Big One Champ Dan Colman: Idealistic or Idiot?

If Joe Hachem thought that young poker pros weren’t doing enough to promote the game, then he must really be fuming at Dan Colman. The 24-year-old poker player recently won the 2014 WSOP Big One for One Drop along with $15,306,668.

After his victory, Colman refused to do the usual winner’s interviews and needed some convincing before he was willing to take some pictures. Even then, he wasn’t going to smile for the photos, almost like a 5-year-old kid whose mom insists that they take a family photo. Everything up to this point had the poker world asking, “What’s wrong with this guy?”

Well, according to a TwoPlusTwo post, Colman essentially believes that poker, and gambling in general, can lead to misery for recreational players. Furthermore, he doesn’t believe in expressing individual accomplishments such as winning the biggest poker prize of 2014.

There are some valid points mixed in this letter, but perhaps they’d be best expressed by an anti-gambling activist – not some fresh-faced poker pro who just collected $15.3 million from a tournament and has made a very good living from the game. The whole thing reeks of the ole’ I’m-in-college-attaining-higher-learning-so-I-know-everything attitude.

One of the opening statements of Colman’s post is “I have played it (poker) long enough to see the ugly side of this world.” Ignoring the fact that Colman is just 24, let’s switch to a much more-experienced player in Daniel Negreanu. The 39-year-old finished second to Colman in the Big One for One Drop and issued a response at his Full Contact Poker blog.

Negreanu doesn’t have a scathing opinion of Colman as I or some other writers do. In fact, he finds “nobility” in the young player’s ideals and agrees with the sentiment that most people will be losers in poker. However, Negreanu also explains that there are millions who strive to be a professional golfer, NBA basketball player, hockey professional or an NFL football player – only to fail in their pursuit. The entire post is really good, but I’ll leave you with one great excerpt:

Poker, and more specifically poker tournaments are a competition no different than any other competition. The cream rise to the top, make the most money, and the vast majority whether its pool, tennis, basketball, golf, the restaurant business, etc. fail. Capitalism as a system allows people to strive for big success in whatever career they choose.

Daniel opened his statement with “I don’t owe poker anything.” No, I guess not, but I would look at it differently Daniel: GRATITUDE! Being thankful that you found a game you both love to play and are also good enough so that you can make a life for yourself. You don’t owe poker anything, sure, but poker has given you a lot. The camera crew filming the event, the dealers, floor staff, Caesars, the WSOP, ESPN, for giving you an opportunity to support yourself, the players that came before you and did spend time promoting a game you would have likely never heard about. You don’t owe poker, or me personally anything, much like when a waitress brings your order, you don’t owe her a tip or even a thank you. It’s just a gracious custom, much like doing a winners interview…

I applaud Daniel for wanting to live his life with a higher consciousness and looking more deeply at the bigger picture. I support that, and his right to decline interviews 100%. I also think people are being too harsh on him. He is young, and I’m not saying that in a condescending manner, just at the age of 24 life is just beginning, your views on the world, the questions you have, are just starting to form. I’m not the same person I was when I was 24, and I certainly don’t hold the same views I did when I was 24.

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