The world is teeming with professional poker players from all corners of the globe, but at this very moment, you won’t find any better the Dan “KingDan” Smith. He’s ranked the #1 poker player in the world right now, and if he stays on track, little more than two months from now he’ll be named the GPI’s 2014 Poker Player of the Year.
At just 25 years of age, Dan Smith has earned a staggering $8.86 million from live poker events, and another $2.5 million playing online poker tournaments. That doesn’t even include the untold millions he’s cashed out at ring games on the physical and virtual felt. With a decade of experience behind him and many more years ahead, Smith can only get better from here.
This year alone, Dan Smith raked in a whopping $3,186,314 across 14 major poker events, earning him 3,839.04 points and escalating him to the #1 position on the Global Poker Index. It’s a position he’ll have to work hard to hold onto, though, as fellow American Daniel “mrGR33N13” Colman isn’t far behind at 3,820.76. The nearest player to these two is Italian poker pro Mustapha Kanit, currently sitting at 3,567.62. With just 10 weeks left before the 2014 Poker Player of the Year is announced, it’s arguably definitive that one of America’s highest rated pros, Smith or Colman, will capture the title.
Dan Smith earned the majority of this year’s wealth at the $100k Summer Super High Roller at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Smith joined 66 hopefuls at the event, taking on 2x WSOP bracelet winner / 2X EPT Titlist Jason Mercier in heads-up. Dan would eventually defeat Mercier, taking home the largest live event cash of his career, $2,044,766. Smith also scored a trio of 6-figure cashes in 2014, including $243,567 in February when he finished 2nd at the $25k Challenge of the Aussie Millions, $286,900 in July for a 20th place finish at the 2014 WSOP Main Event, and $211,623 in August as he took down Event #23 of EPT Barcelona.
The young American poker pro got his start playing online poker at the age of 16 when he decided that his former passion, chess, simply wasn’t profitable (or socially acceptable) enough. Smith’s success was instant, although his parents didn’t approve so much of his new pastime interfering with his school work. As Smith explained in a recent sit-down with Ken Hoffman of the Houston Chronicle, his profits were so impressive that he bought the family a new refrigerator, washer and dryer. When his parents told him to stop playing online poker and do his homework, his favorite reply was, “Who bought the refrigerator?”
Smith also explained that he greatly prefers online poker to live events. Sitting at a single table, waiting for the cards to be physically dealt and other players to consider their options, Smith said, “you may get about 25 hands an hour.” In contrast, Dan extolled the benefits of online poker for serious table grinders. “When I play poker on my computer, I’ll play eight to 12 tables on two screens. There’s no dealer, so the action is much quicker. I’m playing about 800 hands an hour.”