The 17-year-old esports millionaire

ByChristina "PeanutSC" Kelly ESPN logo
Friday, August 12, 2016

American team Evil Geniuses is just one match away from winning almost $9 million in the Dota 2 tournament The International 6. For Syed Sumail "Suma1L" Hassan, their 17-year-old phenom, winning millions of dollars is nothing new. Last year at The International 5, the EG squad took home $6,634,661, making Suma1L the youngest esports player to earn more than $1 million in prize money at 16 years old.

In 2008, Suma1L started playing Dota 2 at the age of 7 in his native Pakistan, although he switched to playing cricket for a while before returning to the keyboard and mouse. In the spring of 2014, his family moved to a suburb of Chicago, where he played the game endlessly when not in school. He was picked up by top team Evil Geniuses in January 2015, and his breakout performance was at the Dota 2 Asia Championships in February when he led EG to a $1.2 million first prize. Later that year came The International, after which the five players on the team were each more than $1 million richer.

On Aug. 12, Evil Geniuses will play Chinese team Wings Gaming in the upper bracket finals. If they win, they go straight to the grand finals the next day. If they lose, they will have one more chance to make it to the final round. Either way, they're guaranteed at least $2 million, but Evil Geniuses want to become the first team to win The International twice. The win would make Suma1L, and the rest of Evil Geniuses, multimillionaires in just two years. Not bad for a kid who hasn't entered college.