In the years before Black Friday, Tom durrrrDwan was a star in the online high-stakes community, playing the biggest stakes versus the best in the world, usually on Full Tilt Poker. Dwan was doing so well, in fact, that he was finding it hard to even get any action at the tables.
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So confident in his abilities was he at the time that he decided to throw down the gauntlet and offer 3:1 odds that he could be any player in the world heads-up over 50,000 hands. Known as the Durrrr Challenge, Dwan would pay $1.5 million to his opponent if he were up by $1 after the required hands were played. If Dwan came out on top, his opponent would pay only $500,000.
Daniel JunglemanCates (pictured) was happy to accept the bet and the pair began sparring in 2010. After playing around 20,000 hands, Cates had amassed a sizable $1.3 million lead over Dwan. But the events of Black Friday effectively shut Full Tilt Poker down and delayed the challenge indefinitely. Since that time, Cates has been prodding Dwan to finish the match, but has had little luck wrangling the young high-stakes specialist.
That could all change, however, if a 2+2 post by Jungleman is any indicator. “Tom and I have had some disputes, but I believe we have essentially resolved them,” he said. “The challenge is agreed to be played out in the next nine months. I think Tom intends on finishing the challenge, but has been distracted by things of great importance… In addition, Black Friday greatly hindered our progress.”
Indeed, in Cates’ frustration, he called out Dwan (pictured) in the poker media and threatened to reveal aspects of Dwan’s personal life. “The latest with durrrr is that he is being totally uncooperative,” Cates told PokerListings last year. “We have played zero hands in 2014 and only 2,500 of the 62,000 hands Tom played in 2013 were from the challenge.”
In 2013, it seemed like the challenge was back on after the pair agreed to a penalty schedule in which Dwan would pay Cates $40,000 for every two months that passed without progress on the bet. Needless to say, the penalties failed to motivate Dwan, who now owes $300,000 in fines, according to Cates.
“He failed to uphold any promises he made to me,” added Cates. “He’s extremely frustrating. It’s outrageous.”
Even with Dwan seemingly unresponsive, Cates was confident enough in being paid by his foe to cross-book action against him in his battle against a Heads-Up No Limit Hold’em machine at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The bet ended up costing Cates $400,000, a figure which he would deduct from the amount was owed by Dwan for the challenge.
In the past few years, Durrrr has rarely been seen playing high-stakes online and is known to instead frequent the live nosebleed games in Macau. While that juicy game is off-limits to many pros, Dwan is allowed in due to his loose playing style, which generates a lot of action.
If the challenge is indeed resurrected, the pair will need to find a new destination to play out their remaining 30,000 hands. Full Tilt Poker, which once hosted the challenge, recently decided to remove its high-stakes tables and has removed heads-up tables altogether. The Amaya-owned company hopes to reduce the risk of amateur players quickly going broke at the hands of professionals, never to return again.