Esports have risen from a small, niche industry to one of the world’s most popular forms of entertainment. Games like Dota 2, Call of Duty, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO), and League of Legends (LoL) now feature huge tournaments, some of which offer prize pools worth millions of dollars.

Professional gamers have benefited greatly from this increased publicity, with many of the top players receiving fame and fortune. Considering everything that awaits an esports pro, it’s no wonder why numerous gamers aspire to join the biggest leagues. But being a pro player isn’t the only way that you can make money off esports.

Online bookmakers continue rolling out more and more esports lines. Gamblers now have seemingly endless chances to bet on esports tournaments and matches. Given the alternative, it’s worth asking if sports betting is a better path than professional gaming when you seek profits from this activity. Keep reading as I compare esports betting and pro play, then offer my recommendation on which route you should take.

What Does It Take to Become a Pro Esports Player?

Over two billion people around the globe play video games on a daily basis. And many of these players fancy themselves experts. But competing against the world’s top gamers is a lot different than racking up more kills and your Call of Duty buddies.

Becoming a professional gamer takes countless hours and dedication. Pros have to be better than millions of others who dream of becoming a pro gamer. But exactly how dedicated do professionals have to be? Check out everything that goes into being one of the best below.

Training to Become an Esports Pro Is Intense

Some of the top esports competitors earn millions of dollars per year. Therefore, it only makes sense that pros invest quite a bit of time to reach this level.

Lee Sang-hyeok, better known as “Faker,” is the biggest star in League of Legends. The SK Telecom mid-laner (like a midfielder in soccer) plays during most of his waking hours. “I practice a minimum of 12 hours a day,” he tells the Guardian. “Sometimes 15 hours a day when it’s close to a match.” Having to play for 12 to 15 hours per day takes some of the fun out of playing. But while Faker admits that he does “get a bit bored,” he still enjoys the job nonetheless.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt matters that he earns over $2.6 million per year and has plenty of female admirers who show up to his events. Faker does admit, though, that extensive esports training and matches can have a negative effect on one’s health. “As you sit for long hours without much movement,” he says. “Inevitably it cannot be good for your health, but I do believe it contributes to brain development.” Clinton “Fear” Loomis, one of the top Dota 2 players for over a decade, is another gamer who dedicates numerous hours to his craft.

“Usually our day to day will consist of three best of two scrims against various opponents, per day,” said the captain of Evil Geniuses. “It can be anywhere starting at around at 11am, till 6pm. Any time between there we’ll play four to six games a day.” Loomis told the Esports Observer that these hours are only for team practice. He also believes in spending hours outside of practices on solo improvement.

Age Is a Definite Factor

Video games seem like something that anybody can master. But former StarCraft pro Guillaume “Grrrr…” Patry tells Global News that he’s moved on to cryptocurrency trading and playing poker due to his age. “I am way too old to compete,” says the 36-year-old. “Age is a huge factor.”

Patry points out that most pro gamers are in their early or mid-twenties, while teenagers and older adults aren’t quite on the same level. “It doesn’t mean that 90 per cent of the [amateur] players are between 20 and 25. Far from it,” he explains. “The young players are always the best [pro] players. It’s very competitive and just being a few years older, it slows you down.”

Patry’s statements have truth when considering that players from ages 21 to 25 make far more money than any other age group. Meanwhile, a small percentage of players in their 30s earn any money. “I don’t think someone who’s over a certain age can adapt fast enough,” Patry says. “It’s not like soccer or hockey. The game you learn when you’re 13 is not the same when you’re 23.”

Beating Out Numerous Aspiring Pros

Patry became a star in StarCraft: Brood War in 2000, long before esports was the global phenomenon that it is today. He sees that the game has changed immensely today, thanks to all the prize money and attention involved with the sport today.

“There’s just so many kids who play all day,” he explains. “To think that you can just give up everything and go all-in on eSports is a little bit crazy.” The Canadian also advises that gamers take a sensible approach and avoid giving up their schooling or job to pursue this dicey career. “It’s not something you should give up education or your job for,” he says. “If it happens, it happens naturally. People will come to you.”

Patry adds that only the “top 0.1 percent” have any real chance at making it to the top. But he still cautions these players to be careful and have an alternative lined up.

What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Pro Esports Gamer?

Professional esports give gamers who spend hours in front of the TV an outlet for their dreams. But what exactly can they expect upon reaching the main stage? The first thing that they can look forward to is the chance to win lots of money. The esports industry generated $655 million in revenue last year. A Goldman Sachs report forecasts that the industry will be worth $3 billion by 2022 — nearly five times what it is today.

I mentioned earlier how players like Faker make millions of dollars per year. When the industry continues its growth, the top players in certain games might look forward to earning $10 million or more annually. Even if one doesn’t become a global star who rakes in millions, they can at least look forward to a good salary by being part of a team. Players on the best League of Legends teams earn an average salary of worth over $300,000.

Chris Hopper, who heads North American esports at Riot Games (LoL publisher), claims that there are thousands of players making a living through LoL alone. “These days, now that the path to pro is well established, and there are nearly 1,000 pros globally making a living off of playing League of Legends professionally,” says Hopper.  “We look at player salaries continuing to rise and new player [health] benefits as evidence of a healthy ecosystem.”

Many people will find the alternative of getting paid to play esports more favorable than betting, which involves risking your own money. The potential to become famous is another benefit to being an esports pro. International tournaments that are broadcast on YouTube and Twitch receive millions of unique views.

ESPN, the worldwide leader in cable sports networks, has also been broadcasting esports tournaments in recent years. Many sports pros have reserved personalities and spend most of their times playing video games. But they likely enjoy their fame and visibility on TV/streaming to some extent.

Being able play video games for living is one more advantage to reaching the pinnacle of esports. Most players get their start by playing their favorite games like Dota 2, Call of Duty, Overwatch,Street Fighter, and others. As Faker mentioned, the long practice time can become tedious. However, I’m sure that the players are willing to put up with the occasional boredom over working a regular job.

What Does It Take to Become a Pro Esports Bettor?

Online sportsbooks realized a few years ago that the esports industry was booming. Therefore, they began adding lines for various matches and tournaments. Today, you can visit many internet bookmakers and find dozens or even hundreds of sports betting opportunities available.

Wagering on the matches and tournaments is no doubt a gamble, because you’re risking money. But the benefit is that you can win long-term profits by being a skilled bettor. Below you’ll see the skills needed to win sports wagers on a consistent basis.

Handicapping Skills

Handicapping helps you make an educated guess on which side of the line has the most value. You can use multiple factors to handicap matches/tournaments.

One big thing to consider is how teams/players have been doing recently. If the team has been struggling lately, they’ll need time to regain their form. Likewise, teams that have recently made roster changes require time to develop chemistry. On the same token, an unheralded team could be more valuable if they’re well-practiced together.

Another factor to look at is team-vs team history. Sometimes two squads can be relatively equal in statistics, but one continues to dominate the matches for one reason or another.

Travel distance is another factor to look at. An American team that’s playing at a major Las Vegas tournament is less likely to be fatigued than a squad that must travel all the way from South Korea. The team playing closest to home will also hold an edge in the fan department. Having a stadium full of friends and family can provide extra motivation to stay focused and win.

Motivation is another crucial aspect that can swing the balance of a match. You especially want to look for this motivation in top teams that are battling to qualify for major events.

The best teams don’t always qualify due to chemistry issues or other problems. But any time that a great team is struggling to make major tourneys, they often start playing up to their potential in order to qualify.

Finding Information before Others

Winning esports bets isn’t all about your handicapping skills. Instead, you also want to spend plenty of time looking for information that other bettors don’t have.

Betting sites shift the odds of esports matches and tournaments based on info as it comes in. Therefore, you can gain additional value by jumping on lines before they shift. For example, you may find out that the top player on a certain team will be out due to an illness. You gain value by betting against them before the sportsbook moves the line.

Following the Twitter feeds of top esports reporters is a great way to get this info before others. Once you follow a number of reporters, you can simply pay attention to your phone as updates roll in.

Look for the Best Odds

Most sites are competitive in terms of the esports odds they offer. But you can still find slight nuances across the industry.

If one bookmaker offers 2.35 odds on a Dota 2 team while another has 2.40 odds, then you’re going to get more value with the second option. This edge may seem overly thin and not worth monitoring. But you’ll greatly increase your long-term odds of winning by continuing to find thin value.

You can start by researching which sports betting sites offer the best odds on a consistent basis. From here, you should sign up and deposit at multiple sites. Having multiple accounts with funds allows you to quickly jump on any line before it shifts.

Understand the Games, Players & Teams

Some people don’t think that they can successfully bet on esports because they’re not good at video games. This isn’t true, though, because you can be a skilled bettor without also being a great player.

After all, the top NBA bettors couldn’t score a point if they actually played in the league. But they possess enough knowledge of the players and teams that they can accurately predict what will happen in games. This same is true of esports, where a pro video game player can still become an excellent esports gambler. The key is to develop detailed knowledge of the competitors, squads, and games.

If you need to play the games to feel more a part of the action, then by all means do so. Again, though, you don’t have to become an excellent player just to make money from betting. A good way to increase your esports knowledge is by watching YouTube videos on the games, winning strategies, and streaming footage from matches.

You’re not watching strategy videos or streams in order to improve your own game. Instead, you just want to have a greater knowledge of your betting focus. If you want to make lots of money through CSGO wagering, then you should get to know the competitors, teams, and what constitutes a winning strategy.

Hone Your Focus

One exciting thing about the sports world is that there are plenty of games and leagues to enjoy. But while this is great from a fan’s perspective, you as a bettor should have a narrower focus. It’s difficult to specialize in a variety of games. Trying to become a professional better in Dota 2, Halo, and Heroes of the Storm is a seemingly impossible task.

The problem is that you’ll run into plenty of other gamblers who specialize in one of these games. Therefore, it’s difficult to keep up when spreading your attention across multiple leagues. A much better idea is to hone your focus on one major league that offers lots of betting opportunities. The biggest esports competitions revolve around Dota 2, CSGO, Call of Duty, and LoL.

You can also have a niche focus that gives you an even stronger chance to win. Super Smash Bros. and World of Tanks don’t offer a wealth of betting opportunities, but they can feature softer lines. Whatever the case may be, you should thoroughly learn one game/league before branching out into anything else.

Properly Manage Your Esports Betting Bankroll

Bankroll management is perhaps the most-underrated aspect of sports betting. Far too many gamblers jump into the activity with an underfunded bankroll and proceed to bet large portions of it on single matches.

The ideal approach is to have a sizable bankroll and only risk small chunks on each outcome. One of the most-common approaches by professional bettors involves risking just 1% of their bankroll on each match.

Here’s an example on how this works:

  • Your bankroll is worth $1,000.
  • 1,000 x 0.01 = $10
  • You should only wager $10 or less per outcome.

The only problem with this is that you won’t have a chance to make much money with $10 bets. Therefore, you might want to take greater risks in the form of betting between 2% and 5% of your roll on each match.

Another option is to simply wait until you can save up a larger bankroll or continually add money each week. Combining either of these practices with the 1% rule is a good formula for proper bankroll management.

What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Pro Esports Bettor?

One great thing about being an esports bettor is that you can profit from the activity without dedicating numerous hours to the games. This isn’t to say that becoming a winning esports bettor is easy. In fact, far too many gamblers underestimate the skill and lose lots of money.

Instead, my point is that you can put 1-4 the hours per day into learning esports betting and become a winner. Compare this to the 8-15 hours per day that esports pros spend playing. Having the ability to make profits is another great thing about sports wagering. Popular games like Dota 2 and CSGO give you plenty of opportunities to make big profits. Of course, you don’t have to earn enough money to become a professional just to be happy. Some gamblers are perfectly content with supplementing their main income through esports gambling.

Being able to make money from the comfort of your own home is yet another benefit to wagering on esports. You can place wagers on your couch, during work breaks, or on the go. Contrast this to a professional esports player, who must travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to the biggest events.

Which Path Is Better?

Whether you want to pursue playing esports or betting on them is a personal choice. And you can use the various pros and cons that I’ve covered throughout this post to help you make your decision. For my take, I believe that gambling on esports is preferable to trying to become an actual player.

The biggest problem when trying to go pro is the limited spots. When you consider the billions of people who play video games globally, a very small percentage of them have the skills to go pro. Even if you do make it to esports main stage, it’s very tough to stay there. The top players practice for countless hours both on their own and with their teams.

You also have to consider the small available window to make serious money with video games. Ages 21-25 earn the most esports prize money, which means that most pros only have a peak window of around five years.

Of course, this isn’t to say that you’ll win big with ease in sports betting right away. You still need skills, dedication, and a willingness to learn. But the fact that you can make money from home without having to play video games for 10-12 hours daily sounds more enticing to me. Esports gambling is also something that you can do at any point in life once you’re of the legal age. This differs from pro players, where competitors in their 20s have the perfect combination of youth and experience.


Just because I think that betting on esports is preferable to playing doesn’t mean you have to agree. You may only be attracted to esports because you love playing video games. If so, then by all means continue enjoying the games and dreaming about becoming a star player one day.

But esports betting is the most-realistic path towards making profits for the average person. You can place wagers from home and become a skilled bettor with a few hours of work per day, rather than 10-15 hours. Furthermore, esports gambling is something that any legal age group can excel at. Competitors, on the other hand, normally hit their peak at ages 21-25.

If you’re interested in esports betting, then start learning about the players, teams, games, and bankroll management. Thoroughly learning all of these aspects will boost your chances of profiting.

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