Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The Tomko Story

Hear about this weird story involving Poker Hall of Famer Dewey Tomko and an anti-online op-ed that appears to have been attributed to him without his consent? (That’s Tomko pictured, natch -- from a Flipchip photo.)

If you haven’t, Nolan Dalla’s blog is a good place to go for an initial introduction to the story. In fact, his blog post “Who’s the Imposter Behind the Dewey Tomko Hoax?” is itself the most interesting part of the story, as there Dalla reports on having asked Tomko directly via phone about the editorial that appeared on the Press of Atlantic City website back in March.

The editorial speaks of the dangers of online gambling, advocating against it with some specious arguments about collusion. The piece is attributed both to Tomko and a person named Bill Byers, but as Tomko told Dalla he knows nothing about the article or why his name has been attached to it. (Meanwhile the article continues to appear on the Press of Atlantic City site without any corrections or disclaimers regarding its authorship.)

Follow links in Dalla’s post for some more backstory to the op-ed and response to it in the poker community. Then check out Rich Ryan’s discussion of the situation over at PokerNews in his “Five Thoughts” piece published today, as well as Haley Hintze’s follow-up on the story at Flushdraw in which she does some detective work to try to start to answer the question posed in Dalla’s post title.

There’s more to the story than is contained in all of these sources, it seems, including details regarding the apparent involvement of figures associated with anti-online gambling lobbying efforts as covered in Haley’s piece.

Kind of funny, actually, how the big dangers some of these folks routinely list when it comes to online gambling/poker -- namely collusion and being able to misrepresent oneself online -- seem also to be tactics possibly being employed by the lobbyists as they work together to create confusion regarding who is saying what about the issue.

(EDIT [added 5/7/14, 8 p.m.]: Well, this one got a lot twistier and odd over the last 24 hours. My original title for the post was purposely ambiguous with its reference, potentially alluding either to the Press of Atlantic City article, Tomko’s seemingly true story as told to Dalla, or the entire complicated “story” being reported on by others. More meanings seem possible now.

The signoff suggesting there may have been some sort of online identity-borrowing going on still seems partly possible, though it doesn’t appear today as though it was a simple case of Tomko’s name being used without his knowledge or permission. [In other words, there’s some question, it seems, regarding his “story.”]

Today the original March op-ed was pulled from the PoAC site, but not before more complications arose suggesting that Tomko may have indeed at least had some knowledge of it and the planned attribution. For those wanting help sorting it out, check out the following posts from today:

  • The Curious Case of Dewey Tomko and the Disappearing Op-ed,” Steve Ruddock
  • Updating the Dewey Tomko Controversy -- What (Apparently) Happened,” Nolan Dalla
  • Dewey Tomko-signed Editorial Yanked from Press of Atlantic City Site,” Haley Hintze)
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