The most important poker tournament of the year, traditionally, has always been the World Series of Poker Main Event. But in recent years, a new tournament has taken its place as the most lucrative event with the biggest prize pool. It’s the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop, the charity tournament that attracts the best pros and some of the richest amateur players around. The first One Drop tournament was held in 2012, and the follow-up this year once again generated the biggest purse of the poker year.
42 players turned out for the 2014 Big One for One Drop, and 23-year-old poker pro Daniel Colman walked away with a life-changing prize of just over $15.3 million along with his first WSOP bracelet. The massive win immediately vaulted Colman to sixth all-time in the Hendon Mob tournament poker earnings list, with more than $18.2 million in career winnings.
While the first One Drop tournament was roughly evenly split between high-rolling pros and ultra-rich amateurs, this year’s version was more heavily tilted in favor of career poker players. There were about 30 professionals among the 42 entrants, and ultimately, the battle for the top spot came down to two full-time poker players.
Colman Beats Legend for Title
But that confrontation may not have gone the way most casual poker fans would expect. It saw Colman go up against one of the true legends of the game in Daniel Negreanu, the six-time bracelet winner from Canada, who is among the most recognizable faces in poker. Still, while Negreanu entered their heads-up clash with a slight chip lead, he knew he could well lose the confrontation.
“In heads-up, he’s one of the best in the world,” Negreanu said of Colman. “He’s going to win a lot more of these.”
Negreanu did end up bowing out in second place, but the near-miss was still historic for the poker legend. The nearly $8.3 million he collected vaulted him to first place on the all-time tournament poker money list, passing 2012 One Drop winner Antonio Esfandiari. Negreanu now has close to $29.8 million in lifetime winnings.
Winner Has Negative Feelings Toward Poker
Unusually for a major tournament, Colman didn’t do the typical winner interviews and other post-game publicity that poker fans are accustomed to. While it wasn’t immediately clear why Colman was stepping away from the attention and acclaim usually given to tournament winners, he later clarified his feelings on the TwoPlusTwo forums.
“I don’t owe poker a single thing,” Colman wrote under the “mrgr33n13” screen name. “I’ve been fortunate enough to benefit financially from this game, but I have played it long enough to see the ugly side of this world.”
Colman went on to say that he wouldn’t recommend the life of a poker pro to anyone, and that he wasn’t sure the game should be promoted in general.
“It bothers me that people care so much about poker’s well being,” he wrote. “As poker is a game that has such a net negative effect on the people playing it. Both financially and emotionally.”
Colman admitted that his feelings for poker are complicated.
“I capitalize off this game that targets people’s weaknesses,” he wrote. “I do enjoy it, I love the strategy part of it, but I do see it as a very dark game.”