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May 02, 2015

How Charlie Carrel ran his $15 Deposit into a $500k Bankroll

By RTR Dennis

The story of Charlie Carrel seems like one of those online poker success tales that could have only happened prior to 2007. The Brit deposited $15 at PokerStars a few years ago and hasn't looked back since, spinning his tiny deposit into a bankroll worth over $500,000. And there are three things that immediately stick out about Carrel's story:

1) He's only 21 years old.
2) He only had to deposit once.
3) This is 2015 we're talking about, where even beating average players is tough.

Again, maybe Carrel's path to success wouldn't have seemed so impossible when the likes of Jamie Gold and Jerry Yang were binking WSOP Main Event titles. But today, it's pretty rare that somebody runs up half a million dollars without plenty of hard knocks along the way. So how did 'Charlie 'Epiphany77' do it? Let's take a look by discussing some of what he told PokerStars in a recent interview.

After quickly immersing himself into poker as a teenager, Carrel made the decision to dedicate his time to the game over everything else. Case in point, shortly after finishing A-levels, he moved from London to his grandmother's home in Jersey - leaving behind his friends, social life and distractions in the process. "Not to sound arrogant but I was becoming increasingly aware that I was good at poker and that I had a lot of potential and I'd read a lot about players like nanonoko (Randy Lew)," he explained of the decision. "I thought it best to dedicate myself to poker whilst I was still young."

Rather than feed everybody some B.S. about how he's a poker natural who crushed his competition with ease, Carrel freely attributes part of his success to running well. And the 21-year-old admits that he might not even have stuck with online poker if he hadn't done well in the beginning. "I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be here now if I didn't get lucky in the first few times I played online."

Like any teenager who makes poker their full-time pursuit, Carrel had some very worried parents to deal with. And it actually took a power point presentation to convince his parents that poker is a legitimate career. "My mum and my step-dad had what amounted to an intervention where they said I needed to stop gambling," he explained. "So, I prepared a big power point presentation and came down with graphs and expected value and showed them my past papers of A-level that I was crushing. They eventually understood the graphs but not straight away."

Carrel switched from SNGs to cash games

Carrel started out playing low-stakes sit and go's while still in A-levels. But eventually, he and a friend ran the numbers and figured out that their best chance to make it as poker pros was to switch to cash games. "I absolutely loved cash games as soon as I switched because there was a lot more thinking involved," Carrel recalled. "That's the point where my friend stopped playing because he got an apprenticeship, he had to work and he liked computer games. Whereas I was playing 10NL Zoom every night, whilst I was still studying for A-levels."

Like any great poker player, Carrel learned poker strategy to improve his game - namely joining a small-stakes strategy discussion group and watching free training videos. However, he eventually outgrew these and realized that he was doing better without looking at other players' strategy. In the end, Carrel claims that the best tool for his improvement has simply been playing lots of hands.

And one can't argue with the results, which include taking his online poker bankroll up to $520k and winning another $402,051 through live tournaments. Considering Carrel's youth and dedication, it certainly isn't hard to see him becoming an even bigger poker star over the coming years.