Tom Dwan has long been regarded as one of the best high-stakes poker players in the game. Starting at low-stakes online action while still in his teens, “durrrr” successfully mastered play at the lower levels before graduating to the upper echelon of poker’s elite class.
Railbirds have often been riveted by his online play at Full Tilt over the years that featured heads-up high-stakes action against several other of the game’s shining stars. Dwan was able to parlay that success into sponsorship deals at Full Tilt both before and after Black Friday.
As it stands now, the name Dwan is synonymous with high-stakes poker at its finest. As the face of Full Tilt Poker along with Viktor “Isuldur1” Blom and Gus Hansen, his standing in the poker community has been solidified and even the most casual players are aware of his prowess on the felt.
However, there are indications that the tide may be turning with regards to his standing within the poker community. Several recent incidents have brought Dwan’s admired status in the game into question of late and may have lowered the level of respect that other big-name pros have for the 26-year-old.
The first incident is the durrrr Challenge between Dwan and Dan “jungleman12” Cates. As I reported earlier this month, that match remains on hold while a war of words and miscommunications has aired on 2 + 2 between the combatants. Progress in the contest remains stagnant, with no resolution in sight, at least as of this writing. Players with wagers riding on the outcome have been desiring a resumption in the match. That includes Cates, who took the 3-1 bet and sold pieces of the action. He has repeatedly asked Dwan to name a time and place to continue, but durrrr apparently remains miffed at some comments made by the jungleman and finds the high-stakes cash game action in Macau a better bet at this time.
Many posters on that thread seem very disappointed in Dwan and perceive him to be the reason why the challenge remains at a standstill. And with so much riding on the outcome, common sense seemingly tells you that the face of one of the top online poker sites in the game should make every effort to conclude a heads-up challenge which he announced to begin with.
Dwan was also recently called out by some pros for comments he made on 2 + 2 that multi-accounting at online poker sites is not that horrific of an offense. Dwan didn’t out-and-out approve MA’ing, but he did sort of give it a back-handed OK when he posted, “multiaccounting isnt cheating. its a flawed rule that the sites try to enforce partly for their own benefits. that said in the current climate u shouldn’t do it, just like u shouldn’t angleshoot in a poker game.” My colleague here at PokerUpdate covered that story just a couple of days ago, as did Bluff Europe.
To be fair, a number of pros sided with Dwan on the issue, including Cates. It was refreshing to see the pair agree on something. But Dani “Ansky” Stern certainly did not agree and did not hold back his scorn by stating, “So very disappointing to see you [Dwan] post this. Surely you realize you are looked up to and when you speak people listen. You didnt exactly give multi accounting your consent, but why post anything even mildly condoning it? We aren’t talking about someone playing on someone else’s account occasionally while they are bored or something. This is extremely deliberate and malicious multi accounting being used to squeeze out every cent available, from already winning players.”
The multi-accounting debate will live on. Whether or not its wrong depends upon who you are speaking to. Poker players have a right to earn money and when they can’t get action from other players because of their shark-like reputation, what are they supposed to do? Find a site that allows for anonymous play? Perhaps, but that’s a topic for another day. Just keep in mind that MA’ing is generally seen as not acceptable by online poker sites. For that very reason, most would probably agree that its a no-no despite its widespread practice.
Stern’s comment that Dwan should realize that he is held in high regard and should take greater care with his words and actions hit the nail on the head, as far as Daniel Negreanu is concerned. In a recent article at pokerplayer.co.uk, KidPoker minced no words when the interview progressed to the topic of Dwan. Apparently, durrrr was about four hours tardy to a grudge match between PokerStars and Full Tilt pros, which Negreanu found to be completely unprofessional.
“If you’re a sponsored player and you get paid, then you better do those things [show up on time] or you are disrespecting your organisation and the game,” Negreanu rightly pointed out. “If you aren’t prepared to do that, then don’t wear the patch.”
The lack of respect that Negreanu has for Dwan is apparent as KidPoker continued his rant. “I don’t think Tom is one of the best, I don’t know if he ever was,” Negreanu added. “He got elevated after his appearances on High Stakes Poker because he ran well and played well, but realistically, he doesn’t put in the time or practise playing now.” Negreanu went on to say that a number of high-stakes pros are quite anxious to play heads-up against Dwan, the game in which he is (was?) thought to be among the best in the business.
It is apparent that Dwan’s standing among his peers has been knocked down at least a couple levels in the eyes of several pro players. He certainly is free to make his own decisions in the way he represents Full Tilt Poker and in following through on previous commitments. However, there are many of his fans, of which I am one, and players who compete on the same level as he, who may have lost a bit of admiration and respect for Dwan due to recent incidents that have not shined favorably on the Full Tilt pro.
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