Dewey Tomko Profile

Posted by Bill "zimba" Seibert at 06 April 2011 07:39
Dewey Tomko is a respected long time poker pro and member of the Poker Hall of Fame. He is most famously known for being runner-up in the World Series of Poker Main Event in 1982 to Jack Strauss and in 2001 to Carlos Mortensen for $1.1 million. He has won three bracelets in 1979, and two in 1984. Tomko has 43 in the money finishes at the WSOP while making two final tables in WPT events; finishing runner up in the 2003 Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $553k. His live tournament winnings are nearly $5 million. Dewey Tomko was born December 31, 1946 in Glassport, Pennsylvania and resides in Winter Haven, Florida currently.

Things you might not know:
  • Tomko started playing poker profitably as a 16 year-old in Pittsburgh pool halls, which allowed him to finance his education.
  • Tomko attended Salem College in West Virginia, often out playing his returning from Vietnam friends of their funds to help pay for his education.
  • Tomko worked as a kindergarten teacher, but often player poker throughout his nights.
  • Tomko realized poker was more profitable, but funneled much of his winnings to other businesses so he would only have to play poker part time.
  • Tomko has played every WSOP Main Event since 1974, the longest current active streak.
  • Tomko also was twice the "bubble boy" in the WSOP Main Event, just missing a cash.
  • Tomko considers Doyle Brunson one of his longest and strongest friends in poker. They have invested in multiple businesses together.
  • Tomko claimed his biggest score before 2003 by winning the $10k NLHE Grand Prix of Poker in 1984 to make up for some of his frustrating second place finishes for $355k.
  • Tomko is an avid golfer, who loves to have large bets riding on his performance.
  • Tomko owns the Southern Dunes golf course and operates the Horseshoe Casino in downtown San Jose, Costa Rica.
  • Tomko aspired to play on the Senior PGA.
  • Rick Reilly chronicled how well Tomko performs under pressure, stating that many PGA professionals used to refuse to play him for money.
  • Tomko's son Derek is now a professional poker player that Tomko insists is better than he was at a similar age.
For much of his adult life, Tomko has prioritized his family and life away from the regular grind of poker and Las Vegas. He has had a long career in poker. Back in the late 70's and to the mid 80's Dewey was as active as any player in poker, with what respected tournament director called the best run in poker ever in 1984-85:

1984 $10,000 Grand Prix, 1st Place
1984 $5,000 WSOP Pot Limit Omaha, 1st Place
1984 $10,000 WSOP Deuce to Seven, 1st Place
1984 $10,000 America's Cup, 3rd Place
1984 $10,000 Grand Prix, 4th Place
1985 $2,500 Grand Prix, 1st Place
1985 $10,000 Grand Prix, 1st Place
1985 $5,000 Superbowl of Poker 7 Card Stud, 1st Place
1985 $10,000 Superbowl of Poker, 2nd Place

Tomko finished as the leading money winner in all three of the non-WSOP top poker series; Amarillo Slim's Superbowl of Poker, Bob Stupak's Vegas World, and the Grand Prix of Poker, while winning two WSOP bracelets.

Nowadays, Tomko plays a very limited schedule feeling that poker has passed him by somewhat.
"Poker used to be a game where everybody knew everyone else; now, when I enter a tournament, I look around at my table and I don't know anyone."
And yet the poker legend had back-to-back top ten finishes in the 2006 and 2007 $50k WSOP H.O.R.S.E. tournaments considered the most prestigious in poker.

Tomko's tough final hand in the 2001 WSOP, Poker After Dark episode, and his elimination in the 2007 $50k WSOP H.O.R.S.E. tournament:

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