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Five Thoughts: One Drop Winner Colman Declines Media, Ivey Wins Number 10, and More

Daniel Colman won the World Series of Poker $1 Million BIG ONE for ONE DROP on Tuesday, defeating Daniel Negreanu heads up to win $15,306,668 for himself and his investors, namely Haralabos Voulgaris.

Unlike in 2012, when Antonio Esfandiari won the inaugural One Drop event and over $18 million, there were no celebrations. Colman didn’t crowd surf among his peers. He didn’t stand upon the table barefoot with bricks of cash in his hand. He didn’t even hold up the winning hand – {k-Diamonds}{q-Hearts} – for our world-class photographer Joe Giron to capture. Instead he offered a polite, yet awkward, comment about raising $4,666,662 for the One Drop Foundation then rushed out of the Amazon Room.

He returned shortly thereafter to take a few brief pictures with the pyramid of money constructed in front of the final table, but he didn’t look too pleased to be there.

The photo is perfect. In the background you can see Negreanu talking with the media, which very few (if any) runner-up finishers ever do. Kid Poker also did a video with our own Sarah Grant. Of course he has a few million reasons to celebrate – he officially earned $8,288,001 and told our own Remko Rinkema that he had 44 percent of his action after swaps – and he is now the leader of the all-time money list.

Tuesday night should’ve been a celebration. Colman, known to many by his online handle “mrgr33n13,” locked up his second seven-figure score of 2014 – he won the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final High Roller a little over a month ago – and officially won the second-largest prize in the history of poker. Instead, for right or for wrong, the focus shifted away from his great successes because he chose to ignore the media.

Colman doesn’t owe the media anything and has every right to do whatever he pleases once the tournament is over, and we don’t expect every bracelet winner to actively promote the game like Negreanu, but what he did was extremely hypocritical based upon past actions at the table. His alleged reasoning is also a bit off, although his thought process is said to be "profound."

In the end, all of the backlash he is currently receiving could’ve been avoided with a few short sentences and a photo or two. Simple as that — but he chose different.

1. ONE DROP Winner is Not Impressed

After the tournament was over, some of my colleagues and I spoke with Negreanu after he late registered the $10,000 Stud Championship. He said he spoke to Colman about his apparent media boycott, and according to Negreanu, Colman doesn’t want to promote poker because “most people lose.” He is morally conflicted by doing so, despite the fact that he just beat out 42 people who either put up a full million dollars or raised money from several members in the community in order to post the entire seven-figure buy-in.

If that is truly how you feel, Daniel, if you sincerely feel that there is something morally wrong with promoting poker because people will lose money, then wash your hands clean of sin. Donate all of your profit from this tournament to the One Drop Foundation or, even better, Gamblers Anonymous, and proudly wave your anti-poker flag for all to see. I also encourage you to transfer back the money you won off of people in heads-up sit-and-gos.

Colman also had a fantastic opportunity to broadcast his views for the entire world to see and hear when Kara Scott stuck an ESPN microphone in his grill. All he had to say is “poker is evil, and if you play you are likely to lose.” That would’ve made several headlines even if ESPN left the interview on the cutting room floor.

Just imagine what would’ve happened on Twitter if he spoke those profound words. The reach of his message is immeasurable.

If Colman doesn’t really think promoting poker is evil – he seems far too bright to actually subscribe to this line of thinking – then just give short answers and be on with it. You can even lie to us for kicks and grins like Jonathan Jaffe the “dolphin trainer” or Benny Chen the “restaurant worker turned millionaire.” Tickle us pink with tall tales, I beg you.

Several poker players defended Colman’s choice, including his heads-up sit-and-go mentor Olivier Busquet and 2012 WSOP Main Event champion Greg Merson:

Greg MersonTo many people hating on Colman for not doing interviews after. I do think he will regret that decision slightly as he gets older though.

Olivier Busquet@RichTRyan it's just not his style, I'm not advocating his approach, but I'll defend his right to take it

Busquet added that Colman will head to Africa to promote the charity, which is quite noble.

Olivier Busquet@dalaei Def agree it's awkward, fyi he's gonna go to Africa and promote the charity

Nobody is asking Colman to be Busquet or Merson, who are both fantastic with the media and never afraid to speak their minds. All we’re asking for is for something like what Tony Gregg did after winning the One Drop High Roller last year. Gregg, who is extremely soft-spoken and was already registered in a $25,000 buy-in event taking place in an adjacent section of the Amazon Room, answered a few brief questions, smiled for a handful of photos, then was on his way. He didn’t go out of his way to promote the game in any way; he simply handled his business with class and respect.

There were also these tweets from Corey Burbick about Colman’s attitude during the 2013 WSOP Main Event last summer:

corey burbick@stealthmunk last year colman was at my main event starting table and went on a rant how the game desperately needs him as its champion

corey burbick@stealthmunk im a bit surprised he would shower interviews and shit after the rant he gave to our table seemed like he wanted it all bad.

Being the joker he is, I contacted Burbick to make sure he was being sincere. He was, and added that Colman “bragged for a full day just last year about how he can’t wait for all this.”

I’ve always argued that people can change, so there is a distinct possibility that Colman is a completely different person 12 months later and had a legitimate, profound revelation. However, I can only judge based upon what I know, and thanks to his unwillingness to say anything to anyone, I don’t know what Colman thinks.

There’s also the winner’s photo he took at the Grand Final less than two months ago:

I don’t remember hearing anything about a media boycott then.

None of this would even be a story if Colman offered a few brief words, just a sentence or two, but instead he remained silent and now mainstream media outlets are describing him as a “petulant child.” That approach from the Las Vegas Sun is very aggressive, but Colman didn't help himself by walking away silently.

After speaking with a fellow member of the media, I know that Colman may reach out to me in some way or form after reading this to defend himself. There is no need. You had an opportunity to say whatever you needed to when the entire poker world was watching you, but instead you chose to remain mute and pose in front of a mountain of money with a sour face.

2. Phil Ivey Wins Number 10

Just when you thought it was time to question Phil Ivey – I certainly did because he was dragging our $25K Fantasy team through the mud – he goes and wins his 10th WSOP gold bracelet. He joined Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, and Johnny Chan in the double-digit bracelet club.

Ivey took down Event #50: $1,500 Eight-Game Mix, defeating Bruce Yamron heads up to earn $167,332. He certainly won more money than that in bracelet bets, however, as he and Negreanu took several even-money bets on just one of them winning a single bracelet in Las Vegas. At the $25K Fantasy draft, Negreanu told PokerNews Podcast cohost Jason Somerville that they had booked $300,000 in action and that Ivey had two-thirds of it.

Ivey also is rumored to have cashed in on a big three-year bracelet bet.

The two are likely to have booked more action since then — especially Ivey, who is always looking for extra action. In fact, a prominent player messaged me on the night of the victory to say that Ivey’s action was north of $500,000. He also said that Negreanu was in for around $400,000.

Once again, Ivey’s WSOP win comes in a non-hold’em event. Like the antithesis of Hellmuth before his razz victory over Don Zewin, Ivey can’t seem to capture gold in the Cadillac of poker. Whether it be the big fields, the relatively small buy-ins, or a lack of concentration that comes with both scenarios, he can’t get on the ride side of variance in no-limit hold’em events during the WSOP.

OK, he did make the Main Event final table in 2009. Maybe that’s all the good fortune he’s allowed to have in no-limit tournaments at the Rio.

The 485-player field in Event #50 was the largest Ivey has overcome to win a bracelet. Chan and Brunson have never defeated a field that big at the WSOP, but Hellmuth certainly has:

PlayerBraceletsLargest Field Overcome
Phil Hellmuth132,628
Phil Ivey10485
Johnny Chan10425
Doyle Brunson10301

Ivey was positively giddy after the win, and even grabbed the microphone from Remko at the end of his winner’s interview to give his opinion on the #IveyStories series:

He was equally chatty during the $1 Million BIG ONE for ONE DROP. For some awesome Ivey quotes, check out our Day 1 coverage.

3. The Dealer’s Choice is a Huge Success

The first time I ever played poker was at my friend Tim’s house in the mid 2000’s. We busted out an old school, cheap plastic chip set and a deck of bicycle cards from the nearby gas station and played a three-handed cash game. Like most casual poker games we played dealer’s choice, and the most popular game was follow the queen.

If you’ve never played follow the queen, it’s a very silly game with plenty of wild cards. We play with a hi-lo split variety (the high spade in the hole automatically wins half of the pot) and if the suicide king ({k-Hearts}) gets dealt face up, all of the players who have not folded must re-ante and play another pot. Those who have already folded won’t have a chance to win the overly bloated pot.

The WSOP isn’t going to introduce wild cards anytime soon, but this year they took a gamble and introduced a dealer’s choice event of their own. Using 16 approved games – some of which have never appeared at the WSOP like badeucey or badacey, others that have been absent for decades like ace-to-five or five-card draw – the WSOP put on a $1,500 buy-in event, and it was a huge success.

“This is the most fun I’ve had playing a poker tournament since my first Main Event six years ago,” Bryce Yockeytold PokerNews on a break during the event. “Everyone’s having a good time, it’s social, everyone’s enjoying it.”

One of the biggest fears entering the event was the daunting task of staffing enough dealers who know all of the games and can keep the tables going efficiently, but the players quickly realized that the event was in good hands.

“I thought it was going to be this crazy thing, and the dealers are actually pretty good,” said Allen Kessler.

Justin Young added, “The dealers honestly have been awesome, and the ones that aren’t super confident are receptive to, I wouldn’t say criticism, but at least instruction.”

With 16 plaques at each table, and players who are quick to criticize and nitpick, the WSOP staff notched a flawless victory. Congratulations to Robert Mizrachi for winning the event and locking up his second career bracelet, and to Jack Effel, Ty Stewart et al for having the courage to and executing the event flawlessly.

The next step is to run two dealer’s choice events in 2015 – one of the $1,500 variety, and the other of a $10,000 championship variety.

4. 25K Fantasy Update

With Ivey’s victory and Stephen Chidwick’s fifth-place finish in the same event, it looked like we were going to make a real run at perhaps making the money. Unfortunately for us, the event was only a $1,500 buy-in, and we’re still on the outside looking in.

25K Standings

RankTeamPoints
1Team Brunson663
2Team Gypsy660
3Team Waxman611
4Team Gorodinsky558
5Team Mercier401
6Team Mizrachi399
7Team Negreanu387
8Team Media341
9Team Kroko-Ushan337
10Team Fleyshman291
11Team Martin270
12Team Steven218

With his runner-up finish in the BIG ONE for ONE DROP, Negreanu now has 238 points, but he and everybody else trail George Danzer (288). In fact, Negreanu is the only player within 100 points of his fellow Team PokerStars Pro. Calvin Anderson, who is on Team Gypsy with Danzer, is in third place with 180 points.

Top 10 Players

RankPlayerTeamPointsDraft Price
1George DanzerGypsy28840
2Daniel NegreanuBrunson23886
3Calvin AndersonGypsy18061
4John RacenerFleyshman17216
5Justin BonomoGorodinsky16823
6John HenniganWaxman16825
7Brock ParkerNegreanu14932
8Brian HastingsMercier13324
9Josh AriehWaxman1322
10Nick SchulmanBrunson12954

The best performer on Team Media is Chris George, who has 83 points and went for $10 in the draft.

There are still a few $10,000 buy-in events left, giving us a few opportunities for double-point bonuses, and there is also the biggest golden ticket of them all; the Main Event. Deep runs in the granddaddy of them all can produce big results, and I am still confident that we have the best no-limit hold’em group of the bunch.

5. The Poker World Says Goodbye to Strassmann and Brown

Over the past week, we lost two extremely kind souls in Chad Brown and Johannes Strassmann. This is the fifth and final thought this week --not because I think it is the least important, but because I feel incredibly under qualified to eulogize these two outstanding individuals.

I interacted with Strassmann on fewer occasions than I did Brown, but both individuals were strikingly similar. They were both always smiling and always friendly - and not because they saw media members floating around either. They genuinely cared about the random individuals they were seated with in these poker tournaments, and that attitude isn’t commonly replicated in our game.

Many more credible people have written about these sad losses – Brad Willis penned an excellent piece about Brown for PokerStars Blog - but one of my favorites came from Griffin Benger. The Canadian writes:

“I knew him for just one day, and he was one of the most memorable people I’ve ever come across. I can’t even imagine the positive impact he’s had on people that knew him better, and how devastating this loss must be for them.”

May both of you rest in eternal peace.

The opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author and not necessarily shared by PokerNews.

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