Dating Magic king is not so enchanting

When one journalist dated the king of Magic, she was not impressed. Now his fans are not impressed with her.


Lauren Rae Orsini


Published Aug 30, 2011   Updated Jun 3, 2021, 3:04 am CDT

Jon Finkel isn’t just a nerd. He’s King Nerd. Whether you know him as “Jonny Magic” or “The Machine,” his name is more likely to be breathlessly purred by geek girl groupies than not.

That is — if they’re fans of the collectible card game, Magic: The Gathering. As the 2000 Magic World Champion, Finkel is something of a celebrity among Magic players.

However, not every girl is gaga for an unbreakable Metalworker deck.

For example, take Gizmodo writer Alyssa Bereznak. Not only was she unimpressed with Finkel’s Magic er… magic, she was downright turned off. She found Finkel’s world record to be the ultimate dealbreaker. After meeting Finkel on OKCupid, she went on two dates with him that went so poorly that she felt obligated to blog about it.

Bereznak accepted a date invitation from Finkel because “he seemed normal,” she wrote. However, when she found out about his undisclosed geeky hobby, she was put off. To say the least.

“Just like you’re obligated to mention you’re divorced or have a kid in your online profile, shouldn’t someone also be required to disclose any indisputably geeky world championship titles?” she asked.

The article, which got half a million hits and counting, received an overwhelmingly poor reception from Gizmodo’s geeky audience. Bereznak suggested Googling dates beforehand to find out if they’re nerdy. Several thousand commenters advised Bereznak’s future dates to do the same.

“Good luck with your next date. I hope to hell he Googles you,” said one commenter. Others were less kind.

Meanwhile, Finkel’s dating card should be full for some time. When a Redditor asked how many requests he’d gotten, Finkel couldn’t even count.

“If you include twitter messages from other continents saying ‘Id date you’, then a lot,” he said.

Neither Bereznak nor Finkel have been available for comment — so far.

But he’s not out of touch. He’s tweeted about it and on Tuesday morning was answering questions through his IAmA on Reddit.

Initial questions included those about whether he thinks he was taken advantage of by a journalist (“I don’t think she was farming for content”), how he felt after reading the article (“I felt a little, I dunno, violated”) and whether he and Bereznak have been in touch since (“Nope.”)

Several Redditors have applauded the way Finkel is dealing with the situation.

“This girl goes on one date and blogs about it, trying to cut you and your hobbies down. And here in your IAmA, I have not seen you write a single mean/spiteful comment about her. You have tact,” wrote Biscegnm.

Finkel also used his Twitter account to tell his side of the story.

“It’s really not that easy to say “I used to be World Champion…” without sounding like a pompous ass,” he wrote, defending the reason for not putting his Magic track record on his OK Cupid profile.

Bereznak, of course, also tweeted.

“dudes, i don’t think it’s bad to be a dweeb,” she wrote. “i just dont want to date someone i can’t relate to. not an attack. more a cautionary tale.”

For whom, remains the question. We’ll keep you posted.

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*First Published: Aug 30, 2011, 1:46 pm CDT