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Feb 18, 2017

7 Reasons Why the Durrrr Challenge Is Dead in 2017

By RTR Dennis

665x200 feb17 durrrr challenge

Beginning in 2010, the Durrrr Challenge was an exciting competition that pitted Dan Cates and Tom Dwan against each other. Back then, Dwan and Cates were on top of online poker, which added excitement to the challenge. But here we are seven years later and the matchup isn't even halfway completed.

Cates recently breathed new life into the Durrrr Challenge, saying that Dwan is committed to resuming it this year. But there are 7 reasons why we don't see this happening in 2017 – or any other year for that matter.

1. Dwan Is Already Losing and Has Little Motivation to Play

When activity in the challenge halted, Dwan was down $1.2 million after 20,000 of the 50,000 hands were completed. If Dwan loses, he'll have to pay Cates an extra $1.5 million. Given the current conditions, what motivation does Dwan have to finish this challenge? At best, a few hands will be played just to satisfy Cates.

2. Dwan No Longer Has a Full Tilt Poker Sponsorship
As of late 2013, Tom Dwan no longer draws big checks from Full Tilt Poker. In fact, Full Tilt, which once dominated the online high stakes scene, has been absorbed by PokerStars. While we don't know exactly how much Dwan was being paid to represent Full Tilt, it's safe to assume that the amount was between $500k and $1 million per year. Without this money, he's less likely to have steady income to repay Cates in the event of a loss.

3. Cates Is the Superior Player

As if having a $1.2 million lead isn't already a big enough advantage, Cates is also the better online NL hold'em player. After earning over $10.2 million through Full Tilt before their high stakes tables closed, Jungleman has continued sharpening his skills against top-ranked competition at PokerStars. Dwan, meanwhile, has been grinding in live games against a mix of businessmen, skilled amateurs, and pros. While this is enough to help Dwan remain a tough player, he's nowhere near a match for Cates these days.

4. Dwan Gambled Too Much of His Money Away

One big reason why Dwan has avoided the challenge is because he put himself in the hole by gambling too much. As Cates puts it, Durrrr "gambled beyond his means" and is trying to resolve the situation. We don't know what the losses stem from – casino, sports betting, or something else – but Dwan taking a hit through gambling isn't going to help this challenge get completed any time soon.

5. Poker Isn't as Easy as It Once Was

Provided Dwan does lose, he'll owe Cates $1.5 million plus any potential losses. Perhaps during his heyday from 2008-09, he could've recouped the money by dominating online regs. But those days are long gone, as evidenced by the fact that he lost nearly $6 million in 2010 and 2011. What's bad is that the Macau games Dwan plays in aren't the cash cow they once were either because the businessmen are stronger players. Considering all of this, Dwan knows that he can't win his money back so easily if/when he loses to Cates.

6. Dwan Refuses to Buy Out of the Challenge

The first-ever Durrrr Challenge between Dwan and Patrik Antonius ended with the latter buying out after quickly getting down $1.85 million. Considering that Dwan is down $1.2m in the face-off with Cates and doesn’t have time to play the remaining 30k hands, he should've considered the buyout option at some point within the last seven years. Given that Dwan hasn't tried buying out any time during this span, it seems that he either doesn't have the money, or doesn’t plan to honor the original deal.

7. Dwan's Reputation Has Already Been Damaged - Why Should He Care Now?

Dwan was once revered in the poker community, thanks to the fact that he spoke out about Full Tilt not repaying players after Black Friday. But aside from a few sessions in 2012 and '13, Dwan has refused to sit down with Cates and finish their challenge. This has prompted both Cates and fellow high stakes grinder Doug 'WCGRider' Polk to bash Dwan for being a scammer. Any goodwill that he earned for speaking on behalf of unpaid Full Tilt players has been tarnished over the past several years. Furthermore, he's been laying low in Asian and largely distant from the online poker world. Aside from being called out by a few players, why does he care about doing what's necessary to repair his reputation now?

Considering the 7 factors that we've discussed, it seems highly unlikely that the remaining 30k hands of the Durrrr Challenge get completed. If anything happens in 2017, it'll merely be a few sessions between Cates and Dwan, but nothing even close to finishing the matter.