One of the most anticipated StarCraft 2 tournaments is just around the corner, with the world's best players getting ready to fight for their share of $500,000 in prize money.
A legendary esports event, the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice is a CS:GO tournament held in Poland. In this guide, we'll go over all the participating teams, details about the schedule, as well as everything you need to know about IEM CS:GO betting!
The Dota Pro Circuit is in full flow. The next big tournament in this seasonal circuit is the PGL Arlington Major. Texas is the location, Esports Stadium Arlington is the venue of choice, and seventeen brilliant Dota 2 teams will be eyeing their chances here.
The LEC (League of Legends European Championship) is entering a new decade starting with the inaugural Winter split. From team rosters to an all-new tournament format, the league will be seeing much more competition.
The emergence of competitive gaming has seen gaming transformed from a hobby into a potential career, something that is sought by many who enjoy esports nowadays. In this article, we go over the most popular esports games and explain how you can start betting on tournaments and matches with the best bookmakers out there!
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Measuring the popularity of a game among players and esports audiences can be challenging, as there are various factors to take into account. For the sake of simplicity, we've chosen to rank the below titles by prize money, which in turn highlights the level of commitment that tournament organisers and game developers have towards elevating their games in the esports landscape.
The following list has been compiled to provide reliable insights into which games are popular in the esports community, and which ones are widely played by the general public.
Developed by Valve, Dota 2 is enjoyed all over the world; its 25 top earners hail from 16 different countries, which include the US, China, France, and Romania. It is also the second most popular option among esports punters online.
Primarily funded by fans purchasing items from the in-game Compendium, ‘The International’ offers a gigantic prize pool. This Compendium allows players to buy an array of goodies, such as new game modes, skins, and challenges. A quarter (25%) of the proceeds from these sales contribute towards the tournament's overall prize money. In previous years, this has resulted in a staggering sum of over $34 million, with the exception of the 2022 edition, which had a prize pool of $18,930,000.
Fortnite appeared on the esports scene with a blast and just kept going ever since. Its presence was felt in both the gaming and esports world and has reached incredible heights. For starters, Fortnite recently overtook CS:GO when it comes to total prize pool amounts over the years; however, its consistently high average monthly player counts is what really makes it stand out from its peers.
While the general hype over Fortnite has died down a bit compared to the game’s first two years, the esports scene for the game is still thriving and the numbers are still massive. Epic still organises regular Fortnite tournaments, some of which are open to all players. Meanwhile, Fortnite betting is available at most esports bookies.
Dating back to the early 2000s, CS:GO's current iteration has been entertaining players since 2012. The game sees frequent patches and updates, and also has a lucrative market in weapon skins. Every year sees major events taking place, such as IEM Katowice, DreamHack, and ESL One, alongside major leagues such as BLAST Premier and ESL Pro League.
The biggest tournaments here see prize pools of $1 million, with the IEM Katowice often garnering over a million viewers. Taking all of this into account, it comes as no surprise that CS:GO is one of the biggest esports games in 2023.
LoL is immensely popular all over the world, especially in Asia. In fact, the game has over 10 times as many players as Dota 2, making it the 4th most popular PC game across the globe. It is one of the two multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) titles that dominate esports, which also makes it a popular choice among bettors.
Since the game was launched 14 years ago, more than $99 million has been won over thousands of events. In terms of popularity and most prize money won, South Korea takes the number one spot, with eight of the top 10 global earners hailing from the country. The remaining two are Chinese players JackeyLove and xiaohu. In fact, the top 20 earners all hail from Asian nations (primarily South Korea and China).
Arena of Valor is a mobile game that’s been making insane rounds among the Asian esports community. However, as most tournaments are hosted in Asia, it might be a bit difficult finding bookies that support AoV betting. For more guidance on this, we recommend our betting academy.
The game is known by different titles (Honor of Kings, Garena ROV, Lien Quan, and others), depending on the country.
AoV's major tournaments are the AoV International Championship and the AoV World Cup, the latter of which managed to attract a peak viewership of 300,000 viewers in its most recent iteration. Meanwhile, the Championship had $1,685,000 in prize pool money.
Notably, Arena of Valor is also free to play.
Not only is PUBG a popular battle royale shooter, but it also has a mobile version with a pretty strong following. PUBG and PUBG Mobile are constant titles seen in esports, with hundreds of millions of players worldwide playing the game and millions watching the events.
It’s also a popular choice among punters due to its high-risk/high-reward nature – many PUBG tournaments feature a hundred players where only one winner can come out on top (or two if they’re playing Duos).
StarCraft is one of the oldest strategy esports games in the world. Its first edition in 1998 was a bestseller, and the game never lost popularity, going on to release the sequel StarCraft II in 2010. Most of its top players hail from South Korea, where it is also televised and enjoys immense popularity.
The ESL Pro Tour for StarCraft II has over $1.6 million in prize money, with qualifiers in Europe, North America, Latin America, Oceania and ROA, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. This means plenty of options for Starcraft II punters.
Although Ubisoft launched Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege back in 2015, the game still has a loyal following. Similar to CS:GO, in this 5v5 shooter, each team must assume the role of attacker or defender and perform various objectives such as planting / defusing a bomb, rescuing hostages or eliminating the enemy.
The biggest Rainbow 6 event each year is the Six Invitational which has, in recent years, featured a prize pool of $3,000,000. The best R6S teams compete in this event, providing many thrilling opportunities for bettors as well.
Hearthstone is Blizzard’s collectible card game. Although you can play it for free, you will have to pay for certain decks and expansions. The game is 1v1, with each player controlling 30 cards and a hero. The aim of the game is to destroy the other players’ cards and ultimately, their hero.
The game was released in 2014 and has become one of the most popular esports games in the world, reaching 18 million players in 2018.
Unfortunately, Hearthstone’s base has dropped significantly since then – its monthly average is currently at around 5,200,000 players.
The number of tournaments has also gone down, but not by a major amount. You’ll still be able to enjoy the action and place bets on your favourite teams.
Rocket League may be one of the most unique video games around. Its developer, Psyonix, describes the game as soccer with rocket-powered cars. In the game, two teams try to push the ball into the opposite team’s goal. Each player controls a single car, which can drive and boost around the map.
The Rocket League esports ecosystem consists of the Rocket League Championship (RLCS) and the Rocket League World Championship. The RLCS sees three seasonal tournaments (consisting of three European and three American events, followed by a major).
The Rocket League World Championship had a $2,085,000 prize pool and featured 10 teams competing for the grand prize, with Team BDS ending up the winners.
Apex Legends is a team-based battle royale game featuring 3v3 gameplay. Its first esports series took place in January 2020, and since then, its presence in the esports industry has grown significantly. In fact, it is now the 11th highest-earning esports game in terms of total prize money.
The most prestigious and lucrative tournament here is the Apex Legends Global Series, which offers a whopping $2,000,000 in prize money. This event serves as a platform for top-tier teams and players to showcase their skills and compete against one another for a chance to win big.
VALORANT is similar to both CS:GO and Overwatch, where players can use agent abilities to dramatically alter the game outcome, though aiming, shooting, and team strategy are still massively important.
The game was launched in 2020 but has already climbed to the 12th spot with almost 900 tournaments hosted to date. The largest and most prestigious of these is VALORANT Champions. The 2022 edition of this event was won by Brazilian organisation LOUD.
This battle royale game tells the story of 50 players fighting for survival on a remote tropical island. The game has achieved huge popularity all over the world but especially in India after PUBG was banned in the country. The drawback here is that there are only a couple of bookies that offer Garena Free Fire betting, since the game is primarily popular in Asian countries.
CoD Warzone is currently the most popular Call of Duty game when it comes to esports, with more than 1,200 professional players who have competed against each other in over 377 tournaments in the past. The game also enjoys a healthy online population of casual players, with more than 53 million average monthly playing the game.
Other CoD games also have a presence in esports, but CoD Warzone is definitely the most popular of the bunch at the moment.
SMITE is a MOBA, slightly reminiscent of Dota 2 and LoL, though the gameplay is very different. Instead of viewing your hero (in this case a god, goddess, or other mythological figures) from above, you view your fantasy character from behind, creating a more immersive gameplay experience.
The most important esports event for Smite is the Smite World Championship. The SWC 2022 had an estimated prize pool of $400,000. The game draws moderate attention from bettors as well, with a few bookies offering bets on Smite.
Mobile Legends is a mobile MOBA game that shares some similarities with League of Legends. The game was released in 2016 and currently numbers more than 70 million average monthly players, most of which hail from China and South Korea.
The annual Mobile Legends World Championships are the game’s biggest esports events, with most having a prize pool larger than $800,000. For a game that doesn’t host too many esports tournaments, Mobile Legends is quite respected in the Asian market and is on par with most other mobile games.
Wild Rift is Riot Games’ mobile version of League of Legends but on its own, it’s a pretty unique game. Most fans describe it as faster and better than LoL, with arguably better graphics and animations.
It quickly rose to fame when it comes to esports, but not as much as VALORANT, Riot Games’ other new esports game. You can expect to bet on tournaments such as Twitch Rivals, Wild Rift Rivals, and the Icons Global Championship.
World of Warcraft is a game that needs no introduction. It took over the world by storm almost 20 years ago and up until now, more than 100,000,000 players registered an account. It remained at the top of gaming lists until a few years ago when the player counts slowly started dropping.
Nonetheless, WoW still has more than 9 million average monthly players and a relatively healthy esports ecosystem, with dozens of tournaments being held each year.
Overwatch 2 was released in October 2022 as a sequel to the original game. Although there aren’t a lot of new mechanics, the developers have overhauled all heroes and made certain changes to maps to promote new gameplay strategies.
The original Overwatch is no longer being played in esports tournaments because Overwatch 2 took its place. Having said that, the game is being heavily promoted and the tournaments (such as the Overwatch League) haven’t changed all that much, so your betting experience won’t be too different from before.
In the 20th spot with more than $5.5 million in prize money, Call of Duty Mobile is no doubt a highly popular game among regular gamers. The game was released in 2019 and it’s evident the developers have focused on expanding and improving the game than investing in esports too quickly.
However, there have been a couple of high-profile tournaments, such as the CODM World Championship, whose 2022 iteration featured a $1,700,000 prize pool. There’s no doubt that we’ll see more action in 2023 so you’ll definitely be able to place some bets on this game.
Esports betting is, for the most part, relatively simple when you’re just starting out. However, the real fun begins when you start planning betting strategies, utilizing the power of bet builders, and using the knowledge you’ve gained through research to maximize your chances.
So, if you’re looking to start esports games betting, these are the steps you should take:
The best esports games for betting can mean different things based on what you’re looking for. We’ve divided them into a few categories to help you get started with understanding which games are for you based on a couple of factors:
While these games are filled with interesting betting markets, excellent odds, and numerous esports tournaments, the primary reason you’d choose these is for simplicity. LoL sometimes has clear favourites when it comes to high-profile tournaments, Rocket League is a simple game in and of itself, and FIFA is basically football but in virtual form.
High-risk/High-reward bets are those that require the punter to know the game a bit deeper (mechanics, features, etc.) and get pretty lucky with their bets. Most games that you’d bet on that belong in this list are Battle Royale games where there are 100 players (in most cases) that you can bet on. So, even if one of the players is the most skilled, they’ll have to fend off the other 99 which can be incredibly difficult.
Dota 2 and VALORANT are pretty complex which enables bookies to create some outstanding and unique betting markets. Overwatch 2 isn’t as complex, but the overall gameplay is very fast-paced and entertaining, hence why it also belongs in this section.
Keep in mind that these categories are not exclusive, meaning that just because we placed Dota 2 in the ‘Betting Market Variety’ section doesn’t make it bad when it comes to odds or other betting features. In essence, all esports games are great but it’s the specifics that make the difference between choosing one or the other.
Esports are competitive games where professional players compete in well-organised tournaments and potentially earn real prize money. These players are usually a part of professional teams and organisations who make at least part of their living from prize money, as well as sponsorships.
Often, these esports events are set up around a league, allowing pro players to compete for the best ranking in their respective games. Almost all competitive video games could become esports titles; however, not all of them count as esports games.
Esports games are games that feature an esports ecosystem. They have offline or online competitive tournaments where professional esports teams and their players compete against each other for prestige and prizes.
The top 5 esports games in the world (based on total prize pool amounts) are Dota 2, Fortnite, CS:GO, League of Legends, and Arena of Valor.
There are no specific rules pertaining to a game being played in a competitive setting except that none of these games is purely single-player. There needs to exist the ability to fight or compete against other players. The most common genres that are found in esports are FPS, MOBA, and Battle Royale games.
Many esports games, especially mobile games, are free to play. Our top 5 free-to-play esports are:
Of course, most of these games come with microtransactions. Players can use real money to buy in-game features, such as gold, skins, heroes, weapons, etc.
The biggest game in esports is CS:GO, both in terms of viewership, the size of the prize pools, and bets placed. Dota 2 and LoL come in second and third.
Through our in-depth guides and reviews, we are focused on providing the best insights into esports betting.