Hand of the Week: Colman Meets His Main Event Bogeyman


For a long time the winner of the 2014 Big One for One Drop, Dan Colman, was one of the top stacks in the 2016 WSOP Main Event.

On Day 5 he was even temporarily in the chip lead.

On Day 6, however, a Spanish amateur became his bogeyman and erased Colman’s tournament life within minutes.

This hand shows you how fast things can go downhill in a poker tournament.

Flop to River

Actually, we’re looking at two hands this week. There's history to the hand in question today.

A little earlier Colman – with more than $26 million in career winnings – and Fernando Pons - $11k in winnings – had already clashed.

In the earlier hand, Colman had pocket nines and Pons bluffed him out of the hand with Q-T on a 8-8-J-K board. Colman had a hunch, but there was nothing he could do.

You can see this hand at 18:30 in the video below.

Colman lost a third of his stack and fell to 27 big blinds. Only minutes later, with blinds 80,000/160,000/20,000, Colman (4.2 million chips) raises UTG to 360,000 and Pons (18 million chips) calls from the hijack.

That gives us 1.12 million chips in the pot with effective stacks of 3.8 million chips. The flop is       Both players check and the turn is the 3

Colman checks again, Pons bets 350,000 and Colman check-raises all-in with 3.8 million. Pons gives it a quick thought and calls with    

Pons has the winning hand. After the Q on the river Colman has to hand the rest of his chips over. He finished in 31st place for about $200,000; Pons later, of course, goes through to the November Nine.

Hand Analysis

Dan Colman plays this hand rather unconventionally, which leaves us with a couple of questions. Let’s see if we can answer them.

2016 WSOP Dan Colman

As mentioned above Pons had just beaten Colman to a pot of 4.5 million with a semi-bluff on the turn, which left Colman in the danger zone below 30 bb.

However, a small stack doesn’t stop world-class players like Colman from attacking. This is the main reason why we can’t fault him for raising from early position with a mediocre hand.

He’s representing a strong range and his playing skills are superior to anyone else at the table.

When Pons calls from the hijack Colman understands that the Spanish player doesn’t hold any premium hand like aces, kings or queens as he would’ve re-raised with any of these.

His range has mostly middle pairs and all sorts of Broadway hands in it.

Double Check on the Flop

We go to the flop and Colman hits top pair. This is a flop as dry as the Ténéré. It’s likely that the player ahead now will also be ahead on the river.

At this point Colman decides to take an unusual line. By checking instead of continuation-betting he’s representing a few monster hands (like J-J or 7-7) but also a lot of hands that are weaker than top pair like 8-8 or A-Q.

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Pons’ check-behind is a really good move and it shows that the amateur knows what he’s doing.

A bet wouldn’t do much as Colman isn’t going to lose more chips with a weak hand.

Action On the Turn

The turn card is a nice one for Colman. The 3 is lower than the jack and Colman can continue to represent a weaker hand than he really has.

He checks again, and now Pons can’t wait any longer. He bets 350,000 into a 1.1 million pot.

His motive is either he wants to keep Colman in the pot or he wants to push him out of the pot without risking too much.

2016 WSOP Daniel Colman

What follows is an all-in by Colman. The bet is 2.5x the pot so it’s also an over-bet that’s supposed to polarize his hand.

Pons Stays Cool

Colman’s line has to lead Pons to this conclusion – Colman must have either a set or a semi-bluff like A K with many outs and a lot of fold equity.

The latter range is much more likely, which could lead Pons to call with hands like T-T, 9-9, 8-8, 6-6 and even with a seven (although that is rather unlikely to be in his hand).

Now we can see the idea behind Colman’s line. He was trying to look weak and then maximize his profit with top pair -- a hand he would never give up in this situation.

Colman feels like a winner when the cards are turned around and he’s shocked when he sees them. It’s bad luck his opponent has Broadway hands in his range and that, of all of them, he’s holding the strongest one.

Fernando Pons IMG 8851
I'm your bogeyman.

Knowing Colman’s very bluffy game and considering the history the two players had, Pons can’t fold top pair, top kicker. 

He doesn’t hesitate long and a visibly shaken Dan Colman is out of the tournament.


Dan Colman makes a complex move that might have been entertaining but directly leads to destruction.

On the other side of the table, Fernando Pons is his perfect nemesis and he finishes the job on his way to the November Nine.

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