Daniel Colman Is the Bill Belichick of Poker, and That’s a Good Thing

billHaving now seen Daniel Colman’s reaction after winning the $1,000,000 buy-in Big One for One Drop tournament (instead of relying on eyewitness accounts) my feelings on his decision to basically shun the press remain the same: He can choose to speak to whomever he pleases, and the media needs to get over the fact they didn’t get precisely what they wanted from the One Drop winner.

In the wake of “Snub-Gate“, people were concerned that his melancholy reaction  and refusal of interviews would somehow harm poker, or that his actions would somehow ruin the story. So much so that the Las Vegas Sun called him a petulant child.

Colman attempted to explain his actions in a post on 2+2, and ever since his actions have been parsed, debated, and countered. Most people find his decision abhorrent, but in the grand scheme of things its insignificant, and the reaction to his reaction has borne this out.

Frankly I don’t think these people see the big picture. Considering the brouhaha that occurred when it happened, I had a sneaky suspicion that Colman may have unwittingly done a great thing for poker.

And what ended up happening proves this, as his reaction to winning has gone semi-viral.

Talk about your all-time backfires

Oddly enough, Colman’s uneasiness about promoting poker actually promoted poker more than if he had just followed the Standard Operating Procedure and smiled away while spouting off clichés for everyone with a microphone.

Which seems to be what everyone wanted him to do. But Colman did the opposite of what was expected of him, and for this he was vilified, even before he explained why.

In my opinion, the 2014 Big One for One Drop actually needed this to happen. The tournament was a shell of the 2012 version, with less players, less novelty, and far less buzz. There weren’t any record-setting prizes awarded.

Had Daniel Colman not caused his trivial controversy, the 2014 Big One for One Drop would have been for all intents and purposes, just another tournament. In fact, considering the drop in attendance, and in prestige the tournament suffered from, we may not see the Big One for One Drop run again in 2016, and if we do, if the WSOP and One Drop decide to bring it back, part of the reason is likely to be the buzz created by one Daniel Colman.

In one of the oddest twists of fate, Daniel Colman’s post-win reaction and behavior (and the AA vs. AA hand that went viral) may have saved The Big One for One Drop from the poker tournament scrap heap. It has created an interest around the tournament from the mainstream press and the world of viral news that the tournament itself was unable to do.

It takes all kinds

So why does Colman’s reaction resonate?

Some people watch professional wrestling to root for the good guys, some for the heels. Some people watch sports to root on their favorite team and player, others to root against people and teams that they have whimsically chosen to dislike.

The same should and does hold true in poker. Some want to watch Daniel Negreanu laugh and joke, some tune in to see if Mike Matusow or Phil Hellmuth will fly off the handle. Some people enjoy Tony G’s antics, others hate it.

So here, in Daniel Colman, we have a new dimension to add to the mix, the conflicted superstar. People may now tune in to watch poker to see if Colman talks to the media or shuns them again, or to see if he turns his online rant against the game into what would have been a very uncomfortable post-win interview.

Colman is our Bobby Fischer, our Ted Williams, actually the best analogy is he is our Bill Belichick.

Think about that for a moment.

Why do people tune in to Bill Belichick’s press conferences? It’s not because he’s liable to go off the rails or drop some kind of intense football knowledge, it’s because he makes the press conference so uncomfortable it’s actually funny.

If you hate him you get to hate him even more, “just answer the question you uptight A-hole!” And if you love him you get to say, “Bill’s giving it to the media again!”

And now we have “Colman sticking it to the media again!” Or, “Ugh, I hope this kid’s Aces get cracked!”

Either way, people will tune in.

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