Play poker Poker overview history Poker variants
Home :: Poker

Dewey Tomko

Dewey Tomko
Dewey Tomko at the 2006 World Poker Tour Bellagio Five Star Tournament
Nickname(s) Dewey
Born Duane Tomko
December 31, 1946
World Series of Poker
Bracelet(s) 3
Money finish(es) 43
Highest ITM
Main Event finish
World Poker Tour
Title(s) None
Final table(s) 2
Money finish(es) 5
Information accurate as of 12 September 2010.

Duane "Dewey" Tomko (born December 31, 1946 in Glassport, Pennsylvania) is an American former kindergarten teacher turned professional poker player, based in Winter Haven, Florida.

Tomko is chiefly noted as the runner-up in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) $10,000 no limit Texas hold'em main event in both 1982 (to Jack Straus) and 2001 (to Carlos Mortensen.) Besides his success in the main event, Tomko has won three WSOP bracelets, all in different variations of poker, in addition to various other tournament wins throughout his career.

Early life

Tomko was born and raised in Glassport, PA., a suburb of Pittsburgh. He began playing poker profitably as a 16-year-old in Pittsburgh pool halls which allowed him to finance his education.

He worked as a kindergarten teacher for several years, but often played poker through the night. After Tomko realised that poker was more profitable than his job, he invested a sum of his winnings into businesses while choosing to play poker full-time and leaving his full-time job.

Poker career

Tomko won his first WSOP bracelet in 1979 in the $1,000 No Limit Hold'em event. He defeated Duanne Hammrich heads-up to win the title and $48,000 cash prize.

At the 1984 WSOP, Dewey won two bracelets. First he won the $10,000 Deuce to Seven Draw event. The next day he went back-to-back, winning the $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha with re-buys event.

In addition to his WSOP success, Tomko has made two World Poker Tour (WPT) final tables. He finished runner-up in the 2003 Five Diamond World Poker Classic ($552,853) and in fourth place in the Costa Rica Classic ($14,650.)

Tomko has played every WSOP Main Event since 1974 which is currently the longest active streak.

Tomko took third place in the 2005 WSOP Deuce-to-seven lowball event worth $138,160. He also made the final table of the first WSOP $50,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. tournament in 2006 which featured some of the best tournament and cash game poker players in the world. He finished in 7th place earning a $343,200 payday.

As of 2010, his total live tournament winnings exceed $4,960,000. Just over half of his tournament winnings, $2,641,573, have come at the WSOP. He is a 2008 inductee into the Poker Hall of Fame.

World Series of Poker Bracelets

Year Tournament Prize (US$)
1979 $1,000 No Limit Hold'em $48,000
1984 $10,000 Deuce to Seven Draw $105,000
1984 $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha $135,000


Tomko is married with three children. His son Derek encouraged him to return to playing poker tournaments. (Tomko claims his son is a better player than he was at his age.)


Tomko is an excellent golfer, spending much of his time on the golf course when he is not playing poker. He has played with many of his fellow high-stakes poker players like Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, and many others. One of his most frequent golf partners is poker player Hilbert Shirey who also lives in Tomko's hometown of Winter Haven, Florida.

Rick Reilly chronicles a day with Dewey on a golf course in his book Who's Your Caddy. In it, he contends that Tomko is not interested in competition if there is not a wager riding on it. Dewey is just as good a gambler on the golf course as he is sitting at a poker table. He notes that many PGA professionals will refuse to play him for money.Dewey has now opened Dewey's Golf and sports grill in Orlando Florida, it open's officially on 2/4/2014.

On NBC's Poker After Dark, Greg Raymer noted that pro golfer Rocco Mediate has said that if he had one person to putt for his life, it would be Tomko.