Who’s the Imposter Behind the Dewey Tomko Hoax?

    Poker legend Dewey Tomko’s alleged involvement in the current online poker debate just got a lot more bizarre. This is now on the verge of being a scandal. For those unfamiliar with the longtime poker icon, Dewey Tomko has been playing in poker’s most highly-competitive events since the mid-1970’s.  He’s won three World Series of Poker gold bracelets during his illustrious career, even though he plays in relatively few events each year.  He’s finished as runner up in the Main Event Championship twice.  In 2008, Tomko was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. Tomko now resides in Orlando, Florida.  He’s a highly-successful businessman who owns and manages multiple restaurants.  Tomko also owns a private golf course and country club, a massive development of luxury homes, and other businesses including a casino in Costa Rica. BACKGROUND Several weeks ago, I came across a stunning guest editorial which appeared in The Press of Atlantic City newspaper (and website).  The writer(s) of the op-ed printed on March 19, 2014 warned the general public about the supposed dangers of collusion and being cheated when playing online poker.  The ridiculously slanted editorial boiled down to a scare tactic.  Read the full text here:  DEWEY TOMKO AND BILL BYERS / POKER PROS:  TEST GAMBLING SITES FOR CHEATING The editorial came as a shock to me for several reasons.  First, I know one of the alleged authors, Dewey Tomko, quite well.  He doesn’t write editorials to newspapers.  Moreover, Tomko has absolutely no first-hand knowledge of online poker.  Tomko has never even played online poker before.  Not even once.  Finally, Tomko didn’t own a personal e-mail account until very recently, which is related to one of his businesses. This editorial allegedly written and/or co-authored by Tomko sure didn’t sound like the man I knew.  Alerted to these concerns I decided to investigate.   OTHER MEDIA TAKE THE BAIT AND RUN WITH THE STORY The intent here isn’t to criticize poker media.  It’s fair for them to assume what appears in the mainstream press to be true.  In fact, every outlet that reported this story accepted Tomko’s authorship of the piece on their faith in the journalistic standards and practices of The Press of Atlantic City, which bears full responsibility. Here are just a few of the poker news outlets which ran their own reactions to the editorial: FlushDraw:  DEWEY TOMKO AND THE WEIRD ONLINE POKER FLIP-FLOP SELLOUT F5poker:  POKER HALL OF FAMER DEWEY TOMKO: UNTESTED ONLINE POKER MAY DESTROY THE GAME F5poker:  POKER HALL OF FAMER DEWEY TOMKO TAKES A PUBLIC RELATIONS BEATING PoketFives:  DEWEY TOMKO FEARS CHEATING AND COLLUSION AT REGULATED ONLINE POKER SITES That’s just a few.  I counted several other poker news sites which ran the story as legitimate, which are easily accessible by doing a Google search. Even mainstream press quoted from the original editorial, including the highly-influential The Hill, read by lawmakers in Washington, DC.  In a special feature with the byline “Jim Thackston” (a.k.a. James Thackston), The Hill printed the following paragraph: In March, Byers and another professional poker player and Poker Hall of Fame inductee, Dewey Tomko, co-wrote an op-ed which appeared in the Press of Atlantic City.  … Continue reading Who’s the Imposter Behind the Dewey Tomko Hoax?