Tom Dwan Player Profile, Biography and Poker Career

Poker.Org Staff
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Posted on: March 16, 2022 4:13 pm EDT

Who is Tom Dwan?

If you’ve been following poker for the last decade, you surely know the name Tom “durrrr” Dwan. The online poker legend crushed the highest stakes of heads-up No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha poker cash games. He’s also one of the most recognizable poker players in the world.

Dwan is known for his hyper-aggressive play and his propensity to carry a big prop bet or two. The New Jersey native hasn’t been in the poker rooms as much recently, but you can rest assured that if Dwan is at a poker event, all eyes will be on him. 

Tom Dwan biography

Tom Dwan was born in Edison, New Jersey in 1986. Before he moved to playing poker full time, Dwan went to Boston University for an Engineering degree, but dropped out to become a professional poker player. Dwan first played poker online, starting with a $50 bankroll. By 2008, he turned that into a staggering $5,410,000 in online cash games alone.

From that point on, million-dollar online poker swings became the norm for Dwan, known primarily as “durrrr,” which is his Full Tilt Poker handle. In late 2009, Dwan suffered his biggest career downswing, losing around $2 million to Phil Ivey, and then most famously, taking a $5 million hit at the hands of Viktor Blum, aka “Isildur1”.

These days, if Dwan is playing at the poker tables, it’s usually in Macau, where he plays Short-Deck Ante-Only poker. He has also appeared on the Full Tilt poker million cash game on Sky Sports. In January 2022, he made a return to the live felt when he took on Phil Hellmuth in a Heads-Up High Stakes duel

Professional poker playing career

Tom Dwan’s first live poker tournament cash came in the Main Event at the European Poker Tour in London, when the poker player was just 19 years old. Two years later, Dwan earned $324,244 at the WPT World Poker Finals Championship Event in Mashantucket. In 2008, he finished runner-up at the WPT Borgata Winter Open for $226,100.

In total, Dwan has amassed more than $5 million in live tournament earnings, with his biggest tournament cash coming in 2019 at the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series Jeju. He also has final tables at the Aussie Millions, the Spring Challenge in Macau, and regularly appeared on High Stakes Poker, and Poker After Dark TV episodes.

Short Deck

Dwan has since shifted to Short-Deck Ante-Only poker, a variant where the low cards, from deuces to fives, are all taken out of the deck. This is the preferred game in Macau, where Dwan spends the majority of his poker playing time. His last four tournament cashes, including his two biggest career scores, were in Short Deck.

Dwan also has a cash in the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. He doesn’t have a WSOP bracelet or World Poker Tour title to his name, but given that he has won several pots in cash games worth more than first place in most of those events, he probably isn’t too concerned about his shortfall.

Poker-playing style

Tom Dwan was the poster boy of an entire generation of online players. That generation made a name for themselves with a hyper-aggressive style of play. While many of the old-school poker pros were still trying to preach tight and passive play, Dwan was revolutionary for his aggressive play, both preflop and post flop.

This aggressive style is evident if you search YouTube for Tom Dwan bluffs. You’ll find a slew of videos of the poker legend making wild plays that hardly anyone else would make.

This playing style has served him well in several of his famous high stakes “durrrr” heads up challenges against some of the biggest names in the world, including Dan Cates. 

As recently as January 2022, Dawn has shown that he can adapt to the times. He was featured in the reboot of High Stakes Poker on PokerGo.com. Dwan never shies away from pulling off a big bluff or two, especially in the 7-2 game. In that game, players will win a side bonus from everyone at the table if they take a hand and showdown 7-2 off suit. (That’s the worst hand in No-Limit Texas Hold’em). 

Top 5 World Series of Poker results

Tom Dwan has had five top-ten finishes at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas in his career. His first came in 2008 at the $5,000 buy-in No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Event, where he won $45,111, as well as 7th in the $10,000 World Championship 8-Game.

Dwan also made the round of 16 in the 2011 $25,000 Heads Up Event, finishing 9th for $67,436. He’s made two different $10,000 Mixed Game final tables, including a six-figure score when he finished 5th at the H.O.R.S.E Championship in 2011.

Runner up

Dwan’s most famous finish came in 2010 when he placed second in a $1,500 No-Limit Texas Hold’em event, earning him $381,885. This was his biggest cash at the World Series of Poker, but it’s most famous for how much he lost out on by not coming in first. It’s rumored that Dwan missed out on $9-12 million by failing to win that heads up battle. 

That year, Dwan had several high-profile bracelet bets, against the likes of Mike Matusow, Daniel Negreanu, and more. He reportedly had a $3 million bet with Phil Ivey alone. Simon Watt won the heads up, and in doing so, likely saved most of the poker community from bankruptcy. 

Tom Dwan’s poker legacy

There is little doubt that Tom Dwan is one of the most famous high stakes poker players in the world. Perhaps he’ll be remembered most for his ability to beat the highest stakes games both online on Full Tilt Poker and in live poker, during a time where it was difficult to be dominant at both.

Dwan’s name will be forever mentioned with the likes of Phil Galfond, Patrik Antonius, and Viktor Blom when it comes to online poker news, and with those like Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu on the live circuit. Few players in poker history have the reputation and staying power that “durrrr” commands.