From Drug Dealer To Poker Superstar: Charlie Carrel Opens Up On The True Geordie Podcast

2 years ago
From Drug Dealer To Poker Superstar: Charlie Carrel Opens Up On The True Geordie Podcast
26 Apr

He has become one of the most instantly-recognizable characters at the super-high roller tournaments this past year, his flouncy hair, garish shirts and smiling, laid-back style belying a super-sharp poker mind – so when Charlie Carrel reveals his less than clean-cut past it comes as a bit of a shock!

Selling and taking drugs, multiple lovers, autism, bullying? It’s hard to equate these things with the mild-mannered young Englishman we see playing at the highest stakes, but Carrel has revealed all in an interview this week on ‘The True Geordie Podcast’.

“So this motherfucker right here….you’ve made a lot of money in poker!” is how the giant, tattooed host introduces the 23-year old multi-millionaire, and you instantly know this isn’t your ‘everyday poker podcast’, especially when Carrel says, “I started (playing poker) four years ago,’ and the response is an incredulous, ‘Fuck me!’

So, if swearing like a trooper isn’t your thing, skip the next 100 minutes! If you don’t care, and want to know how a young man could come from “humble beginnings” to multi-millionaire poker-god status in such a short time, this is definitely for you!

The £10 to $5.7million run-it-up

The title of the podcast gives away Carrel’s story in one sentence in some ways – a tale of a struggling household financially where “my mum battled away”, followed by a £10 online deposit, leading within months to the youngster sitting his A-levels at the time thinking, “poker is my way out” as the winnings started to mount.


“There were times in my life where I made money through other…nefarious means,” admits the likeable Carrel.

“I got into drug-dealing at one point in my life – and bought and sold Pokemon cards!” which is as weird a combination of part-time jobs as one could imagine.

“This is something I haven’t admitted to pretty much anyone,” says Carrel, nervously joking, “Hi mum – sorry, but dad knew!”

…and drug-taking

What follows is a rather bizarre discussion on psychedelic drugs between a high-stakes poker pro and a former cage-fighter, discussing the “super-intense” experience of smoking DMT, taking mushrooms and LSD among other drugs of choice – and don’t miss the ‘Mars bar’ anecdote – but I’d find it hard to advise you to follow Carrel’s advice on which drugs are good for poker.

Poker players ‘get up to shit’ don’t they?

“We all know that”, says our jovial giant of a host quizzing Carrel on what is the weirdest porn or ‘real-life’ thing he has seen, but Carrel doesn’t bite, explaining that he needs emotion to “find someone sexually attractive” and mentioning a couple of his female friends are porn actresses, which doesn’t entirely match his next shocker.


Not a word I have had occasion use in any of my poker articles to date, but Carrel’s candid revelation that he, and his girlfriends, date multiple partners at the same time has to be mentioned – particularly as he claims this has been the case since he was 15 years old, each girlfriend knowing about the other! Well, the details can stay in the podcast for your own delectation, but the “No wonder your dad’s proud of you!” response probably says it all.

The Psychology of Poker

If you’ve made it this far, it’s probably the most ridiculously ‘un-poker-player’ interview you can imagine! Carrel has taken the high-roller world by storm in less than four years and racked up 7-figure wins playing old-school-style poker, so I’m going to change tack to end this article by mentioning just how much of a role Carrel believes psychology still plays in the game.

The mega-bluff

GTO play? Not for Charlie-boy, his favourite hand being a huge bluff in the Prague Super-High Roller against the eventual winner Leon Tsoukernik – a speechplay-based bluff which Holz or the other ‘Fedor-bots’ we heard about last week from Jason Mo simply couldn’t hope to pull off.


This is a long, long podcast and I’m simply not going to relate it all to you – but if you don’t mind the bad language or topics they cover, it’s actually a really enjoyable insight into one of the strangest characters the poker world has to offer nowadays!

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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