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The biggest prize money winners in esports history




In 2020, esports stars are hardly strapped for cash. While pro gamers were fighting for minuscule amounts of money and peripherals just a decade or so ago, today’s players at the highest level fight for millions of dollars each year.

In the last decade, thanks in large part to the popularization of Twitch, fans have started tuning into esports events at a prodigious rate. The growth has been impressive for each consecutive year since and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. That growth in viewership has gone hand in hand with a massive increase in prize money on offer.

In 2019 alone, more than $215 million was awarded across more than 4,600 tournaments. That’s compared to just $13.8 million recorded by tracking website Esports Earnings in 2012.

Nearly a quarter of the 2019 total was awarded at the ninth edition of Valve’s annual Dota 2 event, The International. A whopping $34.3 million was shared across the 18 participating teams, with eventual champions OG netting a total of $15.6 million.

Of course, these sums have inflated the overall top earners—in fact, the top 11 entries on Esports Earnings are Dota 2 players. But it’s not just Dota that has enjoyed this massive growth.

Here are the players with the biggest prize money totals in esports history, from the current leading games to the top titles from the past.

Johan “N0tail” Sundstein – $6.9 million (Dota 2)

Photo via Valve

The Danish Dota 2 veteran became the top earner in all of esports in 2019 after leading OG to victory at The International for the second year in a row. But even aside from his impressive payday at TI8 and TI9, N0Tail enjoyed incredible success alongside both OG and Team Secret prior to TI, which sets him at the top of this list.

Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf – $3.2 million (Fortnite)

Photo via Epic Games

Fortnite exploded in 2018. It quickly became one of the most played games in the world and it was only a matter of time before esports followed suit. The developer of the building frenzy, children-friendly bonanza invested millions of dollars into funding tournaments for the game—and one player, in particular, came out on top. Sentinels Bugha’s dominant performance at the Fortnite World Cup pushed the player into esports supremacy in 2019, earning himself an astonishing $3 million.

Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen – $1.9 million (CS:GO)

Photo via BLAST Pro Series

Danish frag master and Astralis rifler Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen won his fourth Valve Major with the greatest CS:GO team of all time in 2019. Dupreeh played a big part in the team’s rise to fame, cleaning up their act, and helping them push to the top of the standings in modern-day Counter-Strike.

Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok – $1.3 million (League of Legends)

Photo via Riot Games

The most celebrated pro gamer of all time, Faker is the one constant on the three-time world championship-winning roster, T1. The 23-year-old won the world championship in his debut season and he’s still regarded as the greatest player to ever compete in League.

Ian “C6” Porter – $1.2 million (Call of Duty)

Photo via Justin Binkowski

The North American Call of Duty star C6 has remained at the top of his game for years. Winning three world championships and 37 major tournaments over the course of his career, C6 has earned more than $1 million in winnings.

Feg – $1 million (Shadowverse)

Making a second appearance at the Shadowverse World Grand Prix in 2018, Japanese representative feg proved himself on the big stage and earned the right to call himself a champion. The somewhat unknown entity entered the digital card game tournament as the underdog, but instead of toppling under the pressure, he won the whole thing.

Cho “Maru” Seong Ju – $889,000 (Starcraft 2)

Image via Starladder

Asserting his dominance in the world of SC2, Maru has quickly risen up to become one of the game’s most successful players in terms of prize winnings. Maru bolstered his earnings by taking winning the $200,000 World Electronic Sports Games in 2018.

Park “Loki” Jeong Yeong – $705,000 (PUBG)

The 22-year-old South Korean PUBG player has gone on a tear over the last couple of years. He secured multiple top-three finishes, won the PUBG Global Invitational 2018, and dominated in the MET Asia Series in 2019.

Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom – $684,000 (Halo)

The Halo player from North America has performed consistently across four of the franchise’s titles, with most of his success coming in Halo 5: Guardians. This includes his victory at the 2016 Halo World Championship, where Frosty and CLG took home $1 million.

To add to his prize winnings, Frosty also competed in Call of Duty last year, winning three events with the Flordia Mutineers. The player, however, has since switched back to Halo.

Lee “Flash” Young Ho – $668,000 (Starcraft: Brood War)

Starcraft: Brood War is regarded as one of the most prestigious and longest-standing examples of the first era of esports. Played almost exclusively in Korea, the level of competition rose to such a degree that it was rare to see new players rise up and dominate the old guard. But Flash was one of them. The Terran player succeeded in setting an entirely new benchmark for how to perform with the race and grew to become the main rival of Brood War’s top star, Lee “Jaedong” Jae Dong.



The Emergence of E-sports Market




E-sports is a form of sports competition using video games that are played between professional players or as a team. E-sports was a significant factor in the video game industry by the 2010 but it’s designed actively by many developers and funded as well to improve it. Multiple online battle arenas, is the most common video gaming genera as first-person shooter, fighting, card, battle royal and real time strategy games. 

It was estimated in 2010 that the total audience of E-sports would grow to 454 million viewers with more than US$1 billion, was a very progressive result in the initial to step forward. Female gamers were also participating in the game, although there were 85% male and 15% female, and the majority of the viewers between the ages of 28 to 34. The game got popularity in china and South Korea then it became the large gaming industry with the passage of time. 

It was 1972 when the earliest known video game competition held for the game, Space-war. 1978 was the golden age for the game when it’s popularized the use of a persistent high score for all the players. High score chasing has now become a popular activity because it’s a mean of competition. 

Growth and Online Video Games

The fighting game Street Fighter II has introduced the level of two players’ competition because previous games relied on high scores to get victory that was not much interesting as the Street Fighter is. In the game, the players can challenge each other directly “face-to-face”. 

Global Tournaments 

The growth of E-sports in South Korea is an influential part to cover the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The Korean e-sports Association was founded in 2000 to promote e-sports in the country. It ensures easiness and facilitates the gamers to play and enjoy at their homes. 

Classification as Sports 

It’s a controversial topic to label this game as sports because some argue that it’s a fast growing non-traditional sport requires careful planning, precise timing, and skillful execution. China is the first country to consider e-sport as a real sport in 2003, due to addiction of this game. The players are also preparing their body for this game for their country, China. 

Olympic game recognition 

Olympic Games are one of the most legitimate e-sports where one can see the potential. A summit was held by the International Olympic Committee in 2017 to grow the popularity of the E-sports because they appreciated that the competitive e-sports could be a sporting activity so the players should be trained and skilled for this game.

Video game design

The foremost priority while designing a video game is to experience the player in game so most of the E-sports games are designed from the beginning by the developers by experiencing them. 

Online Games

Internet is very common method for connecting games that is also separated by region so the high quality connections ease the players to play smartly. There are many competitions take place for the smaller tournaments. As with the passage of time the popularity of E-sports has been increasing, the players now use automated matchmaking clients to build themselves into the games. For more information visit

In major markets, gambling and betting are considered illegal because black marketing and virtual currency are being increased day by day. E-sports gambling in the United States is illegal under the Act of 1992, but the regulation of e-sports betting depends upon the laws of the state because no one is above the laws, but due to its popularity, there are still many innovations to bet.

Source: Dominic Bowes

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Karrigan rejoins FaZe, olofmeister moves to the bench




FaZe Clan has secured another legend in their ranks. The organization snaps up Karrigan following the Dane’s mutual contract termination with mousesports, marking the end of a two-year stint, FaZe announced today.

One of CS:GO‘s virtuosos and part of FaZe’s first roster iteration for more than two years, Karrigan is back in red and black. The 30-year-old will immediately be slotted into the starting lineup and likely take up IGL duties in place of olofmeister.

FaZe has pulled off a flurry of moves in the wake of former star Niko’s departure to G2 Esports. The org signed talented Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken from Team Liquid in January and benched Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye. Karrigan’s inclusion will be a bid for FaZe to re-establish the remarkably cosmopolitan roster as a dominant force in Europe.

FaZe recently secured a spot in the BLAST Premier: Spring Finals 2021 despite a group final loss to Natus Vincere in Group C, following two stunning series wins vs. Team Liquid.

Karrigan will debut with the new-look roster in IEM Katowice 2021. As one of eight teams who secured a spot in the group stage, FaZe will await their opponents after a 16-team play-in Group B, with the match scheduled for Feb. 18, 12pm CT.


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Here are the notes and updates for Escape from Tarkov Patch




Russian developer Battlestate Games is back with another round of Escape from Tarkov updates, this time fixing and optimizing various on-going issues with the first-person shooter.

Bots spawning too close to players, movement speed in the crouched position, and other welcoming quality of life changes are coming to Tarkov in today’s patch. Altogether over 30 fixes are joining the game.

The patch is expected to go live at approximately 6am CT (or 3pm Moscow time).


  • The “Next” button, which wouldn’t let players get to the main menu after a raid
  • Freeze on the unloading screen in the main menu after a raid
  • Some of the problems with spawning bots and players
  • Taking damage by players or bots who are using a stationary weapon.
  • Bots flying in the air
  • Errors that made it impossible for players to exit the location with the car extract
  • An animation of checking the chamber, which was played for the observer if the player checked the mode of fire
  • Checking the chamber and firing mode, which did not work if the gun did not have a magazine
  • Drop-in performance in areas with multiple crafts in the hideout.
  • Possibility of spamming with notifications about friend requests
  • Incorrect voice lines for the “Scav Killed” in BEAR 2 and BEAR 3 voices 
  • Different volumes of breathing sound during a sprint for different characters
  • Some characters had no breath sounds after the entire stamina scale had been used up
  • The “Get items” button, which was blocked until the game was restarted if the player had previously tried to collect a weapon with no space around it
  • Increased speed of movement in the crouch position in some conditions.
  • Crafting skill progress points, which were not gained until the restart of the game
  • No sound of footsteps on metal stairs while moving sideways
  • The progress of the skill “Mag Drills”, was reset after leaving the raid
  • Incorrect calculation of the selling price and commission for the cultist knife
  • Some of the problems with clipping gear
  • Highlighting the option to report a player on mouseover
  • A contusion timer that showed the wrong time if a player was contused by multiple hits
  • Ability to delete the system chat with messages
  • Shooting, which did not work by pressing the LMB, if the key was previously reassigned
  • The ability to reload weapons in hands with magazines from a backpack and safe container through the context menu during a raid
  • Elite skill level bonuses that did not apply if the elite level was obtained while the player was in the hideout
  • The rain that came through some objects on “Woods” location
  • Simultaneous play of multiple lines in the voice selection screen
  • Various bugs with collisions on locations
  • Various problems with culling on locations
  • Fixes to various bugs in the game interface
  • Various errors in the game client
  • Various localization edits
  • Various errors in the server performance


  • Server optimization [iteration #2]
  • Various client optimizations


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Spirit coach Certus: “degster is a great asset, but he can play much better than he’s playing now. We will work on that”




A breakout year for Spirit, 2020 saw the Russian team reach unprecedented heights, peaking at No.13 in the world and securing wins over teams such as Vitality, fnatic, and mousesports. Yet as the winter break neared, Spirit lost some steam and were unable to get past the group stage of both IEM Beijing-Haidian and DreamHack Masters Winter. To end the year as only the fourth-best team in the CIS region after showing that they were capable of scaling greater heights was something that the Spirit organisation couldn’t be happy with.

Certus has been with Spirit since 2016

“We grew more and more fatigued towards the end of the year, there was no longer any strength to analyze our defeats, draw conclusions, fix mistakes, and conduct all the necessary work in practice,” Nikolay “⁠Certus⁠” Poluyanov, the team’s coach, said to, echoing what many others had already said about the pandemic-crippled 2020. “All in all, the year was long, difficult and, worst of all, monotonous.”

The veteran coach, 37, added that there are only a few teams that can go through a season like that without suffering “serious dropoffs”, which was a key reason for the roster changes that were made and for the move towards a six-man lineup.

In order to bring in new players, someone had to be removed, and it was the team’s AWPer, Artem “⁠iDISBALANCE⁠” Egorov, who found himself on the chopping block. While critics deemed him inconsistent, the 24-year-old was far from a bad player, averaging a 1.12 rating in 2020, and Certus explained that it was a different reason that led to him being placed on the transfer list.

“We decided to remove iDISBALANCE because we wanted to change our game, and to do that we needed a more aggressive sniper,” he noted. “However, I’d like to state that Artem is an incredible player and teammate, and his lack of consistency was due to the tasks we assigned to him in the game.”

To fill the more aggressive AWPing role, Spirit landed highly-rated youngster Abdul “⁠degster⁠” Gasanov, who, together with Robert “⁠Patsi⁠” Isyanov, had helped Espada reach the top 30 in the world rankings before that team broke apart. “I’ve followed Abdul since his first official games for Espada, sometimes in my free time I even talked to him in TeamSpeak to help him in his progress,” Certus said before revealing that they trialled the AWPer as early as in 2019, but opted to add Boris “⁠magixx⁠” Vorobiev instead. “He wasn’t ready at the time, but he developed very fast.”

Patsi also joined the team on a trial period. His strong individual play and communication, Certus said, explain why the 17-year-old was described as “the best option we could count on” in Spirit‘s announcement. “He just needs time to adapt to our playstyle. With the right attitude, I don’t think his trial will last very long.”

chopper and co. trialed degster before picking up magixx

DreamHack Open January Europe was Spirit‘s first event with the new lineup, taking place just a week after degster and Patsi joined the team. Their potential was apparent, but as only the fifth-highest ranked side in the eight-team tournament, they were dark horses at best. In the first stages of the tournament, their play reflected that, getting into good positions but struggling to close out maps against Sprout and Gambit in the group stage, as well as against BIG in the playoffs, leading to drawn-out and messy series.

“I think this is because we lack experience playing as a team,” in-game leader Leonid “⁠chopper⁠” Vishnyakov said about their inability to capitalize on leads such as 15-10 on CT Train against Sprout and 13-6 on CT Inferno versus BIG. “Sometimes we didn’t know what to do when we found ourselves in difficult situations since we hadn’t had time to play and discuss them in practice. Both BIG and Gambit are more experienced teams – they know how to put pressure on their opponents and don’t grant you many chances to play your own game.”

The grand final against FunPlus Phoenix was a completely different story, though. After four hard-fought BO3s, all going 2-1, Spirit breezed past Chris “⁠chrisJ⁠” de Jong‘s team, securing a quick 3-0 victory in the grand final to win the tournament. “Against FPX it was different,” chopper admitted. “They are a new team like us, so in the grand final we just played our game and enjoyed it – and on that day we were stronger”.

An intriguing part of Spirit‘s run to the title in DreamHack Open January was their handling of a six-man roster, which saw Patsi play multiple maps, replacing different players. The Russian team played with five different lineups throughout the group stage, swapping out every member besides Nikolay “⁠mir⁠” Bityukov.

“For DreamHack and practice before it, I just tried different combinations, sometimes contrary to players’ opinions,” Certus explained. But as the tournament progressed, the coach stopped tinkering with the roster: Patsi played just one map tin the playoffs, the 16-14 Inferno loss to BIG, in which he mustered only nine kills and a 0.64 rating. chopper admitted that their focus moving forward will be on playing as a five-man roster with a substitute player, rather than an active six-man lineup.

“The roster composition will most likely be 5+1 moving forward instead of 6,” the in-game leader said. “Patsi is still in the testing phase, and as he gets more experience we will evaluate where and when to slot him in”. The main reason for that isn’t Patsi‘s poor performance in the DreamHack tournament (0.82 rating from five maps), but rather Valve’s ruleset for Regional Major Ranking (RMR) events, which incurs penalties for every player swap.

“If all tournament organisers have the same clear rules about six-man rosters, we will move towards fully embracing it, but recently, Valve regrettably took a stance that destroys this approach,” Certus says. ” I don’t see how we can play some tournaments with five players and others with six. I haven’t decided yet, but most likely Patsi will be a substitute player in case of emergency.”

mir was Spirit’s best performer in 2020, averaging a 1.22 rating

With mir having reclaimed the form that he had as the star of CIS upset kings Vega Squadron, and with the addition of rising talent degster as a potent AWPer, Spirit have secured two of the region’s hottest prospects. The two players averaged a 1.27 and 1.29 rating in DreamHack Open January, proving crucial to Spirit‘s success in the tournament. But while praise is thrown their way, especially towards the new signing, who has already been labelled the squad’s best player by some, Certus plays down the hype and enforces a team-first view.

“We consider every player to be the best,” the coach said. “Stats can be deceiving – the player who has the best stats is not always the one with the highest impact. degster will give us more aggression, which is something I feel we lacked before. Abdul is a great asset, but he can play much better than he’s playing now. We will work on that.”

Spirit peaked at No.13 in the world rankings last year, and obviously have more to give now. What do they aim to accomplish in 2021? chopper‘s answer is simple: “Our team has the highest goals, we aim to break into the top 10 and stay there, to participate in every tier-one tournament while we gradually improve our team play and become a more stable team internationally.”

Their next challenge is the IEM Katowice Play-in, in which they will begin their campaign with a clash against Cloud9. “Our goal is to show what we prepared in practice, and to play at 100% – but we’re still a new team and qualifying is not a do-or-die situation for us,” chopper added. “Personally, I don’t think about the consequences of qualifying or missing out on the main tournament – I just think about our next game.”


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