Charlie Carrel: High Roller, Cannon Baller
Charlie Carrel went from getting his feet wet, to cannon balling into the High Roller pool. (Photo: Neil Stoddart - Rational Intellectual Holdings Ltd.)

Charlie Carrel: High Roller, Cannon Baller

Britain's phenom has made big splashes

Posted January 25, 2017 by Will O’Connor
Charlie Carrel went from getting his feet wet, to cannon balling into the High Roller pool. (Photo: Neil Stoddart - Rational Intellectual Holdings Ltd.)

Three years ago, Charlie Carrel made himself a goal.

The aim was to play one European Poker Tour Main Event. Just one.

Carrel’s initial vision didn’t include winning that one EPT Main Event, simply playing, but then again, it also didn’t include the rapid rise up the poker ranks that followed.

In August of 2014, Carrel cashed his first EPT Main Event during the Season 11 stop in Barcelona. Almost a year later, he was atop the poker world, after winning the $25,000 High Roller at Monte Carlo at the end of the same EPT season. In the better part of a year, Carell had gone from getting his feet wet, to cannon balling into the pool.

The splashes from his many cannon balls since, which include four titles, as well as High Roller final table results and cashes from across Europe, are still being felt and the pool party continued for Carrel three weeks ago. He finished second in the first ever PokerStars Championship Bahamas $100,000 Super High Roller for $1,191,900, losing heads up to American Jason Koon.

“It means so much to have such a massive cherry splooged on top of what’s been a ridiculously big cake. I have absolutely no bad feelings about coming in second,” Carrel said when we caught up with him when he returned from the PCB last week. The British professional then went on to add, “It’s been quite extraordinary how quickly all of this happened but I don’t really feel much pressure to live up to expectations.”

If Carrel does have any limitations, the poker world has yet to see them and that “ridiculously big cake” didn’t spend much time baking in the oven either. Carrel has amassed over $5,000,000 in live tournament earnings since 2014 and if at first Carrel crashed the party, his run of results and most recent Caribbean score now make him an expected VIP guest in the High Roller world. Carrel is handling those expectations extremely well for a 22-year-old though.

“I guess I just don’t feel like I have achieved anything great, I also just don’t consider myself to be above, or better, than anyone else.” said Carrel, before adding “That is easier said than done; a few perspective checks here and there have kept me in line since a young age though.”

Carrel’s ability to handle expectations and keep himself grounded are because of his friendship with another young crusher, pictured above with Carrel, Ben Heath. One that Carrel says has been free of, as he puts it, “bumps in the road”.

“I don’t think I could have been anywhere near as good as I am without Benjy.” Carrel said, adding, “The fact that our personalities meld together so well really is incalculably valuable, for emotional wellbeing and consistency of personal and poker growth.”

The personal growth Carrel has overseen over the last few years isn’t a measurable statistic but it shows in his humble demeanor, his love for competition and his obsession of being one of the more ethical players in the game. Carrel’s poker growth and tournament results, which are measurable, have drawn comparisons to another player that also experienced a meteoric ascent to the top of the poker world.

In competitive arenas, comparisons are impossible to avoid. No matter how many NBA Finals LeBron James gets to or wins, his resume always be shown beside Michael Jordan’s. Argentina’s Lionel Messi will always have his skills and career matched against the legendary Diego Maradona and, because of their early career success, Charlie Carrel and Fedor Holz may also always be linked.

Carrel hopes that his success is not always compared to his German counterpart but both seem to have a means to an end mentality when it comes to the game that they’ve so quickly ascended.

“The general plan of my life is to use poker as a fun springboard to gain the moneyz, then begrudgingly venture into business, real estate and other ventures.” Carrel said about his future plans, while also adding that he looks forward to when he can put all of his time and effort into altruism by setting up charities with like-minded people.

“I want to really make a difference and I really, really hope I can but a lot of money will be needed. Let’s hope for the run good to continue.”

Since making his EPT goal three years ago and his first splash into the High Roller pool, Charlie Carrel’s run good has continued and few would be surprised to see it end. If it does, Carrel isn’t even sure if people would even notice.

“One of the beauties of live tournament poker is that people notice the wins. Nobody is there checking the stats of who has bricked for a year straight, it’s kind of like a publicity free roll.”

Between his garish outfits and his ear to ear smile, it would be hard to not notice Carrel at the poker table and if you can’t find him, just look up. He’s likely climbing to an even higher diving board, to line up another cannon ball and make an even bigger splash down the road.