It’s been a good year at the World Series of Poker for new crop of young, high stakes internet professionals. Jason Mo, Doug Polk, Dominik Nitsche… now, the latest guy you’ve never heard of to have put the live poker world on notice is Dan “MRGR33N13” Colman.
And boy has he ever.
Colman has appeared just about out of nowhere to win the Big One for One Drop, the highest buy-in event in the entirety of poker. His heads-up opponent? None other than Daniel Negreanu. Colman was a complete unknown in the world of live poker prior to 2014, his biggest cash being a measly $69,787 in the 2011 Bellagio Cup. In April this year, he exploded onto the scene by winning over $2 million at the EPT Season X Monte Carlo Grand Final. He then showed up in the $10,000 Heads Up event at the WSOP and came 3rd, for a six-figure score… and now this.
Negreanu was happy to give an interview after the event and discuss the fact that his second-place finish is enough to put him ahead of Antonio Esfandiari atop the all-time money list. Colman, conversely, seems to shun fame, quickly exiting the casino before any journalists could approach him.
There’s a good reason he doesn’t want the world to know much about him: his primary source of poker income has, until just now, been grinding hyper-turbo heads-up sit-and-gos on PokerStars. Although favoured by modern internet professionals because of the volume of play they make possible, heads-up hyper-turbos can offer only the slightest of edges, so it’s vital to find weak players to play against. Colman justifiably fears that having his name and screen name publicized would dry up his action.
Just how profitable is Colman online? Last year, he became the first hyper-turbo player in history to turn over $1 million in profit in a single calendar year… and he’d done so by August. He was taught the game by Olivier Busquet, who he’d been railling online back in 2007. Busquet saw Colman calling out his hands in the chat box and was impressed by his accuracy. Recognizing his potential, Busquet took Colman under his wing and staked him, starting him down the road to high-stakes play which has now led him to his platinum bracelet.
Colman’s win over the star-studded One Drop field really drives home an uncomfortable point that many would rather overlook, that poker celebrity might start to become a thing of the past. The online poker world is largely anonymous and evolves much more quickly than the live game. Although the top online players are usually too busy making their millions digitally to play much live, the high roller events can tempt them out of hiding. That means that these days, once there’s enough money in play, you never really know who the greatest threat at the table is.