Saturday, January 08, 2011

Tom Dwan may be retarded

OK, this post will definitely fall into the category of weird, quirky things that nobody else would notice.

I'm watching this week's Poker After Dark. On Wednesday's episode, we get a shot of Tom Dwan looking at his hole cards. We're supposed to be excited that he has two kings. I saw something else entirely: It looks to me like he has a single palmar crease on his right hand, rather than the usual two.

This minor anatomic anomaly is known as a "simian crease," because it resembles the way that, e.g., chimpanzees' palms look. It is commonly found in people with Down syndrome. (Incidentally, the term "Down's syndrome" is not considered correct, no matter how many times you may have heard it.)

When I was in college, I noticed that one of my friends had bilateral Simian creases. He had never known that he differed in this way from other people. I should mention that he was an exceptionally bright guy, working on his PhD in economics at the time. I told him, in jest, that this meant he had Down syndrome. He paused a few seconds, then replied, "Gee, just think how smart I'd be if I weren't retarded!"

Somebody else that I know very well has a Simian crease on one side, though her other hand is normal. So if you ever meet Cardgrrl, take a look!

You know who else has a Simian crease on one hand, but the normal two palmar creases on the other? Hillary Clinton, that's who. Oh, and Robert DeNiro, too. And actor Rainn Wilson. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has them on both sides.

So if Dwan does indeed share this little anomaly--and I should add that I'm not sure that he does, because it could simply be a weird camera angle that is preventing view of the more proximal second line--he is in good company. It's just a weird little meaningless thing.

I really only worry about his intellect because of how he plays the Mighty Deuce-Four.

(BTW, this is the kind of post for which it is required that at least one reader submit a comment such as "Get a life!" or "You have too much free time on your hands" or "You need to get out more.")

Addendum, January 8, 2011

Now watching the Thursday installment of the show, I'm more confident that I was right. Here's an even better shot of Dwan's right palm:

There are a couple of shadow lines, but pretty clearly only one transverse palmar crease. We have us a simian poker player!


Anonymous said...

Single palmar creases are a fairly uncommon normal variant in addition to almost always being present on the palms of individuals afflicted with trisomy 21.

In a medical genetics class I took, the teacher took delight in talking about the palmar crease because in a classroom of 100 bright students, 100 hundred people would look at their palms and 1 or 2 of them would blush and quickly turn their hand over.

Local Rock said...

Henceforth, the most common search terms bringing people to your blog will now include Dwan + palms + chimpanzee.

NoLimitDoc said...


Anonymous said...

Talk about showing your hand....