2014 World Series of Poker

Dan Colman Wins WSOP Big One for One Drop for Over $15 Million

2014 World Series of PokerThe early hours of Wednesday morning saw Dan Colman add to the WSOP Big One for One Drop title to the $100K EPT Super High Roller title he won back in April. The win was worth over $15,000,000, and the heads-up specialist had beaten Daniel Negreanu into second place.

The final table of nine started briskly, with the first elimination, of Tom Hall, happening on the first hand. Both Hall and Katz, the next one out, were busted by Daniel Negreanu. Paul Newey was the next to hit the rail, busted by Salomon, and was followed pretty quickly by Scott Seiver. Seiver went down to an on-fire Negreanu, who also busted Tobias Reinkemeier four hands later. Next hand saw Colman bust Saloman, so you can see editing the highlights is going to be a very easy day for a lucky ESPN employee. You can read all of the action from the final table on the WSOP updates page.

But when I woke up this morning, all anyone was talking about was the fact Colman had declined to do any interviews following the event. While this stance is unusual, it’s not unique. However, from the backlash coming from some of the poker media you would have thought Colman had sacrificed a goat to the Lord Imhotep amongst the cards and chips on the feature table following his win.

There is nothing in any of the paperwork that Colman signed that required him to talk to the press, but he did say a few words on camera for the ESPN broadcast, as well as pose for a few quick photos in the “mothership” arena at the Rio. His actions may have not made the media present fall in love with the American Heads Up Specialist, and it may come back to bit him later in his career, but he was perfectly entitled to take the position he did. A local Las Vegas media outlet, whose name I refuse to use here, published an article that was aggressively against Colman’s decision to not give press interviews. Saying that Colman was “channelling a petulant child” the article also paraphrases one of Colman’s “handlers” as saying Colman had “no interest in promoting poker” which is a strange turn of phrase to use. Maybe it was Chinese whispers coming into play, and Colman’s message had been garbled in transmission, but we heard Colman’s short interview with ESPN had focussed on the work of the One Drop Foundation, and he wanted the focus to be on the charity work rather than him winning a poker tournament.

We found this out from a tweet emanating from Olivier Busquet, Colman’s mentor, backer and friend.

I have approached Busquet through Twitter to try and clarify this statement, but unfortunately I have yet to have a response. So it seems that rather than acting like a “petulant child,” Colman’s actions could be some of the classiest I’ve seen from a poker player in years. If only this message had been shared better with the media when their requests had been declined, his position might have been better reported. I think Colman may have been naive in taking this position, but it’s certainly his right to take this stance. I’m going to honour Colman’s apparent request, and talk about what in my mind should have been the star of the past few days, the One Drop Foundation:

Guy Laliberté, Founder of the One Drop Foundation

Guy Laliberté, Founder of the One Drop Foundation

One Drop is a non-profit, Non-Governmental Organisation(NGO) that was created by Guy Laliberté in 2007 with the aim to strive to ensure clean water is available to all. According to the site’s website, 800 Million people are without access to clean water, while a staggering 2.5 BILLION are without access to adequate sanitation. One Drop has projects ongoing around the globe, including Haiti, India and Honduras. The foundation aims to provide sustainable solutions to water based issues around the globe, and claims on it’s website to have impacted over 300,000 with it’s projects around the globe.

The One Drop Foundation offers a three-pronged approach to achieve its goals, and the strategy is called a “tripod approach” by the foundation. A technical avenue is designed to improve access to water around the globe, and promoting responsible water management and preservation.

The foundation also offers microfinancing, which grants loans to populations who already have reliable water supplies, in order for them to be able to start new enterprises which allow them to cover the running costs of the projects, making the self sustaining. The last leg of the “tripod” is the Arts and Education component to the mix. This is where the Big One for One Drop fits in, as this part of the mission is to raise awareness as well as educate people on both the foundation’s work, and the issues they are trying to overcome.

Because of the outcry over Colman’s decision, if his interview for ESPN was as Busquet has described, I will donate half of my earnings from this article to One Drop in support of both a great cause and a classy position that seems to have been taken out of context by my fellow media.

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