Attaching someone’s name to an op-ed article when that person did not participate or even know about the piece constitutes a desperately low level of integrity, but that appears to be the case in a recent article allegedly penned by professional poker players Bill Byers and Dewey Tomko that appeared in the reputable Press of Atlantic City.
The problem is…Dewey Tomko is not an online poker player and says he played no role in authoring the article; he does not support its argument that collusion on internet poker sites is a danger for players; and he was never consulted on the use of his name!
After the article appeared in Press of Atlantic City, which has yet to comment on its provenance, Byers and Tomko received a fair amount of flak from a number of industry media and social media sites.
That ultimately led to industry personality and blogger Nolan Dolla contacting Tomko by telephone to confirm his authorship of the article Poker Pros Test Gambling Sites for Cheating, in which (Dollas’s words) “The ridiculously slanted editorial boiled down to a scare tactic” warning the general public about the supposed dangers of collusion and being cheated when playing online poker.
To his surprise Tomko, who is something of a Luddite when it comes to internet and email technology, knew nothing about the article, was not an online poker player and did not support the views that were expressed.
Dolla notes that whilst Tomko is a respected name in traditional live poker circles, having played in highly competitive events since the ‘seventies, holding three WSOP bracelets, and inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, he does not play poker online and is now a successful businessman who owns several restaurants and residential and sports developments in Florida and Costa Rica.
And, Dolla says, Tomko is not the sort of guy who writes editorial articles for newspapers.
Aggravating the issue further, the Washington DC publication The Hill referenced the Press of Atlantic City op-ed in another article authored by well-known anti-online poker activist Jim Thackston, who was recently exposed by a PPA exec as hunting with the hounds and running with the fox, so to speak (see previous report).
The Hill piece observed: “In March, Byers and another professional poker player and Poker Hall of Fame inductee, Dewey Tomko, co-wrote an op-ed which appeared in the Press of Atlantic City. They specifically addressed the vulnerability of novice players to cheating by teams of colluders as well as the curious lack of interest on the part of New Jersey regulators in the details of how cheaters might exploit system weaknesses.”
But back to the Dolla – Tomko discussion on the original article….
Tomko said that he had absolutely no knowledge of the Byers article, and that although he knew Byers the two had not communicated in a decade, and he had not been asked if his name could be used as a co-author.
“I have no association whatsoever to anything to do with that,” Tomko said. “I don’t play online poker. I’ve never played online poker before. Not even once. I don’t know anything about it. Why would I say something on something I know nothing about? I don’t do that.”
Tomko clearly did not support the content of the Press of Atlantic City piece either, telling Dolla:
“I’m totally in favor of online poker. I haven’t played it. But I know it’s good for poker. I can’t really comment at all about security because I’m not qualified in that area. How could I be? How can they say that about me? I would never write such a thing about online poker. I would never do anything to hurt the game.”
Dolla concludes with some justification that this subterfuge calls into question anything written by either Byers or Thackston.
“Everything they have stated with regards to online poker is now suspect. Both either knowingly or recklessly used Dewey Tomko’s name to establish credibility for themselves and their arguments.”
He goes on to urge social media users and online media who were critical of Tomko to retract their comments and issue an apology to the veteran poker player.
“Someone is lying. Someone is making things up. Someone needs to be exposed a soon as possible,” Dolla rightly observes, adding a footnote on Bill Byers which reveals that he is hardly a current and expert player in today’s terms:
“I have no idea who “professional poker player” Bill Byers is. However, he does have a profile listed at multiple poker sites. His last recorded tournament cash was seven years ago (2007). This “professional poker player” has earned $12,053 in a grand total of three lifetime cashes, according to one of the sites.”