We all know that, for betting, making money is the number-one priority—otherwise, it wouldn’t be called betting. Knowing which games make the most money can be vital to how much you make. If you’re doing well on the bets but getting very little payout, what’s the point?
That being said, we’ve put together a list of the highest-paid esports games out there. These games all have a reputable influence in the video game industry, garnering millions of viewers and bettors throughout their season.
We’ll be taking a look at some of the top-paying esports games, as well as a few other minor esports which pay considerably well, how the prize pool affects bettors, and which esports events are the best events to bet on. What are we waiting for? Let’s get started!
5. Heroes of the Storm ($12,073,755.30)
Heroes of the Storm (or HOTS) is a MOBA (short for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) which centers around gameplay similar to that of games like League of Legends and Defense of the Ancients (or DOTA). Because Heroes of the Storm is a game built by Blizzard, it already has an audience built behind it.
However, Heroes of the Storm came quite late compared to DOTA and League of Legends, which were already the dominant names in the MOBA genre. That being said, most people didn’t expect the game to rise to the level of popularity that DOTA and LoL had achieved.
Due to the game’s pre-built audience, as well as references to other games like Overwatch and StarCraft II, Heroes of the Storm actually took off with speed, ousting other smaller MOBAs out there like Vainglory and Smite.
What sets them most apart, though, is their cash prize and the number of tournaments they have during their season. In total, Heroes of the Storm hosts the second most esports tournaments for Blizzard Entertainment and its arsenal of esport-worthy games.
They have had dozens of tournaments that award up to one hundred thousand dollars in cash prizes, with hundreds of tournaments that give at least ten thousand dollars to the competitors in their seasonal events.
It’s quite evident that HOTS (Heroes of the Storm) is a game which has ascended the ranks and has become a top esport in the competitive video gaming industry. This is one of the top games to bet on, and we highly recommend that you keep this game as one of your top picks for the esports betting scene.
4. StarCraft II ($26,177,843.77)
StarCraft II is one of the games which popularized esports and made it something big in regions like Korea and China. It dominated the Korean scene and made normal video gamers superstars due to their prowess in the game.
Despite experiencing a decrease in popularity during the later years, StarCraft II has since then regained a spot as a top esport. It doesn’t have a one-million-dollar tournament like Heroes of the Storm or League of Legends, but it certainly does have thousands of tournaments to pick from.
The tournaments range from small community tournaments to large-scale mass media events which are broadcasted live onto stations and networks.
The prize money doesn’t disappoint, either: StarCraft II has had several dozen tournaments which have awarded one-hundred-thousand-dollar cash prizes and above and several hundred tournaments that give up to ten thousand dollars as an award.
The sheer number of tournaments in StarCraft II, combined with a strong following in various regions, makes StarCraft II a perfect pick for your betting purposes, especially if you like to go old-school with some of your picks.
3. League of Legends ($49,991,253.79)
League of Legends is, by far, one of the most popular esports in the industry right now. The game’s versatility in playstyle and appeal to many different regions makes it a game that has amassed a following that goes into the hundreds of millions.
League of Legends has had tournaments which have given a couple million dollars in prize money to the competitors, with frequent events throughout the season that aren’t afraid to give at least $100K to the participants.
This esport is one of the largest esports out there, considering that it’s merged with NBA teams and has even reached mainstream media at certain times. They average hundreds of thousands of viewers during their World Championships, and when the seasonal tournaments begin, League of Legends bettors can rake in large amounts of prize money.
The 2016 World Championship gave away $5,070,000 in total to all of the competitors, with South Korea Telecom, the victors of the tournaments, taking $2,028,000 of that prize pool due to their first-place finish.
League of Legends has been known to be generous with their money. This is because League of Legends brings in more than enough revenue from their esports sponsors and the game to be able to give away prize money to each competitor.
During the 2016 World Championship, the poorest-performing teams walked away with $63,375, an amount that could fuel a team’s performance for the years to come and bring in opportunities for players.
The 2017 World Championship brought similar results. That year, $4,946,969 in prize money was given away. Samsung Galaxy, the victors of the 2017 World Championship, got $1,855,114 of the cash pool, while the lowest-performing teams received $24,735.
From the 2012 World Championship to the 2015 World Championship, the prize pool was averaging $2,000,000, with the top team always bringing home $1,000,000 for winning the tournament. Finally, in 2017, League of Legends finally saw its first Mid-Season Invitational cash prize of $1,690,000.
The game League of Legends has created several of the highest-paid esports teams in the industry of esports. With names like Team SoloMid, Counter Logic Gaming, and Cloud9 appearing from the very beginning of this prosperous esport, there’s no denying that LoL has become a cash cow for bettors.
In conclusion, League of Legends is a game which has been more than generous with the money they give away in tournaments. Even the lower-tier teams in secondary regions have been known to have a fair amount of success due to League of Legends providing other tournaments which still pay well.
That being said, League of Legends is a game which you can bet on if you want to bet either high-key or low-key. The game provides tournaments on both scales, which is why League of Legends is one of our personal favorites betting-wise.
2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ($51,483,280.35)
Named at the 2016 eSports Industry Awards as “eSports Game of the Year,” Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a game which millions of people have heard of, even if they don’t watch esports. Like League of Legends, CS:GO (short for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) has become an icon to the esports world.
CS:GO, a game focused around counter-terrorists versus terrorists, is game shared globally around the world, but it’s the Europeans which dominate the game. Korea has League of Legends, America has Call of Duty II, but CS:GO belongs to Europe.
For years, they’ve dominated the scene, bringing back various trophies, and with these trophies comes a hefty amount of prize money. During the 2017 World Electronics Sports Games, $1,500,000 was awarded to the competitors.
Fnatic, the winners of the tournament, took home $800,000 of the prize pool, with the rest being distributed based on ranking. This was the same for the 2016 WESG (World Electronics Sports Games) where the winner, EnVy Us, took $800,000 of the $1,500,000 prize pool.
While CS:GO may not have as large of a prize pool as League of Legends for its major tournaments, it still brings in a large flow of money, and this is thanks to the raw number of tournaments they have. They have several dozen tournaments which award $100,000 or more and other local tournaments that pay well to the competitors.
It’s a game where, for once, the Koreans or the Chinese don’t dominate, but rather, the Europeans and Americans do. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a game which has evolved into the icon for first-person shooters, and with it comes its own line of successful players.
They have up to a dozen players who have made over $500,000 on the game just based on winnings and sponsorships. Names like Gabriel Toledo, also known as FalleN, or Epitacio Pessoa—who goes by TACO in game—are just two of the many names that have made a successful career out of CS:GO.
However, you don’t have to be a CS:GO pro to make money off the game. Bettors who know what they’re doing can make mass fortunes due to the sheer number of tournaments which the game has during the season, and this means that there are no limits.
1. Defense of the Ancients 2 ($137,330,185.86)
The one game which dominates the esports industry by far in terms of prize money is Defense of the Ancients. This is the game which has made many of its players millionaires, and in the process, has made it one of the most successful esports during its era. There’s no doubt that Defense of the Ancients has the tournaments with the biggest prize pools.
DOTA (short for Defense of the Ancients) has several aspects in common to League of Legends. They’re both MOBA-based games, and before League of Legends came onto the scene, DOTA was the game that everyone watched.
To this day, Defense of the Ancients is still a major contender in the esports world. Despite having tough competition from LoL (League of Legends), CS:GO, and Overwatch, the one thing DOTA 2 still dominates is the prize pool it offers.
For veteran DOTA fans, it’s no surprise to see a prize pool that goes into the tens of millions. During the International 2017, $24,687,919 was awarded to the teams. The victor, Team Liquid, received $10,862,683, while second and third place took $3,950,067 and $2,592,231 respectively.
The International 2016 had $20,770,640 in total as the prize pool, and the first-place team, Wings Gaming, received $9,139,002 of the pool. Even the worst-performing teams received $103,852, an amount that some esports struggle to bring in.
That being said, Defense of the Ancients is one of the games that gives the most money to their competitors. This is possible through the revenue they bring in through the game, sponsors, and crowd-funding.
Because of this, almost fifty players on the DOTA 2 competitive scene have become millionaires. This alone reflects how much money DOTA 2 could potentially make you in the long run. This is why Defense of the Ancients 2 is one of our top choices for betting on esports.
Other Esports to Bet On
While these five esports have been known to provide the most profits, there are still some games out there which can be considered to be some of the top-paid esports. Some of these games are related to the games which we have covered before, while others are unique in their own way.
Hearthstone is a game produced by Blizzard, the company responsible for the creation of StarCraft II and Heroes of the Storm—two of the top-five-earning esports. The game is a card-based duel where players try to take down their opponent by belittling their lives until they reach zero.
With various cards and combinations to use, Hearthstone is a fast and exciting game. Because of this, the game was quick to advance into the world of esports. Also, because Hearthstone is individually based, the winnings are much higher for each individual.
That’s not all. With Hearthstone being a cross-platform game, meaning that people can play on mobile, console, or computer, it has become one of the highest-paid mobile esports, a feat that no other major esport has accomplished.
During the 2016 BlizzCon World Championships, $1,000,000 was given away in prize money. Pavel, the winner of the tournament, took home $250,000 and 2nd, and the 3rd/4th place took $150,000 and $100,000 respectively.
This is a game where understanding the combinations and game plan go into play. If you can think ahead and know what the opponent is planning on doing, then this is going to be the perfect esport to bet on for you.
It has a decent-sized prize pool, is based more on individual knowledge, and the stakes are much lower when it comes to considering how much you have to know going into the match. Keep your eye on this esport because it’s a potential cash cow.
If there’s something you need to know about Blizzard esports-wise, it’s that the company is very good at launching their games into the esports world. They’ve made some of the top-paid esports in the industry and are still making power moves to this day.
The Overwatch League has only recently started, but it’s become one of the top esports since its release. Since 2016, the game has awarded more than five million dollars in prize money! While they have not created any truly successful players who have gone on to create a lifestyle for themselves purely through career earnings, the game is quickly ascending to the top ranks of the esports ladder.
During 2016’s BlizzCon Overwatch World Cup, $288,000 was given away in prize money to the contestants. While most games usually award different amounts based on how you’ve done, the tournament gave away $18,000 to each team.
As a group that advocates smart betting and making profits, we think that Overwatch will soon dominate the best esports betting sites within the next few years. It’s already begun to make more profits than League of Legends and CS:GO did during their early years, meaning that they could be the next big thing.
What’s the Point?
So, what’s the point? What’s the point of knowing which esports are the top-paid esports in the industry? Why does it matter? Well, simply put, the highest-paid esports games directly correlate with how much you could potentially earn betting on these video games.
How much a game is willing to spend on its esport is a direct representation of how much they’re bringing in traffic-wise. This is why games like Defense of the Ancients 2 and League of Legends are willing to give up to several million dollars in prize money for their competitors.
However, that’s not all. Because these games are willing to spend so much, it also reflects a more vibrant betting community, and that’s exactly what we want! A vibrant betting community will mean more opportunity for success since there are more tournaments to bet on.
League of Legends has tournaments like IEM, the Spring and Summer Split, the Demacia Cup, and most notably, the World Championship. All of these games offer large prize pools with prospering betting communities that are reputable for the amount of money won.
This can be applied to big games like DOTA 2, CS:GO, and Heroes of the Storm as well. You wouldn’t want to go bet on a game which only has several hundred competitors, right? The engagement rate betting-wise would be way too low, and none of the top betting sites would want anything to do with them.
That’s why it’s best to know which of the esports award the most prize money: because it shows how successful their community is. And the stronger the community you have, the more chances you’ll get to make money.
Some of the Top Esports Events
Aside from knowing which esports have the biggest, highest paycheck, you should know which of these events gives these games their reputation for having such large prize pools. These events can provide paychecks that go up to one million dollars, meaning that for the bettors, you could be swimming in cash if you bet right.
League of Legends World Championship
Since the Season 2 World Championship, they’ve been giving away millions of dollars for the tournament. In Season 2, they had a prize pool of $2,000,000. During the Season 3 World Championship, the prize money went up to $2,050,000 with Season 4 and Season 5 both possessing prize pools of $2,130,000.
However, since 2015, they’ve seen a jump in how much was being given away. During the 2016 World Championship, the prize pool exceeded five million dollars, and the 2017 World Championship was almost ditto for that.
The prize money isn’t the only reason the World Championship is one of the best tournaments to bet on for League of Legends. The World Championship is when the best teams from every region come together to compete to become the best team in the world.
This means that the betting isn’t select to one region. It’s international. From here, it’s pretty simple to see that when there’s an international betting audience rather than a regional betting audience, there are more people.
More people means higher stakes, and higher stakes means a bigger chance to take home the fortunes. That’s why so many bettors get excited for the World Championship – because this is the time when everyone gets together, and the money starts rolling.
Mid-Season Invitational (League of Legends)
League of Legends is also known for its Mid-Season Invitational. While the World Championship occurs during the summer season, the Mid-Season Invitational is the tournament that comes after the Spring Split for the major regions.
It’s a tournament where—like the World Championship—the best teams come together to compete to become the top team in the world but on a smaller scale. The reason this tournament is one of our recommended picks is because it yields the same rewards as the World Championship.
Though not as many teams compete, the stakes are still as high between the regions. The only thing separating the two is that the World Championship yields a far larger prize pool. However, the Mid-Season Invitational has also seen an increase in prize money, meaning that there are more people watching and participating in the post-season tournament.
During the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational, the prize pool was $1,690,000, more than the previous tournaments. The winners of the tournament, South Korea Telecom, received $676,000 from the pool, while the runner-ups, G2 Esports, were given $338,000.
The MSI (Mid-Season Invitational) tournament is the biggest tournament in the spring season of the League of Legends competitive scene. Because of this, it’s a top choice as one of the biggest money-making opportunities during this time of the season and one of our favorite tournaments to bet on.
Spring/Summer Split (League of Legends)
One of the best events to bet on is the Spring or Summer Split. Each region, before the World Championship or Mid-Season Invitational starts, participates in a Split. It’s composed of a regular season and a playoff season.
The regular season is when every team plays against another team to determine whether or not they can move on to the playoff portion of the Split. The sheer number of matches played throughout the regular season are perfect for the betting audience since they have so many chances to make money.
However, that’s not the end of it. When the teams enter the playoff portion of the Split, stakes go up, thus raising the fortunes that could be earned. Plus, with more people watching as the Split continues on, you consistently continue to earn more, provided you know what you’re doing.
This is what makes the Spring or Summer Split such a strong choice to bet on. It’s a personal favorite of ours because we have so many chances to make money from the regular season to the playoffs. Everything from start to finish is exhilarating, and if you do poorly one day, you have another day to redeem yourself.
In the Summer Split, if your team doesn’t make it to the World Championship, as long as they did well enough in the regular season, they still have a shot at the international tournament through the regional qualifiers.
This tournament is yet another way for bettors to make money before the post-season tournament goes underway and gives the teams who did poorly in playoffs one more shot at redemption. This is a perfect tournament for novices and veterans alike to gain the full betting experience.
The International (Defense of the Ancients 2)
The International is the biggest tournament for DOTA 2. It hosts the biggest prize pool ever seen and is what millions of people tune into. This is the tournament where people will stop what they’re doing, even if it’s of utmost importance, to watch the game, and there’s a good reason why.
With so many of the top teams coming together to play in the most important tournament of DOTA 2, there are obvious stakes involved when it comes to the tournament. In 2017, with almost a quarter of a hundred million on the line, bettors and fans alike were watching every second of the tournament unravel.
Because Defense of the Ancients 2 has become an icon in the MOBA world, this tournament has shown some of the best gameplay and matches, as well as upsets which have turned the tables. Because of this, the International is a tournament which could be your key to fortune.
It’s like the World Championship of League of Legends or the WESG (World Electronic Sports Games) of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. This is the biggest DOTA 2 tournament of the season, and you’d be foolish not to put your money on this tournament.
ELEAGUE is a tournament event where games like Injustice 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, and Rocket League come together to play. Because of this, the number of games you can bet on is one of the main incentives as to why you should bet on this event.
It’s been a major tournament for CS:GO teams and has also hosted the Overwatch Open and Street Fighter V International. That being said, the sheer number of events and tournaments ELEAGUE hosts are perfect for bettors to use for their money-making schemes.
During its first season on the ELEAGUE, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive had a $1,410,000 prize pool. This shows how important of an event ELEAGUE is. With a large audience and numerous tournaments to choose from, ELEAGUE is a perfect choice for you when it comes to making your fortune.
World Electronic Sports Games
World Electronic Sports Games, or WESG for short, is an event that hosts CS:GO, Hearthstone, StarCraft II, and DOTA 2. They are based in Shanghai and organized by AliSports. WESG is not as large of a tournament as one would think.
Even though they are an internationally-based tournament, they bring in only a few strong teams which have competed in the past. However, despite this being said, it still brings in a large betting audience, meaning that you don’t need to worry about your time being wasted.
In fact, fewer teams are actually a good thing. It means that the odds would be more evened out since the matches would be less one-sided. This means that there would be a bigger margin for error, thus leading to a better chance of winning it all.
During the 2017-2018 DOTA 2 tournament, WESG had a prize pool of $1,500,000 in total. This was the biggest prize pool in the tournament at the time, tied only with CS:GO, who was also giving away the same amount.
World Electronic Sports Games is one of the most active tournaments to this day. It hosts some of the top games in the esports industry while also keeping it old-school for the vintage gamers and bettors who have been here since day one.
Intel Extreme Masters
Intel Extreme Masters, also known as IEM, is an event which has been around for more than ten seasons now. They’ve hosted tournaments in places like Katowice, Shanghai, and Dubai, making them an international tournament that has truly become notorious for the games they host.
Mainly known for their League of Legends, StarCraft, and CS:GO, Intel Extreme Masters has proudly given away more than $5,000,000 to teams and individual competitors alike. They’ve also been known to host games like World of Warcraft and Quake Live during their early years.
Teams like Team SoloMid, Counter Logic Gaming, and Fnatic have been known to compete in their League of Legends tournaments, while Ninjas in Pyjamas, SK Gaming, and FaZe Clan are frequent participants in their CS:GO events.
Since the start of season one in 2007, they’ve been slowly increasing in prize money. In season one, one hundred and sixty thousand pounds was the total prize pool, but by season eleven, the prize money had more than tripled to $1,373,750.
The one thing that separates the Intel Extreme Masters from other tournaments like ELEAGUE, WESG, and the World Championship for League of Legends is that IEM has multiple tournaments throughout one season.
In season eleven, there were three League of Legends tournaments: one in Oakland, one in Gyeonggi, and one in Katowice. This was the same for StarCraft II and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, both of which had tournaments in different areas and esports arenas.
This is what makes IEM such a profitable tournament to bet on. They don’t only have one tournament in one area, meaning that all of the best teams have to go there. They separate the tournaments to different areas so that the teams can be more distributed.
Wouldn’t it be better if your team didn’t have to go up against the titan Korean team South Korea Telecom but rather a team like Echo Fox? For instance, Longzhu Gaming, Team SoloMid, and Unicorns of Love were in Oakland during season eleven, while Flash Wolves, G2 Esports, and H2K-Gaming were in Katowice.
This not only means more chances for select teams to make it farther into the tournament, but it also means that you’ll have a bigger chance of winning it all. Because the competition is split up more among the teams, the tournaments are more diverse and yield different results.
This also means you can bet on various teams all at once throughout different areas. If you have a good feeling about Unicorns of Love because they’re doing well through a tournament in Oakland, but you also have your eyes set on G2 Esports because of their recent matches in Katowice, then you could bet on both teams despite them being in different tournaments.
If the teams both do well, you’ll yield double the fortunes because the two teams you’ve bet on won’t ever face each other, meaning that you have a chance to make even more than you would make if you were betting on a playoffs match during the Spring or Summer Split of the EU LCS or NA LCS.
There we have it. We’ve reviewed some of the highest-paid esports games, what significance this has on the betting scene, and some of the tournaments with the biggest prize pools.
Well, use it on your journey of betting on esports!
There are a lot of esports out there which provide a great opportunity for you to go make your first couple hundred bucks. Some of the top esports with the most money—like League of Legends, Defense of the Ancients 2, and StarCraft II—are also great picks for when you start out or are looking for new options.
We’ve learned about some of the top-paying esports. These esports are Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft II, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Defense of the Ancients 2. All of the games are our top picks when it comes to betting on certain video games.
However, we also learned why it’s important to know how much an esport can pay. The more an esport can pay, the more opportunities you’ll have for making money. It’s also a direct reflection of how much traffic they’re bringing into their tournaments.
Most people would watch a $100,000 tournament over a $100 tournament any day. When more people are watching, the stakes are higher, which means that there are more chances to make money.
Finally, we went over which of the tournaments were best for you to bet on. These tournaments were all very popular and had their own advantages in their own way. Some of these tournaments were top picks purely because of how much prize money they gave away.
Others were great choices because of the diversity and options they gave to their betting audience to choose from. Either way, all of the tournaments that were listed are reputable for being major choices for bettors, both novice and veteran.
In the end, we can’t tell you which esport you need to or must bet on, but we can give you suggestions based on our own experience and the facts. Moreover, the facts don’t lie. The tournaments and esports which we have chosen are currently some of the top in the industry and easily bring in viewership that goes into the millions.
Our goal is to help you make the money that we think you can make under the right guidance when it comes to becoming a bettor in the esports industry. We’ve given you the facts. We’ve given you the data, and now it’s your choice on how you want to use it.