Hard as it may to believe for some but e-sports is actually a huge thing right now. It may have gotten off to a slow start but it has definitely gained a massive following over the past few years. The rapid ascent has been so remarkable that it’s been estimated that the global e-sports betting market will be worth almost $30 billion by 2020.
That’s an enormous figure, especially when you think that e-sports remains “under the radar” to some degree. The e-sports fanbase is huge and is growing by the day these days, but it’s nowhere near as big as the fanbases for more traditional sports like soccer, football, and basketball. Most people outside of those kinds of fanbases don’t have the faintest clue what e-sports is all about. They absolutely don’t know anything about betting on them.
And so, what are e-sports? And how exactly does betting on e-sports work? And most importantly, is betting on e-sports games worth your while?
We’ll tackle all that and so much more in this comprehensive guide where you will find the answers you need regarding e-sports, how betting on it works and what are the kinds of betting involved in e-sports. This article will certainly go a long way in helping you have a lot of fun and hopefully, make a lot of money as well.
So first, let’s take a deep dive into what e-sports is all about.
What is E-sports?
The term e-sports is basically short for electronic sports, and it refers to competitive video gaming. So, essentially, we are talking about people competitively playing video games against each other in a tournament format. This, of course, is not new in itself, as it’s a steady recreational pastime in people’s homes ever since the first home computers and gaming consoles arrived on the scene.
For a while there, the only time you could play video games against another person was to sit in front of the same machine. These days, however, you can play games over the Internet. This means you can play against someone who is halfway across the world from the comfort of your own couch.
Reports indicate that more than a billion people take part in video gaming in one shape, way or form. This is a remarkable figure, and it clearly indicates just how beloved and accepted video gaming has become. Not all of these gamers play against other players of course, as some people still relish playing by themselves, but there’s no doubt that playing against real-life opponents is preferred by a lot more people.
Casual gamers tend to play video games solely for fun. Many of them join online tournaments and compete in organized contests, but they’re ultimately playing just for the sheer enjoyment of it. Although these casual and informal tournaments are still technically classified as e-sports, the term is often used to refer to the professional scene.
Before we go any further, it’s best that you wrap your head around this undeniable fact: there is a professional video gaming scene and there are professional video gamers. This might come as a huge surprise if you are new to e-sports, but it’s true, and it’s a raucous and dynamic scene as well. If you’re a gamer, then you’ll know that casual gaming can be very competitive, but professional e-sports is on a level all on its own. Some of the biggest contests have teams and players duking it out for millions of dollars in prize money.
These contests don’t attract just live audiences but are also witnessed by millions of fans all around the world via online streaming services such as YouTube and Twitch.tv. Even the most prominent TV networks have gone all in on e-sports, with broadcasters including ESPN showing e-sports contests on their channels.
All these clearly show the massive scope of the professional e-sports scene.
But before you can begin betting on e-sports, it’s absolutely crucial that you have a clear picture of some of the video games that are being played and competed in by professional gamers. There’s absolutely no way you’ll be able to make sound betting decisions if you don’t have any basic knowledge of what these are. It’s not required that you become a bona fide expert, but you need to understand how the games are played and some of the strategies involved.
What Kinds of Game are Played as E-Sports?
Most types of video games have the potential to be played as an e-sport. There are, however, a few kinds that are exceptionally popular. The following are suited for competitive gaming, and they dominate the professional scene right now.
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena Games
Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games are mostly strategy based, but there’s some action involved as well. Most of them are team games, with each team comprised of a number of virtual characters. The individual players have control over one character each and must collaborate with their teammates to fulfill a specified goal. This is usually to kill the opposing team or destroy their base.
First Person Shooter Games
This has been a standard genre of video game for many decades, as the earliest first-person shooter (FPS) games were developed as far back as the 1970s. Modern FPS games are far more in-depth than the early versions (and they look a lot better too!), but the basic concept has remained the same. Players view the game from the perspective of the character they control and use different weapons to engage in combat with enemy characters. There are usually explicit objectives to complete.
This is a classic video game genre that has also been around for decades. Most games follow a very distinct format, with players controlling a single character in a 1-v-1 fight against another character. Fights are usually split into a number of timed rounds, with the goal to cause as much damage as possible on the opponent.
Real-Time Strategy Games
Most real-time strategy (RTS) games involve a mixture of resource management and combat. Players often have to destroy one or more opponents as quickly as possible while defending their own base. They can build various structures that help with generating resources and various units that help with defense and attack.
Although there are dozens of different e-sports games, the majority of professional contests are played with just a few popular titles. Here’s a handy list of the ones that are often played in the professional scene.
- Dota 2
- League of Legends
- Heroes of the Storm
- Counter-Strike Global Offensive
- Call of Duty
- Street Fighter
- Super Smash Bros.
It’s also of importance that you understand the structure and format of any e-sports contests you wish to bet on. Once again, this will help you make good betting decisions. There are hundreds of tournaments and leagues held all over the world, but it’s best that you hone in on the biggest ones. Here’s a list of the more high-profile e-sports contests:
This is the biggest one of them all! Based on Dota 2, The International has been held every year ever since the game was officially announced in 2011. The very first tournament served as the first public viewing of Dota 2 and was streamed live to a huge online audience. It was held as part of Gamescom, the largest computer games trade show in the entire world.
The International is hosted and organized by Valve Corporation, the developers of Dota 2. They invited 16 teams to the inaugural tournament and put up a $1.6 million prize pool. This was the largest prize pool in e-sports history at the time, so the event naturally gained a lot of publicity.
Dota Major Championships
The Dota Major Championships is a tournament series that was established by Valve Corporation in 2015. It incorporates The International along with a number of different individual competitions every year.
Valve introduced this series as part of their campaign to expand on the success of The International and bolstering the overall landscape of competitive Dota 2 gaming. Each of the tournaments that comprise the Dota Major Championships is hosted by third-party organizers and conducted in different locations all over the world. The plan is to switch locations every year.
League of Legends World Championship
This is the leading annual tournament for the League of Legends (LoL) game. It debuted in 2011 at the DreamHack digital festival and is now one of the most awaited e-sports tournaments of the year. The winning team is rewarded with the “Summoner’s Cup,” along with a sizable share of the prize money.
ESL Pro Leagues & ESL One
ESL (Electronic Sports League) is one of the largest competition organizers on the e-sports scene. They deliver the platform for ESL Play, which offers ranking tournaments for players of all skill levels. Players can work their way up through the ranks to Major level, at which point they’re qualified to play in professional competitions.
The main professional competitions organized by ESL are their “game specific” Pro Leagues and the ESL One series of tournaments.
The Intel Extreme Masters
ESL also organizes the Intel Extreme Masters. This is another series of tournaments that happens in different places all over the world. They were introduced in 2007 to help e-sports gain exposure outside of the primary markets. They’ve broadly followed a fixed format since then, with a number of small qualifying events each year culminating in a Grand Final.
This is one of the premier e-sports leagues made specifically for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It was established in 2016 and features the best CSGO teams from around the world. There are two seasons per year, each lasting for several weeks.
E-sports Betting for Beginners
Now that you have a fair idea of what e-sports are all about, you’re now ready to learn about the betting on it. There are a number of different ways to bet on e-sports. Here’s a list of the most popular options and a brief overview of each one.
1) Real Money Betting
This is the kind of e-sports betting that’s nearest to conventional sports betting, which works in much the same way as betting on football games, boxing matches or basketball tournaments. We place real money wagers at agreed odds, and get paid out if the picks prove to be correct are correct. We can place bets on all kinds of various outcomes, including the winners of individual matches and the overall winners of competitions.
2) Skin Betting
Skin betting, which is also known as item betting, is quite popular among e-sports fans. A lot of modern video games feature virtual currencies and other items that can be moved between players, and this property is often highly sought after among devoted gamers. As a result, there are a lot of auction and trade websites where players can purchase, sell and swap items and currencies for several of the most popular video games.
There are also betting sites where players can utilize items and currencies to gamble with. They can use them to bet on the outcome of e-sports contests as a replacement for real money, and they can use them for other forms of gambling, too. For example, there are sites where items can be utilized to play games of chance like roulette, or even a basic coin flip. Some sites operate jackpot games where a number of players put their skins into a pot and a winner of the whole pot is picked at random.
3) Social Betting
Social betting is fairly common in the e-sports community where friends or online contacts place informal wagers on the result of events between themselves. These wagers can be for real money, but they’re oftentimes just for skins or other items. The terms are agreed on between the two parties and then settled as such.
This is not a kind of betting that is recommended, since betting with “real world” friends is just not the best idea, as it can lead to petty arguments and worse, falling out. And betting with people that you only know online carries high risks, as you can’t be sure you’ll get your winnings.
4) Fantasy Betting
Technically, this is not betting at all, since it’s just like daily fantasy sports for conventional sports, where players can build rosters using e-sports players.
5) Challenge betting
Also referred to as head-to-head betting, this is where gamers go up against each other for real money or items and skins. A lot of gamers organize wagers among themselves and then settle up once their contest is over. There are also websites that set things up a little more formally where the players and/or teams pay entry fees to enter a contest, and the winners are rewarded from the proceeds of those fees.
These different options are all worth checking out, although some might be more ideal for you than others. There’s not much point getting involved with challenge betting if you’re not really into gaming. For most people, it’s real money e-sports betting that represents the best possibility of making regular and consistent profits.
The e-sports industry is still in its infancy stages, and it’s growing at a rapid pace, so you really need to keep up with what’s what if you have any dreams of being a successful e-sports bettor. The more you know about what’s going on, the better your odds will be of landing profitable betting opportunities.