Tom Dwan explains how he stays ahead of the curve

Jon Pill
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Posted on: November 23, 2020 10:57 pm EST

The Tom Dwan AMA continues on the YouTube channel Poker Kings. In it Durrr opens up about the vicissitudes of short-deck, how he tries to stay ahead of the rest of the poker world, and whether or not he thinks that’s working.

An initial query from “golfnutt” about short-deck spiralled quickly. Starting from a discussion of how Dwan came to be the top short-deck player in the world. By the end, Schulman was digging around for how he feels about hold’em. After all, he’s probably no longer the best in the world at that.

“Whenever you change the game some neat stuff can happen,” he says to the interviewer, Nick Schulman. “Sometimes you do that and the new game has issues […] but short-deck, I think, has a lot of cool stuff.”

It’s pretty clear that what drew Dwan to the game was the high stakes at which it was played. But he does some lip service to its role as a kind of Omaha analog. He and Schulman discuss the way the smaller edges keep the fish coming back and make for a high-stakes game with a lot of gamble.

Tom Dwan explains that the “they” of the poker elite “were thinking about the game wrong.” But he also modestly points out that his talent for short-deck is more about being first into the market.

“I was the only pro playing short-deck,” he says, pointing out that it’s a lot easier to be top in the world when that’s the case.

Macau, money, and monster pots

Dwan remains tight-lipped about the private games in Macau. No doubt his continued invites depend on it. He mentions that he has not played a lot of short deck in a while. Not overly surprising given how Macau is coping with the COVID pandemic. He points out that though short-deck is big in Asia it’s only just taking off “over here.”

He teases the new season of High Stakes Poker in an almost accidental way, hinting at a hand against Brynn Kenney when he gets well out of line and is left kicking himself. We’ll be able to see what’s happening with that when HSP returns next month.

He reckons this season’s line up is much “more polished.” He wasn’t able to pull the kind of out there moves from his first appearance. His craziness has become so widely adopted that it’s more or less the standard line a lot of the time.

So how does he stay ahead of the curve? He keeps switching it up. “In short-deck, I had a short run where I could just get away with murder, cus people just didn’t understand the game.”

It will be interesting to see this older and wiser Dwan return, like a salmon to its spawning grounds, to the televised hold’em game that made his name.

Featured image source: Twitter