Daniel Colman may not be the most beloved poker player in the world, but he’s certainly making a case for being one of the best, or at least one of the hottest, this year. And if there was any doubt as to just how good a 2014 he was having, Colman made it clear with his performance at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open (SHRPO) Main Event this week.
Colman battled through a tough final table and then dominated in heads up play to win the SHRPO Main Event, along with a $1,446,710 first prize. It marks the fourth time Colman has won a tournament score of at least $1 million this year.
Big One for One Drop Winner
For those that don’t remember, Colman was the winner of this year’s Big One for One Drop, the $1 million buy-in charity tournament held at the World Series of Poker (WSOP). Colman gained notoriety not just for winning the tournament and its $15.3 million first prize, but also for appearing to be unhappy (or, at least, uninterested) after winning. Later, he commented that he saw poker as “a very dark game” and wasn’t interested in promoting his victories or the game itself.
But that was far from the only noise he’s made on the tournament scene this year. At the European Poker Tour Grand Final in Monte Carlo this May, Colman won the Super High Roller event, worth more than $2.1 million in cash. He then cashed in second place at the EPT Barcelona Super High Roller last month, pocketing another $1.1 million.
In total, these victories have brought his career live tournament earnings to more than $21.5 million. Almost all of that has come in 2014, turning a formerly obscure pro into one of the biggest names in poker, and placing him third on the all-time live tournament money list.
Colman, Leah Heads Up Final Table
But while Colman may be making poker look effortless right now, his final table draw was anything but easy. With six players remaining, Colman was second in chips behind Mike Leah, another player who has been running very hot this year. Leah was looking for his fifth title of the year, while players like 2010 WSOP final table member John Dolan and former World Poker Tour winner Shawn Cunix were also in the mix.
Still, it always seemed like it would come down to the two chip leaders, and Colman and Leah ultimately met in heads up play. Colman started with a small chip lead, but managed to expand it to more than a 3-1 edge before the final hand. In the last pot, all the money went in before the flop with Colman holding AK against Leah’s QJ. A king hit on the river, earning Colman another major win.
Colman’s historic performance has drawn the kind of attention the Seminole Hard Rock wants for their tournaments, but the event has drawn some negative press as well. The tournament attracted 1,499 entries, which wasn’t enough to meet the event’s $10 million guarantee for its prize pool. That meant that the casino was forced to throw in about $2.5 million of its own money to cover the difference, creating a massive overlay for players.