High Rollers: The Biggest Prize Pools in Gaming

People might still be debating if gaming can be considered a sport yet, but one thing’s for sure: the cash prizes are insane! Almost every big gaming organization, be it Poker or Dota 2, hosts massive tournaments with freakishly large cash prizes that could convince more than a few people to play the games.

Although it’s tempting to start playing a game because of the immense cash prizes, do keep in mind it’s not just a case of trying to win. There are plenty of sponsorships and deals involved, contracts to read and sign, and of course, a lot of practice involved to get good at the game.

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Poker - $82,512,162

Perhaps the most ridiculous prize pool in anything gaming-related is the World Series of Poker in 2006, where the prize pool exceeded $80 million. This record has yet to be broken and still remains the largest prize pool in the history of both Poker and gaming. The grand prize for the winner was Jamie Gold, taking home a delicious lump sum of $12,000,000.

However, that isn’t the largest 1st prize amount in the history of Poker. That award goes to Antonio Esfandiari, winner of the 2012 WSOP Event 55. The prize pool was a total of $42,666,672, and Esfandiari took home a whopping $18,346,673. Talk about incredible money!

Very few professional Poker players have taken home multiple titles, but they do regularly attend even if they’ve won a huge cash prize in the past. They play for the love of the game, and of course, they need to invest money into the game to bet with!

While you may be wondering if you want to get into Poker, you can always try your hand online and play with the help of NetEnt Online Casinos. While the cash prizes aren’t as high as these amazing events, there’s still a lot of competition online and you’re bound to have fun.

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Dota 2 - $20,770,640

The next award goes to Valve’s Dota 2 MOBA game, an online multiplayer game where two teams of five compete on a virtual battlefield with different heroes. The goal of the game is to destroy the enemy’s base, and you do this by utilizing the abilities and items that each hero has access to. Team play is critical in Dota 2 because each character specializes in a different role—a bit like traditional sports. There’s a lot of skill involved to play, but the game is free so you can try it out whenever you want.

The biggest prize pool in Dota 2 goes to Valve’s very own international event: The International 2016. There were a total of 80 players which made up 16 teams, all who battled through regional qualifiers to reach the world stage. First place went to Wings Gaming, a new Chinese team that dominated most of the tournament. They took home a total of $9,139,002 to share among themselves, and that’s not including any sponsorships or other deals they may have been offered afterwards.

Dota 2 currently holds the largest prize pool of any competitive video game. In addition to holding the Number 1 spot, it also holds the Number 2 and 3 spots with The International 2015 and The International 2014. Valve has increased the prize pool each year, and much of the money came from fans who purchased special items and virtual tickets to support their favourite team. The prize pool has been steadily increasing throughout the years. The biggest jump was from 2014 to 2015, where the prize pool jumped to a staggering $8 million.

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League of Legends - $5,070,000

Developed by Riot Games, League of Legends is another MOBA game with similar rules to Dota 2. There are some big differences, but it’s the same style of 5v5 combat with a large selection of champions to pick and many items to help power them up.

Riot Games hosts their own league which is unique to each region that plays the game. The top performers of each league are given an invitation to the world tournament where they compete against other regions for dominance. In 2016, the 1st place prize went to the team SK Telecom T1, and they took home a total of $2 million to split between them out of the $5 million prize pool. SK Telecom T1 won the championship in 2015, making this their second win on the global stage.

Players that compete in Riot’s leagues are also offered a salary because there aren’t many tournaments with cash prizes. This enables the players to focus purely on improving themselves and playing the game instead of worrying about a stable income.

Gaming tournaments can reach ridiculous prize pools, but don’t let that trick you into quitting your job. It takes hard work, dedication, and a lot of skill to become a champion!