From Unknown and Risking Half His Poker Bankroll on One Event to WSOP Player of the Year?

Darius Samual WSOP Poker

Here's a name you'd better start learning the rest of the summer — Darius Samual. That isn't a household name in poker yet, but it will be soon.

The poker player from England entered the 2024 World Series of Poker (WSOP) with less than $100,000 in live tournament cashes, according to The Hendon Mob. Twelve days into the series, there's an argument to be made that he's one of a few "players to beat" regarding WSOP Player of the Year.

And, here's what's really crazy — Samual gambled half his poker bankroll in one event just to get to this point.

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Summer of Dreams

Entering every summer, the same handful of names come up among the Player of the Year favorites. The usual suspects — Daniel Negreanu, Shaun Deeb, etc. — are always mentioned around poker circles. But there are always a couple of contenders who weren't on anyone's list before the series began.

Ian Matakis was a surprise winner last year, as was Robert Campbell in 2019. This year's early surprise contender is Samual, who is among the final 18 in Event #23: $1,500 SHOOTOUT No-Limit Hold'em. You can follow along the final day live coverage right here at PokerNews.

Regardless of where he finishes in the SHOOTOUT, Samual will earn enough points to reach the top of the unofficial Player of the Year leaderboard, depending on how other top early contenders perform on Sunday. At present, Robert Mizrachi is officially the leader with Samual in fourth place, but that will be changing after Samual collects his SHOOTOUT points.

Darius Samual WSOP Poker
Darius Samual

Samual has locked up his fourth cash of the summer, and his biggest went for $500,000 for winning Event #6: $25,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em Championship. In that event, he risked half his poker bankroll just to enter and told PokerNews after taking it down that he doesn't "give a f**k about bracelets."

Who is Darius Samual?

Before the start of Sunday's final table, PokerNews caught up with the potential WSOP Player of the Year to find out more about who he is and if he even cares about these sorts of awards.

"I haven't thought about it, to be honest," Samual, who lives in London, England, said about his interest in chasing Player of the Year. "If i get a lot of points for this or something, maybe I will look at it and go for something, but you know it's early."

Samual, who works in the real estate industry and occasionally plays poker, said he hasn't mapped out his entire summer yet. He'll be returning home to England for a week or so and then returning to Las Vegas to resume his WSOP action. He admitted he was unaware of the WSOP Player of the Year scoring system but appeared interested in the possibility of winning the award.

"I don't know how all this works. If I win another bracelet, I'll look into (WSOP Player of the Year scoring system) for sure," Samual continued.

First place in the SHOOTOUT pays $305,849, bringing Samual's summer cashes to over $800,000, nearly a 1,000% increase over his pre-WSOP lifetime live tournament cashes.

As Samual said, it's still early in the summer, and the Player of the Year race will likely change significantly over the next few weeks. But if there's an early favorite, it might be a player who wasn't on anyone's radar a week ago.

Follow Darius Samual's Chase for a Second Bracelet Live on PokerNews

  • This year's @WSOP Player of the Year frontrunner is someone you've probably never heard of.

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