Paddy’s Guide to the world of Esports: Here’s everything you need to know

Here is our short introduction to the world of professional Esports gaming.

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The world of Esports has been on a steep rise, so much so that he casual sports bettor is now taking notice of Esports.

These days, punters and traditional sport lovers alike are looking for something to have a flutter on and Esports has become a lean-to for many who would never have considered it before. With organisations from Munster Rugby to Formula 1 getting heavily involved, it’s clear that there’s no time like the present to jump right in!

See: F1 Drivers compete in Esports Virtual GP

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History, Tournament and Match Structures

Although the history of professional Esports is relatively short, the world’s first Esports tournament was actually staged in October of 1972, at Stanford University on Spacewar!

Things have come a long way since then with professional leagues now commanding entrance fees of up to $25million per team and tournaments such as DOTA2’s ‘The International’ giving a first-place prize of $15.6m. That’s bigger than the likes of the FedEx Cup in 2019, where Rory McIlroy collected $15m for his troubles.

Fixtures usually last between 1-3 hours, depending on the Esports title (Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty, DOTA 2 and more). Competition structures will vary between Leagues and Cups, with leagues running for weeks or months and culminating in play-offs (think NFL). Cups have a few different paths to victory, these normally follow one of three structures:

  • Group Stage into playoffs – Groups of teams play a Round-Robin to decide who reaches the knockout stage.
  • Single Elimination Bracket – Round of 16, Quarter Final, Semi Final etc, win and you’re in!
  • Double Elimination Bracket – Similar to Single elimination but upon losing a match, a team will then drop into a lower bracket for a chance at redemption

Teams or Players will typically play more than one match in a day, sometimes even against the same opponents. It’s not uncommon for a team to play multiple times vs another in the same competition with results being reversed; subtle adjustments are often the difference between winning and losing at the top level.

Popular tournaments unfolding right now are the ESL Pro-League (CS:GO), LCK Spring Split (League of Legends) and the LPL Spring Split (League of Legends).

Play is fast and player reaction times are even faster. Unlike traditional sports, the overwhelming majority of Esports is broadcasted via the internet (mostly to Twitch.tv) for free. Commentary and game breakdown are both done professionally to make it easy to understand for those of you who may be new to the Esports phenomenon.

Most pro matches will be Best of 3 with Grand Finals often being Best of 5. Within those series there are many diverse game types from Capture the Flag to Search and Destroy – where teams alternate between attacking and defending an objective.

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How to bet on Esports?

We offer a wide variety of titles including CS: GO, League of Legends, FIFA and Call of Duty to name a few. Each title will contain multiple tournaments spanning the globe so, Esports is a truly 24/7 beast. Find your niche, turn on our in-play streaming and get to work – don’t forget our Acca Insurance offer and Power Prices for that extra boost!

Now we come to the nitty gritty. The ins and outs of individual Esports so let’s break down our most popular, one by one.

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)

One of the world’s oldest and most popular Esports titles with over 20m unique players getting involved on CS:GO in March 2020 alone. This first-person shooter is a real heavy hitter, the average map lasts between 20-50 minutes with best of 3 matches often lasting circa 3 hours.

The specifics:

  • 5 vs 5 format – Teams play two halves, one attacking (Terrorists) and one defending (Counter-Terrorists) the 2 objective areas. Each half consists of up to 15 rounds with the first team to reach 16 rounds being declared the winner.
  • Rounds are just under 2 minutes long and can be won by eliminating the opposing team, running out the time on defence or successfully destroying the objective whilst on the attack.
  • Each player has an array of weapons available to them, more impactful weapons will cost more and vice versa. As such, controlling the economy of the opposing team is also an important factor in every match and is often the difference between victor and defeat.
  • Competitions are played on a rotation of 7 different maps, each with a unique layout made to suit certain strategies and play styles.

Popular markets:

  • Match Betting (H2H)
  • Correct Score
  • Map Handicap
  • Total Maps
  • Map X Winner (2-Way)
  • Map 1 Winner (3-Way)

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League of Legends (LoL)

The world’s most successful Esport in terms of size and longevity. Every month this titan is played by over 100 million active users. Last year (2019) the LoL World Championships averaged over 1.2million concurrent viewers for 8 days of competition. The average match of LoL lasts between 20-50 minutes.

The specifics:

  • 5 vs 5 format – Each player controls their Champion (character) from above in a 3rd person view. There are currently 134 different Champions. A player who is eliminated by an enemy will respawn after a time-out period or pay to skip this time-out.
  • Each team has a base they must guard from their opponents while simultaneously attacking their opponent’s base, known as a Nexus. The map contains 3 different lanes, top, middle and bottom.
  • To progress down a lane towards the enemy Nexus, teams must first destroy opposing Turrets. Each lane has an Outer Turret and Inner Turret. These lead to the Inhibitors and finally the Nexus Turrets. Each must be destroyed in sequence starting with the Outer Turret for a lane to progress.
  • Elimination of in-game Non-Player Controlled (NPC) objectives such as the Baron Nashor and Elemental Dragons awards a player gold. Gold can be used for purchasing upgrades on the fly, unlocking new abilities and buying back from death before the respawn timer expires. As the match progresses characters will unlock their trademark traits to help their team gain control over the enemy territory and hence win the map.

Popular markets:

  • Match Betting (H2H)
  • Map X Winner (2-Way)
  • Correct Score
  • Map Handicap
  • Total Maps
  • Map 1 Winner (3-Way)
  • Map 1 – First Blood (1st elimination)
  • Map 1 – First Baron
  • Map 1 – First Tower
  • Map 1 – First Inhibitor

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Defence of the Ancients 2 (DotA 2)

DotA 2 boasts the biggest prizes of all Esports. A rapidly growing player pool and some innovative promotions have led to prize pools for Dota’s World Championship ‘The International’ or ‘TI’ exceeding $36 million in only its 9th year. Placing first in TI9 earned the winning team $15.6 million, just over 5 times more than what Novak Djokovic was awarded for Wimbledon 2019

The specifics:

  • 5 vs 5 format – Each player controls their Hero (character) from above in a 3rd person view. There are currently 119 different Heroes. A player who is eliminated by an enemy can respawn after a time out period.
  • Each team has a base they must guard from their opponents while simultaneously attacking their opponent’s base, known as an Ancient. The map contains 3 different lanes, top, middle and bottom.
  • To progress down a lane towards the enemy Ancient, teams must first destroy opposing Towers from Tier 1 – Tier 4. Each must be destroyed in sequence starting with the Tier 1 tower for a lane to progress and the enemy base to be pressured.
  • Elimination of in-game Non-Player Controlled (NPC) objectives such as Roshan and awards a player gold and experience. Gold can be used to purchase upgrades and even buy back from a death instantly to re-join the fray. Experience helps players to reach new levels which unlocks more potent abilities.

Popular markets:

  • Match Betting (H2H)
  • Map X Winner (2-Way)
  • Correct Score
  • Map Handicap
  • Total Maps
  • Map 1 – First Aegis
  • Map 1 – First Tower
  • Map 1 – First Barracks
  • Map 1 – 2-Way Most Kill

Call of Duty (CoD), Starcraft II (SC2) and much, much more!

Now that we’ve covered the biggest and most popular titles from an Esports perspective, let’s look at some of the fan favourites. Whilst these games may not boast the prize pools of DotA 2 or the competition viewership of LoL, they hold a special place in the hearts and minds of the general population.

With the CoD and FIFA franchises both having sold around 300 million copies, these juggernauts are only scratching the surface of their Esports potential but their player bases absolutely dwarf the likes of the largest and most popular Esports.

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Call of Duty (CoD)

A first-person shooter which has been set across many different times. From the trenches of WWII to futuristic landscapes, every year the winter release generates a buzz like no other. The $25 million entry fee per team for the Call of Duty League (CDL)

The specifics:

  • 5 vs 5 format – Competitive matches are generally best of 5 with teams playing across three modes. Hardpoint, Search and Destroy and Domination.
  • Hardpoint – The teams must rush to secure a “hardpoint” on the map and protect the area from the enemy team. Holding the hardpoint increases the teams’ score but, if no players are in the hardpoint, no points are gained. The Hardpoint switches to different set rotational positions on the map several times during the match. A point is granted every second a single team is present in the Hardpoint up to a limit of 250.
  • Search and Destroy – Taken from CS:GO, in this mod teams alternate attacking and defending the 2 objective areas. Each game consists of up to 11 rounds with the first team to reach 6 rounds being declared the winner. Rounds can be won by eliminating the enemy team, running out the time on defence or detonating the bombsite on attack.
  • Domination – Teams play 2 rounds of 5 minutes contesting three control points scattered around the map in key strategic locations. To capture a control point, a player must stand near it for 10 seconds with no enemies nearby to capture it for their team.

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Starcraft II (SC2)

When Blizzard Entertainment released the first Starcraft in 1998 they had no idea the cultural phenomenon it would become, specifically in South Korea. Ever since then, the Starcraft franchise has had a stranglehold on South Korean pop culture with everyone from telecommunications companies SK Telecom to Samsung picking up teams as early as 2003 or competition. Though there has been a decline in recent years in popularity, the franchise continues to attract players globally.

The specifics:

  • 1 vs 1 – A real-time strategy game, matches are played on a multitude of different maps, each player chooses one of the three different races – Zerg, Terran or Protoss – and tries to conquer their opponent.
  • Each player must gather both Minerals and Gas, these are used to create units and buildings as the game progresses.
  • A variety of techniques and strategies are applied in every professional game, from the first minute ‘all-out’ attack to the late game slow grind to victory. Players often perform in excess of 500 actions per minute, over the course of a 3-hour match that’s around 90,000 interactions.

As mentioned earlier, in most competitions each player or team will face off multiple times a day/week. In terms of searching for/finding results and fixtures, your best friends are going to be HLTV, Gosugamers and Egamersworld. Find your favourite and follow their journey like any traditional sports fan! Betting in-play provides plenty of betting options and opportunities with several markets available throughout each game.

Most importantly – HAVE FUN!

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