Dewey Tomko’s Story

Dewey Tomko an All American Success Story

Dewey Tomko is an entirely self-made man who saw tremendous opportunities in life, took enormous risks, and ultimately blazed new paths in whatever he attempted. Despite all he’s accomplished, Dewey still values the simple things the most – his family, his friends, and his community above everything else.
Dewey was born to John and Laverne Tomko in 1946. He grew up in the small town of Glassport, located just south of Pittsburgh at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers. Dewey spent his childhood in the scenic hills and valleys of Western Pennsylvania, which gave him a deep appreciation for the basic goodness of people and a deep love for nature. It also gave him a great love of life and living it to the fullest.
Dewey Tomko

Dewey went on to graduate from Salem College in West Virginia, where he earned his degree in physical education. He played football, baseball, and basketball. However, Dewey wasn’t quite big enough or fast enough to take it to the next level, so he picked up other games where he consistently outworked and out-hustled the competition. Those two games which would later come to define Dewey in the public eye were poker and golf.

But long before Dewey made it big in poker, golf, and later as a multifaceted businessman, he was a hard-working pre-school teacher. At age 24, he moved from Pennsylvania to Florida. He started teaching kindergarten-age children in Haines City and spent the next six years working closely with kids. Education has always had special meaning to Dewey and among the many things he’s accomplished in his life, teaching others has been one of his proudest fulfillments.

Dewey’s accomplishments in poker reveal a level of excellence few have achieved over such a long period of time. He’s been at the top of the game for almost five decades – unheard of in poker’s modern era. He’s won three World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelets which represents the game’s greatest achievement. Moreover, Dewey has played in the WSOP Main Event for 38 consecutive years, the longest current active streak of anyone in history.
Dewey was the top ranked poker player in the world each and every year between 1983 and 1986. He finished second in the poker world championships twice, one of only two players in history who can make that earning lifelong friendships with everyone from poker great Doyle Brunson to Casino icon Jack Binion.

Hard to imagine, but Dewey’s numerous tales out on the golf course over the years are even more awe-inspiring. He’s gambled for untold millions, as high as anyone in the world over the duration of his career. For instance, in a golf event televised on ESPN in the late 1990s, Dewey was gambling for as much as a quarter-million dollars on a single round of golf. But that’s nothing compared to some of the bigger matches. He played golf for the outrageous sum of $1 million a round “more than once”, which is all he’ll say. Dewey’s antics sparked two popular television shows (one called “High Stakes Golf”) He was even featured prominently in the best-selling book titled “Who’s Your Caddy”, written about many great matches which have taken place out on golf courses over the years by names everyone would recognize.

Dewey is one of the few people enshrined into two Halls of Fame. He was first inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2008, and is one of only 26 living persons to have achieved that honor. Dewey was also enshrined into the Gamblers Golf Hall of Fame in 2010, arguably an even tougher fraternity of greats, which includes many legendary gamblers.

Dewey’s success in business has been equally inspiring. He’s owned fields of orange groves, country clubs, restaurants, and even a casino. Dewey built and ran the Southern Dunes Country Club in Florida (1992-2005). He owned the Horseshoe Casino in San Jose, Costa Rica (2002-2008). Dewey opened up and still runs Vines Grille & Wine Bar, Orlando’s best fine-dining, steak, and jazz restaurant, which has received rave reviews and continues to be one of the city’s most popular hotspots. But he’s just getting started.

With his latest venture, Dewey has undertaken an exciting new project, a bold new venture which will combine his intense love of sports, food, and fun in what’s known as “Dewey’s Indoor Golf & Sports Grill”, raising the bar on the common sports bar experience to brand new heights.
Indeed, the boy who was born in the hills of Pennsylvania in post-war America and moved to Florida to pursue his vision of the American dream has certainly come a very long way. And, there’s still a thrilling road and ride ahead.

Today, Dewey lives in Orlando, a city he loves and is proud to call home. He’s married to Marianella and has four fabulous sons – Derek, Drew, David, and Diego, his youngest.


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