Charlie Carrel, age 22, nicknamed "Epiphany77", started his poker adventure about two years ago by depositing £10 into an online gambling account on PokerStars. Since then, he says he has garnered a sizeable fortune reaching more than £1.5 million.
How it all started
Carrel was 8 years old when he spent some time learning how to play 5-Card Draw on a play-for-fun gambling site. He started playing £5 SNGs as he got older with his friends in the UK. One fateful day, one of those friends said that he had won some money by playing poker online, and he suggested that Charlie should try it too, since he was deemed the best poker player in their group.
Encouraged by his friend, Carrel made a small £10 deposit on PokerStars. With it, he entered his very first tournament, a $1 SNG with 180 seats. "Epiphany77" finished the tournament and bagged the 1st place prize of $49.
The young poker player admits that he ‘got lucky' in the beginning. He said, "Had I not won that first tournament, I would never have deposited again, and none of this would have happened."
Since Carrel did win that tournament, it allowed him to continue on his journey, competing in more online poker tournaments, exponentially building his bankroll along the way. When he managed to turn small bets into £1k worth of winnings, he decided to quit university and continue sharpening his poker talent.
Though he is a college dropout, he actually isn't your average student. In fact, he was considered exceptional - earning four straight A stars on his A levels - an achievement that his family was very proud of. Of course, like most families, they weren't so keen on his idea of dropping out of college in order to pursue a poker profession with a mere £1k bankroll on hand.
Carrel cleverly drew up charts describing the growth rate of his poker finances and he showed these to his parents, who were finally convinced that this was the right move for their son, since they believe he had great potential to become a success if he continued as a poker player.
Carrel's achievements so far
Ever since then, the young Charlie Carrel has won several online and live poker tournaments, cashing in worth more than £1.5 million, and actually even more (though the amount is undisclosed) in ring games.
Online poker win - His biggest online poker win was when he finished as a runner up at the PokerStars $1mm GTD Sunday Million in January 2014, which was worth $175,758 (equal to GBP £133,000).
Live event win - His biggest win actually was at a live event, the 2015 €25k EPT High Roller Grand Final in Monte Carlo held in May. He earned a whopping €1,114,000 (GBP £806,000).
How he spent some of his winnings
The young pro currently plays online and also at live games all over the world from Malta to Monte Carlo and Las Vegas, and his triumphs has enabled him to enjoy lavish parties in cities including London and Amsterdam. It also helped him realize his globe-trotting dream with precious friends to Miami, Canada and Peru.
When he won £133,000 on the Sunday Million tournament, he spent a third of it on his close buddies. Carrel generously treated all 15 of his friends to an all-expense paid £60,000 trip in Amsterdam, which included staying at a five-star luxury hotel.
Still humble as ever
Carrel has not let the success get over his head. He said that he has a solid grasp on the value of money since he grew up in a low-income household. His number one priority is to provide for his supportive family, and his friends come in second.
In an interview he quoted, "money doesn't mean that much to me. It's all about the memories and experiences. Giving a taxi driver a large tip means more to me than spending it on a fancy meal."
When asked about his earlier years regarding playing online poker, he said, "I have to pinch myself most days. I think about depositing that £10 a lot. It could easily have happened so differently for me." He added, "I think I have the potential to be one of the top players in the world. There are not too many people I would be worried about playing."
On September, Carrel was crowned Poker Listings' Rising Star Award 2015, an award that he did not actually collect in person mainly because he thought he did not believe he was going to win.