If you are a regular follower of the monthly PocketFives New Jersey Online Rankings, you may notice that the age group of those in the top-10 more or less meet a certain consensus. The general range spans from players in their late-20s to late-30s with the occasional outlier sprinkled in. The latest of those outliers is 23-year-old David ‘dehhhhh’ Coleman, who surged into the eighth place spot at the start of December and has since climbed to number six, as of publication.
Coleman graduated with a degree in finance from Rutgers University in New Brunswick in December 2014 with his eyes sight on working for a major bank. When he realized his lack of work experience would prevent him from achieving that goal in the immediate future, Coleman utilized his “mathematical brain” and started playing poker professionally.
If Coleman’s ascension up the New Jersey rankings comes as a surprise, it is because he did not start playing online tournaments on a consistent basis until this year. Online cash games were Coleman’s former bread and butter but the unique elements of tournament poker caused Coleman to make the shift.
“In all of 2015 and most of 2016, I didn’t play many online tournaments. During that time period, I put in a lot of volume playing online cash games, mostly on WSOP, where I had a lot of success. After playing almost solely online cash games for over a year and a half, I started getting a little bored of them. Tournament poker, on the other hand, excites me much more. Each decision you make in tournament poker is different than any other decision you’ve ever made, due to the varying stack sizes at the table, the stage of the tournament you’re in, the players at your table, etc.”
The transition has been a success to this point for Coleman with November marking his full arrival into the upper echelon of New Jersey’s tournament poker scene. Coleman won two events on PokerStarsNJ for a shade over $10,000 each with his current online earnings on the cusp of eclipsing $250,000.
Poker is an “enormous” part of Coleman’s life but he has been able to maintain a quality balance outside of the five days a week when he is playing. Coleman is able to do this by combining his love of sports with spending time with his family, which includes three brothers.
“When the weather is nice, I like to spend as much time outside as possible. I played a ton of sports in my life [and] still play basketball and soccer pickup games, which I enjoy a lot. I am currently in a men’s volleyball league which plays once a week. My dad and brother are both on the team which makes it a lot of fun. It’s important to me to spend as much time with my family as I can since we all still live in New Jersey,” said Coleman.
Coleman’s live experience hit a peak in 2016 when he made a few trips to the payout cage in various Borgata Poker Opens, including a near final table finish in a field of over 2,300 in the Summer Poker Open kickoff event.
Expanding his horizons farther beyond the shores of Atlantic City, Coleman says he plans to travel “around the world” to play live tournaments in 2017.
Since making tournaments his poker mainstay, Coleman’s success has given him plenty of reason to have high hopes for the new year. Before he gets too far ahead of himself, though, Coleman is setting moderate goals in order to keep his winning ways going at a sustainable rate.
“I would like to continue to see steady improvement in my game and keep putting in lots of volume online. I don’t have concrete numeric goals for 2017, you can’t be ‘results based’ as a poker player. As long as I’m playing to the best of my ability, steadily improving my game within my bankroll, I’ll live with the results.”