Dan Colman video interview: ‘Poker is a beautiful game. Everything matches up perfectly”

In a single year, poker prodigy Dan Colman won $22.4 million in live tournaments and four major titles – aged just 23. He rarely gives interviews, so Paul Phua is delighted to introduce this latest video

The latest video interview for the Paul Phua Poker School is with Daniel Colman, who has one of the most extraordinary rise-to-riches stories in all of poker. He was talent-spotted as a teenager by poker pro Olivier Busquet, after Colman kept calling out his hands while watching him play online. In 2013, Dan Colman became the first online hyper-turbo player to win more than $1 million in a year – what’s more, he managed it in just nine months.

“I don’t see poker as being a sustainable source of income a few years down the road,” Dan said modestly in an interview at the time. It must be one of the only times in his poker career that Dan has been very, very wrong!
The very next year, Dan Colman won the $1m-entry Big One for One Drop tournament, besting Daniel Negreanu heads-up at the end, to win $15.3 million and his first WSOP bracelet. He was just 22 years old.
As if to prove this was no fluke, that year Dan Colman also won the EPT Super High Roller in Monte Carlo for $1.5m; the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event for $1.4m (beating 1,500 players); and the WPT Alpha8 Main Event in London for $950,000; as well as making numerous other final tables. He was named Player of the Year 2014 by Bluff, Card Player and All In magazines.

Drawn to the dark side

Unusually for a player so thrust into the limelight, Dan Colman turned down pretty much every interview request (which makes me extra-excited he agreed to do video interviews with the Paul Phua Poker School). He posted a very thoughtful explanation for this online. He said that though he loves playing poker, he doesn’t like the fact that for him to win, someone else must lose a large sum of money.
I am conflicted,” he wrote. “I capitalise off this game that targets people’s weaknesses. I do enjoy it, I love the strategy part of it, but I do see it as a very dark game.”
He still loves to play. “It is a beautiful game when you think about it,” he says in this new video interview with the Paul Phua Poker School. “Just everything matches up perfectly where there are straights, flushes, what beats what.”
But he also still cautions players to be careful with their money. In my previous video interview with Dan Colman, he warned of the dangers of online poker for recreational players. And in this new video profile, he admits that he himself lost money for his first five years of playing – which may give hope to anyone still struggling to master the game!
“I had poor poker bankroll management,” he admits in the interview, and he went boom-and-bust several times before hitting his stride. [Discover my tips on bankroll management here.]

A DIY style of poker

The other interesting thing about Dan Colman is that he is mostly self-taught – with a helping hand from mentors such as Oliver Busquet. Phil Ivey recently said in our video interview that players nowadays have it easier: he learned by trial and error because there was less advice out there on strategy than there is now. Dan went down the same route, but in his case by choice rather than from necessity.
Even now, as Dan says in our video interview, “I’m definitely a field player. I don’t use much math, game theory. I’m very intuitive but, that being said, the guys that are very math based, game theory orientated, I always want to pay attention to what they are doing and try and understand the reasoning behind it.”
Whatever Dan Colman is doing, it’s working. He’s made another $2m-plus in live tournament earnings just this year alone. He’s also one of the nicest, brightest and most articulate people one could meet.
And he is still only 26 years old!
More videos from the poker pros will be going live weekly on the Paul Phua Poker YouTube channel. Subscribe if you don’t want to miss out. It’s free!