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What is Esports?
Firstly, esports is competitive video gaming it’s a skill based matchup between two players or teams of players in a virtual space. Esports is a headline word used to cover all games – in the same way as sports covers football, basketball etc. – so it’s common to see this word everywhere and attached to each game. Tournaments, leagues and matches talk place on computers, consoles and increasingly mobiles. Players are the highest standard and train to compete with some playing 8-12 hours a day to stay at the very top. Teams employ nutritionists, sports psychologists and managers as, after all, they are competing for millions in prizes.
While a lot of developers would like to create games, which will be played as esports only a few make it and even fewer make it to betting markets. Only the biggest tournaments at the moment will be open to bet on due to the age of the industry, it’s still relatively new!Esports Games
We’ll give a fairly short explanation of each of the big games which are open for esports betting to get you up to speed with each game. You don’t have to play a game to learn about it, with more and more fans watching games over playing them, in the betting industry it is no different.League of Legends
A Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) which transfers to simply an online only game where players compete in a single area to be victorious. In League of Legends (LoL) this can be boiled down to the team who destroys the enemy nexus wins how they get there is the skill and how the better team usually wins. Across the map (Summoners Rift) there are several objectives such as Dragon & Baron which when the enemy slays the NPC they receive a bonus which will help them defeat the enemy team. Before the game starts players choose from a pool of champions which they take turns to select in order to counter or block opponents from creating the perfect line-up.Call of Duty
The hugely successful franchise by Activision is an annual release on PlayStation, Xbox and PC with the console titles a lot more popular. Each year the gameplay remains fairly similar however the era of which the game is staged in changes so may go back to WW2 or future years combat. Call of Duty is a first-person shooter title with different game modes played such as Search and Destroy, Uplink, Capture the Flag, Domination and Hardpoint depending on which modes work best with the new game.DOTA
DOTA 2 is the original MOBA and although League of Legends is more famous in esports due to their LCS program. DOTA holds the crown for the most prize money given away for a single tournament, The International prize money is crowd funded through in game items. $21 Million prize pool is more than enough to motivate the community to reach the top spots.StarCraft
StarCraft is a Real Time Strategy (RTS) where the sole aim is to eliminate the opponents base and army. Players have the choice of three races: Proton – the futuristic race, Zerg – the classic alien race and Terran – The humans which equipped with guns and airships. No single race is the best or the one to choose but each has their advantages and disadvantages and styles of play.Players Unknown Battle Grounds/H1Z1
A massive online world which players are parachuted into at random locations. Players then compete to be the last one alive in the world. The map gets smaller as the game goes on with gas pushing the players together to ensure that games do not last forever. As soon as players land they are immediately on the hunt for loot in the form of armour, weapons and vehicles. In esports teams have been introduced with squads now working together to be the last squad alive.

The footballing games are the easiest to cross into the mainstream for esports as every university dorm or workplace has someone who believes they are the best at FIFA or PES. Both games are played on console with the controller with tournaments now large enough for real football clubs to be creating their own esports teams.

CounterStrike: Global Offensive
CounterStrike (CS) is one of the oldest and most successful esports titles which has only continued to grow over time. The latest release was a slow one that initially did not get picked up by the esports crowd but a esports first strategy slowly brought teams and players over making it now one of the biggest esports games. The premise is for two bomb sites which teams take turns to attack and defend from each other. Players play in first person and get in game currency to purchase better weapons and equipment depending on their performance.

Essentially a card game which has been made into a video game, players purchase and earn packs to open which all have different abilities and moves. The goal of the game is the defeat the enemy while they try to do the same. Players deploy cards from their deck in order to attack or defend, the skill is having the right deck to counter all opponents as well as playing them at the right moment. Hearthstone is a game which looks very simple but lots of strategy and forward planning go into each move.

Blizzard’s latest release is one of the esports big boys now having launched in Mid-2016. Teams of six compete in an objective based mode where they must gain control or hold zones or escort a payload across the map while the opposing team attempts to stop them. Players can choose from a collection of heroes which all have individual traits which suit various playstyles. The Overwatch League was launched for esports with a $20 Million buy-in for teams it’s sure to be high production value and entertainment.

Tournament Formats
While each game has its own variations of each format to suit their programming and schedules there are some pretty standard formats which you need to know.
Best of Series – In esports one of the most common elements is there are very few one game matches where the winner is decided. Most series will be decided over a best of two, three, five or seven dependant on the game and how long each game lasts. While a best of two can mean a draw, this is usually only used in a league where they’ll play regular matches and against multiple opponents over a season.
Single Elimination – Teams or players compete in a seeded bracket and play against one opponent each round with the winner advancing and the loser being eliminated. The bracket continues until there is only one player or team left.
Double Elimination – Teams or players compete in a seeded bracket against a single opponent each round the winner advances to the next round while the loser is sent to the ‘loser’ or ‘lower’ bracket. Teams in the lower bracket compete against other teams which have lost once in a bracket system until there is only one team left in the lower bracket. The winner of the lower bracket and the winner of the winners bracket then play in the grand finale to crown a victor.
Round Robin Groups – All teams play each other once in a group stage, players or teams are then given placed in the group based on series wins/losses, game wins/losses and head to head in the event of a tie. Groups usually host four teams however this could be more. This format usually leads into a bracket with the bottom two teams from each group being eliminated.
Bracket Groups – Teams or players are placed into a group of players however they do not play each team, instead they are drawn into a bracket between those teams dependant on their seed. This is a double elimination bracket with fixtures laid out like a bracket between those teams. The winners of round one plays the other winner while the losers play each other and then the winner of losers game one plays the team that lost in winners round two. Sounds complicated in text but it really isn’t!
Best of Series – In esports one of the most common elements is there are very few one game matches where the winner is decided. Most series will be decided over a best of two, three, five or seven dependant on the game and how long each game lasts. While a best of two can mean a draw, this is usually only used in a league where they’ll play regular matches and against multiple opponents over a season.

Where can you watch?
If you’re interested in placing a bet, it’s best to watch some of what is going on to get an idea for the games, teams and players. It will be your decision as to how many hours of esports you are going to watch. Watching the games being played will familiarize you with what you are actually betting on. It will also help you see how eSports players react in certain situations. As a lot of the players are quite young and it can be that the best is new to the big stage it’s good to know if and when they’ll start to crumble when the pressure is on. Something that stats simply don’t show you.
Twitch – Twitch is the biggest of the lot, by far, if you’re planning on consuming esports and video games in general. There is a lot on Twitch to view so you do need to navigate your way through a lot of irrelevant streams. Twitch formed out from the successful but now defunct when they realised how many people were logging on to broadcast games without any real home. Nowadays it’s owned by Amazon and broadcasts all most each and every esports event or tournament from Riot Games’ LCS to basement tournaments with webcam streams. The esports betting market will focus on the big ones which will usually be on the front page of Twitch or top of the game for viewers.
YouTube – Reacting a little late to Twitch, YouTube set up their YouTube Gaming brand which caters for esports but also casual gaming for big YouTubers. Most of the audience of esports events go to Twitch but YouTube has good functionality and a system which some users prefer. You’ll find it hard to find streams for research however here though.
MLG – Since Activision bought MLG they have retained their broadcasting platform which they use to exclusively broadcast some of Blizzards esports ventures. This in recent time hasn’t been used as much as esports fans prefer the above, but something to consider if you can’t find a Blizzard game on Twitch or YouTube.
GINX – A TV station which has thrown its weight behind esports and one of the first to do it. A 24-hour service which covers esports and games, although won’t broadcast entire events or tournaments the highlight packages are usually a good way to keep up to date and in the loop with goings on in esports especially for the casual viewer. You can find this on Sky, Virgin, BT and other set top boxes in a number of different countries also.

Esports Irregularities
Esports is still a new industry and one which is growing and learning as it does, so there are some things which you’ll find a different to regular sports.

Roster Changes
Roster changes are far more common in esports than other sports, while there are contracts in place for the biggest teams there may be trading of players far more often than you’re used to. Each esport might have a transfer period but they are all different and usually are just the time between tournaments other than a formal period for when teams should be trading players. League of Legends, as with many things in esports, sets the standard for roster changes. Teams are allowed to name two substitute players across the season which they can slot into the team as they see fit. These players also have to receive a salary from both the organisation and Riot Games so they must be real substitutes ready to play in the first team line-up.
Similarly, to fantasy football, you need to be ready to adapt to the latest line-ups as they change during the season. It’s worth checking on the rosters before you’re placing a bet to make sure that the roster you think is actually going to be playing.

Professional Players
It might be a game but the players are highly skilled and drilled in what they need to do so there’s no or little fun involved for them, it’s competition. You’ll not find players at the highest level having fun or slacking off in the same was you won’t in traditional sports so while an underdog team might have good odds you think could cause an upset they are up against it. Esports players don’t physically tire or burnout very quickly and the best teams can reset and play match after match. Underdog victories are rare so be cautious when backing an underdog, especially in bigger tournaments.

Fan Favourites
Esports is an industry with millions of fans which is growing every day, as it does it brings more fans of generally a younger age than traditional sports. The fans in esports can be dedicated and can ask like a teenage fandom of a celebrity pop band, this can alter the odds. OpTic Gaming and Team SoloMid are two perfect examples of huge fan bases who believe they can and will win each game and tournament, they’ll follow them not only with support but via bets. You need to be able to spot when a fan favourite has altered the odds and when they really are the favourite. To do this, it’s best to look into the stats and the form of each team or player before you check out the odds. Once you’ve done that use a couple of different bookmakers to compare the odds, if the mainstream bookmakers have the odds very different to some smaller ones there could be a fan rush on bets which has altered the odds automatically.

Smaller Tournaments
Keep an eye on the smaller tournaments and leagues, some esports teams no matter their size simply can’t or won’t travel to every tournament. It’s worth checking out the full teams which are competing, an easy way is by looking into the championship winner market, as sometimes the big guns might give it a miss if the prize money isn’t enough or the schedule conflicts with something else. An underdog could pick up a win, with a better chance of actually doing it when the big teams aren’t present.

Fixed Games
In esports it’s generally younger males which play in tournaments and reach the highest levels which then compete for a lot of prize money. There’s a scope to say that these players will throw games or be involved within match fixing but the number of cases are very small. As bigger tournaments with larger prize pools and gambling laws have to be followed players are investigated if there’s irregular results, with examples made of players who participate in this kind of activity.
In esports as with every other sport there’s a couple of bad apples but the betting and esports industries as a whole are legitimate and fair.

Betting Odds Explained
Decimal – Decimal odds are growing in popularity in recent times which has seen them available as an option now on almost all bookmakers. Both methods of displaying the odds work in a similar way, just have a different way to work out the return (although modern online betting will show you the return on a bet slip). A return using decimal odds can be worked out by multiplying the stake against the odds which will equal the potential return.
A £20 stake at 3.00 odds will return £60
£20 x 3.00 = £60
Fractional – Fractional odds are the more traditional method for displaying odds, the most usual odds are 100/1, 10/1, 2/1 etc. A number /1. This signifies for every £1 that you stake you stand to return £100, £10, £2 etc. This can then be multiplied for larger stakes. Meaning a £3 stake at 2/1 will return £6 + your stake of £3.
A £20 stake at 3/1 will return £80.

Types of Bets
While there are lots of bets on offer, in esports betting there aren’t many available. We’ve outlined the main two which you’re likely to use.
Single Bet – Your stake goes against the odds for that particular market and if that single outcome becomes history you’ll receive your stake plus winnings.
Accumulator – A combination of different outcomes, most commonly used for match results, an accumulator hold be any number of potential bets with each of the individual odds multiplying as more are added. You can find an accumulator calculator online via a search or use your bet slip to work out the best combination of outcomes.

First blood – Commonly used in fighting, MOBA or FPS games this signifies the team or player which will get the first kill in the game.
Map winner – As esports is can be played in a best of series this signifies who you predict to win certain maps or games.
First Baron – Suited only to League of Legends, which team will kill the baron first.
First Tower – Suited only to League of Legends, which team will kill the first tower on the map.
Knife Round – Suited only to Counter Strike (CS) which team will win the pistol round.
Most Kills – Total kills across a map or game for an individual player or team.

Choosing a Bookmaker
A tough decision which all of us will need to make, but there’s no need to stick to the single bookmaker, as more bets start to be placed. TV ads, brand endorsements and comical social media posts might be what gets you to recognise their name but the biggest isn’t necessarily the best.
At esportsbet we have a number of offers which will be the best for introductory (new) customer offers are always the most attractive as the hook to get people onto a bookmaker’s website for the first time. Take advantage of each of these offers as they come up, but understand once you’re registered and future offers will not be open to you.
We’ve listed some of our favourite bookmakers with a reason why to use each.
Arcane Bet – A dedicated esports betting website, which will give you the most markets within esports that we’ve found. This means if you’re an expert on a game or team then knowing if they are likely to pick up an early objective or kill this will be the place to bet on it.
PaddyPower – Possibly the most recognisable to the mainstream public and a website which is built for sports it’s got one of the best platforms for betting. The selection of markets for esports section are a little lacklustre so if you’re really trying to delve into games and some of the more unorthodox markets then these might not be your choice.
Pinnacle – One of the first to offer esports bets as a dedicated bookmaker which if you’re interested in supporting esports these may be a good choice. Operating in over 200 countries it’s not a small-scale operation but one which knows esports.
Betway – The first real big player to fully dive into esports, they’ve sponsored teams, events and streamers. Such a big esports push has meant they’ve provided plenty of bonuses on esports which you can look out for on esportsbet.

In order to entice customers bookmakers have introduced bonuses which can work in your favour if you place your bet sensibly, a free bet might be free but it can still return big rewards!
Free Bets – These are simply a bet which a bookmaker credits to your account. These can be limited to be placed on a specific market, sport or individual outcome. If you’ve placed a winning free bet then you’re usually credited with money, but this can’t be withdrawn instantly as soon as you win and will need to be staked again (sometimes several times). It’s worth reading the smaller print for each bookmaker on these but in the end, it’s free!
Initial Deposit Bonuses – This is the simplest bonus you’ll probably encounter as for every pound that you deposit into your account you’ll get a percentage of it as an extra amount just for putting it into your wallet on their website. There is usually a 50-100% bonus which is added to your deposit so it’s best to check out exactly what they are offering. You should look into the best offers, we’ll usually have the best one here at esportsbet. The bonus amount is usually subject to rollover (where it needs to be staked more than once) so check out the smaller print.
Reload or Top Up bonuses – These are where you’ve had to top up your wallet with a sportsbook they’ll give you a percentage increase on your deposit or money added on as a free bet. These are usually to attract you back if you’ve been away or offline for a while so it can be worth putting a bookmaker on ice for a while and using another in the meantime.

Betting Strategy
Bet big, win big. If this is your strategy then good luck but here at esportsbet we’re into the numbers and stats behind each market which we’ll study before bets are placed. Your research is key as while hunches can be rewarding nothing will help you out more than data.
We’ll be breaking down all of the key matches with in-depth previews throughout the year across a number of different esports. Keep checking our website to see what’s going on in esports to stay up date as well as inform you of upcoming suggested bets. You’ll not find any loose punts or hastily thought through hunches here.

Bankroll Management
When should you be cashing out and when should you be staking more in order to maximise your balance? The answer is a personal choice for each individual and you need to learn that you can always withdraw and start again, while banking any winnings.
Remember to only stake what you can afford to do so and if you feel you need help to reach out for it, with plenty of places available.
You should, to begin with, set yourself a budget of how much you’re willing to stake each month. This should be an amount that you’re willing to stake, regardless of your wins and losses. It’s advisable not to lump this at first on a single bet, use this time to be invested in esports betting but not financially draining this will help you as you’re more accustomed to it.
As you win bets you may choose to remove your initial stake from your wallet and bank that cash and use your winnings as your future stake. This will protect you from effectively losing any money which you didn’t have before. One thing to remember is as good as it may be going on a streak, it may come to an end as you hit a downturn of luck. Good bankroll management is the key to successful gambler. Just remember to have fun while doing it!

We’ve outlined some of the most common words you’ll see in the betting industry with a short explanation of each.
Bet – To lay money or a stake on an outcome.
Banker – A likely outcome, or very likely. This will usually form part of an accumulator bet due to the odds being offered as low.
Bookmaker – A licenced company which takes your bet on the odds at which they were presented to you. A winning bet must be paid by the bookmaker.
Cash Out – A relatively new function where users can accept a pay out in order to void their bet with the bookmaker, at a price lower than the potential returns.
Evens – When the odds of a match or outcome are seen as a fifty/fifty chance for each.
Odds – What the bookmaker offers for a correct outcome prediction.
Punter – A person who places a bet with a bookmaker.

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