Dan Colman, poker player and part-time political commentator, might divided opinion when he’s away from the felt, but when it came to naming 2014’s Player of the Year he was the only pro in the running.
Owing to his disassociation with the poker media and some controversial political opinions regarding the Israel/ Palestine conflict, it would appear that Colman was intent on doing everything in his power not to be named the game’s POY.
Unfortunately, with $22,389,481 in live earnings last year, it was a little hard for poker’s top ranking systems not to honor Colman as their 2014 POY.
Among the accolades lavished on the divisive American were the Card Player and Bluff Player of the Year titles.
In relation to the former, Colman’s nine final tables helped earned him 5,498 Card Player POY Points.
That haul was enough to put him ahead of Ami Barer whose seven final tables, as well as an outright win in Aussie Millions Main Event, netted him 5,042 points.
Interestingly, although Colman’s and Barer’s scores were relatively close, their overall winnings were poles apart. Thanks to his victory in the WSOP’s $1 Million Big One for One Drop, Colman earned a staggering $15,306,668 which allowed him to end the year more than $20,000,000 better off than his closest rival.
On top of scooping Card Player’s MTT title, Colman also emerged as the top dog in Bluff’s Player of the Year race. Judged using a slightly different criteria to Card Player’s, the Bluff rankings had Colman pitched just ahead of Mike Leah (1,149.64 points) and Dan Smith (949.35 points) with 1,447,70 points.
Finally, thanks to continued success at the felt throughout 2014, Colman was also able to top the Global Poker Index’s (GPI) 2014 leaderboard. Despite being judged on a completely different formula to the aforementioned systems, Colman was able to edge his way past Dan Smith in November and cement his place in poker history by ending the year with 4141.91 points.
That score was enough to put Colman ahead of Ole Schemion (4,125.39) and Davidi Kitai (4,125.39).
Although Colman was able to top the industry’s three leading POY tables, the distribution of results among the lower ranked players raises questions over the usefulness of each system.
While all three outlets will argue that their formula is the most accurate, the fact that all three have different players ranked second and third is cause for some concern.
The casual spectator in any established sport can, usually, rely on a single ranking system to tell them who the best participants are. However, with three competing outlets all vying for dominance in the poker market, the landscape is a lot less clear for the casual observer.
Of course, there is an argument for diversity in the game, not least because success in poker isn’t as quantifiable as it is in other sports. However, it could also be argued that having three ranking systems dilutes the legitimacy of both the rankings and the accomplishments of the players.
Thanks to Dan Colman’s barnstorming performances in 2014, the issue isn’t as pronounced as it could have been. However, if three different “Player of the Year” champions are named at the close of 2015, it could cause more industry insiders to question how we recognize success in poker.