Poker fans will have noticed that the game has been changing over the past few decades. The advent of the internet and the ability for people to develop their poker skills by themselves online has opened the field to anyone who wants to get involved – which has given bettors more opportunities to choose who to back. Similarly, the growth of eSports has meant that anyone can become a pro-gamer through practice at home and then go on to succeed and win big in tournaments. They may seem like completely different pastimes, but how are poker and eSports more similar than most people realise?
One of the main similarities between betting in poker and betting on eSports is that those who tend to do well do really well. Poker tournaments – including the World Series of Poker – generate a huge number of spectators and many players. The 2019 WSOP had 8,569 entries for the $10,000 Main Event, for instance. Those who win big at respected poker tournaments end up becoming well known – such as Daniel Negreanu, Justin Bonomo, and Phil Ivey.
The same works for eSports and those who get involved by playing, betting, and spectating. Regular eSports players are able to eschew their skills in the games in order to become successful professionals, much like those who rise through the ranks at poker. For example, Johan “N0tail” Sundstein won $6.8 million through playing Dota 2, while Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth won $1.7 million from his ability to play well on first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Much like poker players are able to become pro from almost nowhere, so too are eSports. This homegrown, grassroots talent is often a big pull for bettors.
One of the main pulls of betting on poker is deciding who is the most skilled player, both in the ability to bluff their way to the end and to analyse what their opponents might do next. Picking a winner when betting is somewhat of a skill in itself. People will watch previous games and see which players are better, choosing to support those they think will win. The same works for eSports as players rise through the ranks and qualify for major tournaments by showing their prowess with the game. Many of the games are based on co-operation, teamwork, and strategy, so it takes a varied skillset in order to be good.
Streaming platform Twitch often showcases the various people who excel at certain games. As eSports betting sites show, there are a wide range of different kinds of games on offer for betting – from Counter-Strike to FIFA, League of Legends to Dota 2. Each one requires a different skill set which will appeal to a different kind of player. Poker is the same. Some events with certain rules will appeal more to certain players, whose skills are reflected by those particular game formats.
eSports and poker may have appeared from two different areas of gaming, but they have a lot of similarities. Those who play both can succeed from almost nowhere to become professionals, while the winner is often decided more by skill than anything else. For betting, both require you to do research into who you might want to back based on logic and skill. Unlike betting on a traditional sport, which is open to more variables, poker and eSports are often led by those who choose to partake in them. The two are a lot more similar than most people think.