When Daniel Colman won $15.3 million by taking down the Big One for One Drop at the World Series of Poker, he didn’t engage in the traditional post-victory bluster or interviews we’ve come to expect from poker’s winners. Some found it refreshing, others respected Colman’s decision, and a few even found it insulting. But it wasn’t immediately clear why Colman decided to take such an unusual path.
Now, we may have an answer. In a frank post on the TwoPlusTwo forums, Colman (posting under his screen name of “mrgr33n13”), explained that he has some rather negative views on the game of poker, and that he’s certainly not about to promote it to others.
“First off, I don’t owe poker a single thing,” Colman wrote. “I’ve been fortunate enough to benefit financially from the game, but I have played it long enough to see the ugly side of this world.”
As anyone who has played poker seriously can attest to, Colman pointed out that making a living by playing a game with such high variance is “insanely stressful,” and he said he would “never in a million years” recommend that someone try to go pro in poker.
That would hardly be a groundbreaking stance, even amongst many in the poker community. But Colman went further, saying that even the very nature of the game itself is problematic.
“It is also not a game where the amateurs are always happy to be losing their money for the sake of entertainment,” he wrote. “The losers lose way more money at this game than winners are winning. A lot of this is money they can’t afford to lose.”
Colman went on to explain that he felt that many people were targeted to start gambling by advertising designed to “play on people’s impulses,” which he sees as unethical.
“I get it if someone wants to go and play poker on their own free will, but I don’t agree with gambling being advertised just like I don’t agree with cigarettes and alcohol being advertised,” Colman wrote.
Colman also rejected the idea that promotion had to be done for the good of the game.
“It bothers me that people care so much about poker’s well-being,” he continued. “As poker is a game that has such a net negative effect on the people playing it. Both financially and emotionally.”
He went on to talk about how he feels “that individual achievements should rarely be celebrated,” explaining that he feels no reason to promote himself just to earn more money or fame. But despite all of these statements, Colman admitted that he still finds things to enjoy about poker.
“Yes, I realize I am conflicted,” he wrote. “I capitalize off this game that targets people s weaknesses. I do enjoy it, I love the strategy part of it, but I do see it as a very dark game.”
Colman defeated Canadian poker pro Daniel Negreanu in heads-up play to win the title. The tournament also raised more than $4.6 million for the One Drop charity, which raises money to improve water access around the world.