– General Information –
Dan Smith is an American professional poker player. He was born on February 23rd, 1989 in New Jersey.
Smith is one of the most successful live tournament players of all time. As of the time of writing this article, he sits in the 5th spot on the Hendon database’s All Time Money List with $36.7 million in career earnings.
He started playing poker really young. He played online at the age of 16, before reaching the legal gambling age in the US. By the time he was 23, he was competing in the biggest poker tournaments around the world, winning millions of dollars.
In 2012, he went on quite a heater. In that year alone, he won over $3.7 million – a highly impressive sum before the age of the Triton high rollers. In 2019, he finished in 3rd place in the biggest tournament in poker history, the £1,050,000 Triton Million in London.
Smith is a former chess player who got into college on a chess scholarship.
– Key Career Dates –
- 2007: He drops out of the University of Maryland to pursue playing poker as a career.
- 2012: His outstanding live tournament results earn him international attention from the poker media.
- 2019: He comes in 3rd in the £1,050,000 Triton Million for £7.2 million in London. That is his biggest single live tournament cash to date.
– Dan Smith’s Career –
→ Beginnings ←
Smith started playing chess at 6 years old. He took it very seriously and was playing ranked matches. His aim was to go to college on a chess scholarship.
However, around the time he turned 16, he started to feel burnt out about chess. He didn’t enjoy his favorite game anymore. That is when he found poker.
Although he was below the legal gambling age, he was able to play online – and he was winning right from the get-go. He was earning some steady money from poker as a teenager.
However, he still didn’t give up his first “love”, chess. He eventually got his coveted chess scholarship from the University of Maryland. He never graduated though.
He dropped out after his freshman year to play poker for a living. In the summer break, he rented a beach house in New Jersey with some of his poker friends he met online. These friends included Andrew “LuckyChewy” Lichtenberger and Steve “Zugwat” Silverman.
They played poker and partied throughout the whole summer. That is when Dan Smith decided he’s not going back to college.
As for his “big switch” from chess to poker, he summed up the differences between the two games as such in a 2014 interview with igaming.org:
“People always say that the variance in poker is what makes it so hard to switch for chess players, but I find it refreshing for some reason. You can be like, ‘I played my best today but didn’t manage to win, but that’s how the game works sometimes,’ and that’s fine. In chess, you can play a six-hour match and have no-one to blame besides yourself when you end up losing. Making a mistake in chess would sometimes really weigh on me, because there’s nobody else to blame for it.”
→ Live Tournaments ←
Dan Smith is one of the most successful live tournament players of all time. He has amassed over $36.7 million in cashes during his long career. With at sum, he’s currently number 5 on Hendon’s All Time Money List. He has 123 recorded cashes from an 11-year period.
The first recorded result on his profile is a victory in the $1,500 NLHE Main Event at the Heartland Poker Tour in 2008. He won no less than $101,960. As we know, he was already a professional online player by then.
His breakout year was 2012. He started it off in January, by winning the A$100,000 event at the Aussie Millions for A$1,012,000. In April, he took down a €5,000 European Poker Tour tournament in Monte Carlo for €250,500. He had 5 cashes in the WSOP. Then, in August, he claimed yet another victory, this time in the €50,000 Super High Roller at EPT Barcelona for €962,925.
Overall, he cashed for over $3.7 million in a single year. Compared to the heaters we saw from Fedor Holz, Justin Bonomo or Bryn Kenney in the upcoming years, that may not sound as astonishing to today’s poker fans. However, it is still quite an accomplishment, and it certainly put Smith in the spotlight then.
He went on to have even more success. In June 2014, he won a $100K Super High Roller at the Bellagio for $2.045 million. In November 2017, he took down another $100K event, this time at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $1.404 million. Furthermore, in March 2019, he came in 3rd in the HK$2,000,000 NLHE Triton event in Jeju, South Korea for $1.733 million.
The biggest buy-in poker tournament ever was the £1,050,000 Triton Million, held in London in August 2019. Dan Smith took 3rd place in that field packed with legends of the game, pocketing £7.2 million for that wonderful performance. That is the biggest single live tournament score of his career to date.
→ World Series Of Poker ←
Despite his phenomenal success on the live tournament scene, Dan Smith is yet to win his first WSOP gold bracelet.
In 2016, he came very close to doing just that. He finished second in the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop event for $3,078,974. He lost the heads-up battle for the title to the German player on a heater at the time, Fedor Holz.
In 2018, he came in 3rd in the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop event for $4 million. He has other 3rd place finishes from multiple other events; like in the $50,000 Poker Player Championship in 2018 for $521,782, and from the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller event in 2016 for $487,361.
He made a deep run in the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2014. Out of a field of 6,683 players, he eventually came in 20th for $286,900.
Overall, Smith has cashed in a total of 36 World Series events for a combined $9,884,615.
→ Live Cash Games ←
In January 2019, Dan Smith appeared on an episode of Live at the Bike. There, he played a session of $50/$100/$200 No Limit Hold’em cash game.
Other than this live stream, Smith focuses on tournaments when it comes to live poker. He hasn’t appeared on any other poker shows where they broadcast live cash games. In an interview with Cardplayer Magazine in 2018, he once mentioned playing $200/$400 NLHE in Ivey’s Room at the Aria.
He has played a substantial amount of cash online, however.
→ Online Poker ←
Dan Smith started his poker career grinding online cash games in the golden age of internet poker. As he put it, thanks to the soft player pool, even the most basic of strategies were profitable. He worked his way all the way up to $200/$400 NLHE and PLO.
He often battled heads-up at the high stakes NLHE tables with famous players such as Doug “WCGRider” Polk.
Smith’s online screen name is “Danny98765” on PokerStars. The online cash game database has just 3,666 hands tracked on that account. Evidently, he played many more, but those hands are untracked. In that small sample, he’s up $1,989 playing high stakes No Limit Hold’em.
In addition to his cash game results, he has some major online MTT scores as well. For example, in October 2012, he took down Stars’ famous weekly marathon online tourney, the Sunday MILLION. He outlasted 7,060 players and earned $219,504 for his victory.
During the Corona crisis in May 2020 Dan Smith managed to capture a WPT Online Series title while playing online on partypoker. He took down the $25,500 Super High Roller for $555,504.