Syed Sumail Hassan, known simply in the gaming world as “SumaiL”, is one of the youngest and most successful Dota 2 players in the industry. He was born on February 13, 1999, making him now 19 years old. However, his fame and success started when he was just 15.
He was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and began playing Dota at a ripe young age of 7. He and his cousins would take their bikes out to the nearest internet café to play and his skill in the game quickly became apparent. Even at a young age, he became invested in further improving his skills, even selling his bike at one point to be able to play longer hours at the internet café.
Finally in 2014, SumaiL and his family were able to migrate to Chicago. According to Bloomberg, though the move was a tough and big change for his family, he was happy to know that he’d be able to play with less lag time. Within months of their move to the US, SumaiL was qualified to play in the North American Elite League, where he was shot to the limelight. It was his performance in this league that prompted Charlie Yang, then manager of pro team Evil Geniuses, to fly to Chicago to meet him.
He was recruited onto the team on his mother’s condition that he could still attend school. Evil Geniuses (EG) wanted him so badly that Yang personally spoke to his school to make arrangements for his extended absences while training and competing. He was officially a professional gamer and remember, SumaiL was just 15 at this time.
His first major tournament with EG was the Dota 2 Asian Championships in Shanghai, with the prize at $1.2 million for the winning team. They were third seed and up against Chinese team Vici Gaming, and the crowd was not on their side. In the last game, SumaiL started with a less-than-impressive performance. However, he managed to utilize his skills and completely blindside the opponent, securing the game and the championship for his team. Within the first month of his career, and a smidge before he turned 16, he was already over $200,000 richer.
His biggest payout thus far was at 16 years old. In August 2015, SumaiL and EG entered The International 15 (TI5) as one of the tournament’s favorite teams. They were booted to a lower bracket to CDEC Gaming, a wildcard. However, they managed to redeem themselves by owning the Lower Bracket Finals. In the Grand Finals rematch against CDEC Gaming, EG came out victorious, nabbing that $6.6 million prize. With the split being around $1.3 million, SumaiL became the youngest player ever to win more than a million dollars in an e-sports tournament.
Sure, he’s not exactly the most well-liked player out there, thanks to his frank rhetoric (often on his Twitter). But with about $3.3 million in total earnings at the age of 19, is he really going to care about that?