Just over two and a half years ago, Dan Colman stood on center stage at the World Series of Poker and posed in front of nearly $15 million in cash. Having won the second edition of the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop, Colman went from anonymous to poker famous with the literal turn of a card.
And then just as quickly he became one of poker’s biggest villains after turning down most post-tournament interviews, a normal part of the post-tournament routine for any bracelet winner. In the aftermath, a Las Vegas newspaper reporter even labeled Colman as a “petulant child”.
Colman, deep in Day 2 of the PokerStars Championship Bahamas $100,000 Super High Roller, regrets nothing about that day but thinks that if he won the tournament today, he might be willing to talk a little bit more, just not about what you might expect.
“My reaction wouldn’t be different. I wouldn’t celebrate, I wouldn’t want to talk about how great the feeling was because for some reason, I don’t feel that way,” said Colman. “So I’d do the same thing. I’d probably give interviews and talk about these feelings I have.”
Those feelings are part of the story that might have been most misunderstood at the time. Sure, $15 million is a massive amount of money, but the now 26-year-old enjoys playing poker because of the challenge it presents, not the money he can win or lose.
“I didn’t want to be somebody holding fists full of money, saying ‘Oh my god, this is the best day of my life’ because I enjoyed playing the poker there, but winning has always been a very low feeling for me for some reason,” said Colman. “I had played so much poker that day. It was the most fun I ever had playing poker, I loved the action of it all an then after it ends I had such an adrenaline dump, I just didn’t want to deal with anything. I wanted to get out of there.”
Colman also believes that the reaction to his decision to turn down interviews was blown out of proportion, partially because of who he beat heads up to win the bracelet and the money.
“I think it was overblown. I think the poker media wanted to make a story out of something that probably wasn’t that big of a deal. I think they were probably also hoping (Daniel) Negreanu had won,” Colman said.
This past summer Colman found himself in the media spotlight again thanks to a deep run in the WSOP Main Event, making it to Day 6 of the event before busting in 31st place. The chance that he could make the final table of poker’s most high profile event had ESPN producers and some media nervous, but Colman was talkative and friendly at the times, showing a side that left some observers surprised.
Colman can’t help but look back at that run as something special that he might not be able to reproduce any time soon. While the spotlight was nice, for Colman it was all about the chance to play poker at a high level.
“Going deep in the Main Event, each day racking up chips, every hand is just so important coming down the stretch, it was a great experience, but too bad I blew it by playing like an idiot,” said Colman. “Everybody talks about going deep in the Main Event and how great it is, it’s like no other tournament, but you don’t really understand that until you go deep in and it does feel special, 100%.”