his bankroll.
If this theory is true, that would mean that Dwan is having a prolonged downswing in his bankroll which would leave some to question the overall quality of his game. There’s only so much you can blame on “variance.”
Theory 3 – Tom Dwan is Playing Under a Private Assumed Name Online
After his public departure from Full Tilt Poker as one of “The Professionals,” Dwan hasn’t been heard from online. With the amount of money he’s won over the year, one has to wonder if he is possibly playing under an assumed name in an attempt to build a bankroll.
There are a couple of ways that he could pull this off. First, he would need to opt out from most online tracking sites, which isn’t that tough of a task. Next, he could drop down in stakes that aren’t normally tracked by sites such as Highstakesdb and just put in a bit more volume. Maybe take the occasional shot at higher stake games but not put in enough volume to legitimately get on anyone’s radar.
That’s assuming that Dwan is regularly playing on PokerStars. While it is unlikely that he is playing at 888 Poker or elsewhere, it would be a great place to lay low and play mid stakes. While it is hard to imagine him playing at mid-stakes anywhere online, he might be if he had someone backing him in the highest live games.
Theory 4 – Tom Dwan is Fine But Wants Out of the Poker Spotlight
Another theory and one that is a bit more plausible based on his actions over the couple of years, is that Tom Dwan’s bankroll is fine but he just wants out of the poker spotlight. For year, Dwan was under the bright lights of the poker world and was one of the world’s top sponsored players.
Then Black Friday hit and all the sponsorships went away. Couple that with all the drama involved with the Full Tilt Poker scandal and Dwan may have started to get tired of having the spotlight shined on him. His failed deal with the new Full Tilt may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back and forced him to take his ball and move to Macau.
His tournament resume would surely seem to reflect that. His last cash was in early 2014 and he has barely played in live tournaments since that time. When he has been spotted, it has either been playing in Macau or supporting casinos in Macau.
Chances are that Dwan has decided to take a few steps back and just grind away in Macau for a time until he feels comfortable getting back into the spotlight. He may even be sitting back and waiting for online poker regulation to expand in the United States. There aren’t many opportunities for a big poker sponsorship deal outside of PokerStars presently, so there’s really no need to put himself in the spotlight when there’s little financial benefit to doing so.
**Is Tom Dwan broke? We don’t think so. Most likely he is just on an extended siesta in Macau. When he wants to come back, the poker media and railbirds around the world will welcome him back with open arms.