Video games pay off for 8-year-old

Adam Balkin, Tech Talk
Tech TalkVictor De Leon has already earned enough money for college.
NEW YORK -- Like other 8-year-olds, Victor De Leon plays video games. But he’s so good, he gets paid to play.
Victor, or “LiL Poison” as he called in the gaming world, takes part in professional “Halo” tournaments. And he is rarely defeated.
“He's really good. I can't explain it,” said his father, also named Victor. “For instance, he participated in this event in December in Chicago. And out of, I think, more than 550 people, he came in second. These are people that are my age, in their 20s, 30s or teens.”
Part of what gives young Victor his edge is that he doesn’t know the meaning of pressure.

Companies pay Victor De Leon to play in tournaments.
“I don't get nervous when I play,” he said.
What goes through his mind before competing against other people?
“That I'm going to beat them,” he said.
Little Victor has been gaming for three-quarters of his life. His dad said he has been playing since he was 2.
“There were times he started crying, so I just gave him the controller and he would stop,” his father said. “It got to the point where he started moving it and basically got the concept of what to do. It was kind of weird. So I started showing him what this button meant, what that button meant. In just a couple months, he was doing everything I was doing.”
But this ability has gone far beyond a party trick or hobby. “LiL Poison” now has sponsorships, companies that pay him to travel the country and play games. One gaming Web site pays for young Victor’s travel to Major League Gaming tournaments. It also gives him a little extra money, which his father puts straight into a trust fund.
“LiL Poison” has already earned enough money for college, so it’s no surprise that his parents actually budget some gaming after school.
“He comes home from school; does homework first; takes a little break; eats, of course; and then plays two games,” his dad said. “That's it, just two. Then we leave, and he comes to my parents’ house, goes in the pool, plays basketball. Then 8 o’clock comes, and he plays with the team from 8 to 10 p.m.”
Little Victor said he's not sure if he'll pursue gaming when he gets older. His parents said they’ll let him do what he wants.

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