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Tom Dwan thinks NLHE needs some changes

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Tom Dwan thinks NLHE needs some changes

Tom Dwan is coming off a successful fifth-place finish at the Tritan Poker Super High Roller HK$500,000 NLHE Short-Deck tournament. It’s one of the few tournaments in which he has participated lately, and he said afterward that he has stepped back participation for a couple of reasons. He feels that short-deck poker is a better fit over full-deck NLHE, but also says that full-deck poker is broken.

While the game itself is the same – the way cards are dealt, how hands are ranked and how pots are picked up. however, Dwan says that the atmosphere around the tables is now “sour.” He says, “I think the few tournaments I’ve played lately… people have taken the ‘staring at you’ to a whole new level, taking a long time every hand.”

Dwan, how has won over $3 million in live poker action, believes that players are intentionally slowing down the game, and adds that this has ruined NLHE poker. “Now I [feel] like people are taking [stalling] to an extreme and it’s not that fun… not that sporting,” he asserts.

He isn’t the only one. Bryn Kenney agreed, stating on Instagram that Dwan is “dead right.” He further stated that there “should be a penalty for staring at amateurs,” and that excessive tanking was “not making the game fun and people need to understand how important it is to make the game fun to attract players to wanna play.”

Antonio Esfandiari chimed in, as well. He responded via Twitter, posting, “Absolutely terrible for poker. Who wants to go to a poker table and just be stared at?”

NLHE has definitely changed over time, and change is always inevitable. However, the game will only survive as long as players are willing to play. The introduction of the big blind ante format and the shot clock have helped to ensure smooth action at the felt, but perhaps it’s time to take a deeper look and listen to those who helped put the game on the map and make additional changes.


Hailing from Wisconsin but arriving in Las Vegas in 1995, I'm better known at various US online poker rooms under the pen name "OreoBob" and "SoyFlush". I'm an avid poker player and editor-at-large who has contributed as a freelance writer for diverse national and international iGaming publications since 2004.