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Charlie ‘Epiphany77’ Carrel: “I Deposited $15 and Just Got Lucky”

Have you heard the one about the kid who invested $15 in an online poker account and ran it up to $500,000?

Sheldon Adelson would love 20-year old Charlie 'Epiphany77' Carrel, because he was just eight years old when he learned to play five-card draw on a play-money online gaming site.

A decade later Carrel was reacquainted with the deck when he started playing £5 SNGs with his friends.

One of those friends told him that he had just won a little money playing online. His interest was piqued.

“My friend told me that he had made $30 playing online poker and because I was the best player in the home game I should give it a shot. I deposited $15 and just got lucky I guess," he says.

Carrel: Taught the Value of Money Early On

"Had I not won that first tournament I would never have deposited again, and none of this would have happened.”

Carrel deposited $15 into a PokerStars account and won his first-ever tournament - a $1 180-man SNG for a profit of around $49.

“I was brought up in a household that didn’t have a lot of money, so I was taught the value of it from very early on.

"Had I not won that first tournament I would never have deposited again, and none of this would have happened.”

That win set a fire in his belly. His friends would gather around his home with their laptops to grind $1.50 9-handed SNGs.

This happened at least three times a week, and the stakes rose slowly. It wasn’t long before they were playing $3.50 and $7 SNGs -- and winning.

Then Carrel’s poker journey took a very positive turn.

“My friend and I started this conversation over whether it would be more intelligent to move to cash games. We reasoned that it would and so I started playing $25NL Zoom on PokerStars.

"It was the first time that I had really played on my own. I couldn’t stop playing.”

Carrel did nothing but play poker. At least five nights per week he would play through the night. His parents were starting to get worried. He had started to skip revision to play poker instead. But it would all be worth it.

“A friend suggested I move to PartyPoker because the games were softer. He wasn’t lying. It went really well.”

"The Next Weekend, I Chopped the Sunday Million"

Distracted by his friends in the UK, Carrel decided to move to Jersey to spend some time living with his Grandma.

During the next seven months he focused purely on the game of cards and his bankroll grew from $1.8k to $60k in the first few months, playing up to as high as $1,000 NL on Party.

He also managed to get enough revision in to get straight A stars in his A levels. Things were going pretty well.

Sunday Million chop provides for lots of good memories.

“I made around $100k in the cash games before I went back onto Stars again. A friend wired me a grand to get going on the tournaments.

"The first one I played was called NLO. I had never played it before, but won it for around $5k.

"The next weekend I chopped the Sunday Million for $200k and made the final table of the Sunday Second Chance for another $10k. That was a good weekend.”

Ask Carrel what’s important in his life and he will tell you that it’s his friends and family.

His Sunday Million win allowed him to spend $60k taking his friends to Amsterdam on holiday. Those are memories that he will always have.

It was also a time for him to take a short break from poker. "I had to regain my social abilities,” says Carrel.

“I Owe Them Everything"

Now on the grind with his friend in London.

He now lives in London with a friend and spends most of his time playing 500NL Zoom 6-Max. He's teaching his friend to move up in stakes and grinding the Sunday tournaments.

At its peak Carrel’s bankroll reached $520,000. Not a bad return on a $15 investment.

He once needed to show his parents a graph of his 25NL winnings to persuade them that he could win at this game over the long run. At that time they were staring at a $1k bankroll.

He's now able to give back to the parents who gave him so much.

“I owe them everything. I don’t have kids, but I imagine they can be a giant spew of money.”

One of the Smart Ones

Look into the cookie jar and this kid is one of the smart ones. He has dreams of playing poker at the highest level but he's also a pragmatist.

He plans to go to University to study PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics), invest in property and also start a business. So what has the young man learned?

“I have learned the value of money, in particular that it’s not worth as much as I once thought it was. Spending it on my friends and family provides me the real value.

"Otherwise 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.

"It’s all about the memories and experiences."

“It also taught me how to accept things when they go bad. Minor disasters like accidentally breaking a TV set would have meant so much to me a few years ago, but today I just view it as another bad beat.”

Poker does have its drawbacks, though.

“I do have to remind myself to leave the flat. I forget to speak to people. I get so engrossed in whatever I am doing {poker or reading about philosophy} that I forget other people exist.”

Something tells me that the poker world won’t be forgetting that Charlie Carrel exists. Not anytime soon.

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