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Is poker an eSport? Whatever your opinion, there’s no denying the huge crossover between poker and the world of online gaming.

Both poker and eSports are hugely competitive. Hundreds of thousands (if not millions) play these online tournaments around the world, with eSports competitions held throughout the year.

But how much prize money is awarded in the biggest of these events?

The Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) currently underway, with a massive $115M in tournament guarantees. We thought we’d examine the biggest prize pools in eSports history.

Here they are in descending order.


The fifth game on the list of esports with the largest ever prize pools is Halo 5: Guardians, a first-person shooter game.

In 2016, 64 of the world’s best players (assembled into 16 teams) gathered in Hollywood, California for the Halo World Championship.

The teams were battling for a $2.5M prize pool. The lion’s share of which was won by the Counter Logic Gaming team, made up by three American players (Frosty, Lethul, SnakeBite) and one Canadian (Royal 2). They banked $1M for their victory.


A year earlier, the SMITE World Championship 2015 in Atlanta, had seen a $2.61M prize pool created.

SMITE is a third-person multiplayer online battle arena game. In 2015 it was the USA’s Cognitive Prime team (featuring players Andinster, JeffHindla, Omegatron, BaRRaCCuDDa, and MLCst3alth) who took the no.1 spot. And $1. 3M in prize money.

The tournament had eight teams in total, with five players on each team.


The average person on the street might assume Fortnite was the world’s most popular online game right now. But the player-vs-player battle royale game has yet to create the same levels of prize money others have.

The 2018 Fortnite Fall Skirmish Series puts the game in the third spot for total esports prize money with $4M in the prize pool.

However, the series was based on club performances over multiple weekly trials (with clubs consisting of 100 players). That means the $1.5M won by the Dusty Dogs landed each player only $15,000.

Watch this space though. The Fortnite World Cup is currently in the qualifying stages, and that tournament promises a massive $3M for the eventual champ.


Each year the League of Legends World Championship brings out the big guns in terms of prize pools. Last year was no exception. There was $6.45M up for grabs at the 2018 championships in South Korea.

League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena game, first released in 2009.

In 2018 the winning team was Invictus Gaming, made up of three South Korean players (Duke, Rookie, TheShy) and three Chinese players (Baolan, JackeyLove, Ning).

They took down $2.41M for their efforts, landing each player $403,000.

1. DOTA 2

No true esports game has handed out more in prize money than Dota 2, a multiplayer online battle arena game (which is very popular with the likes of Lex Veldhuis and Spraggy).

In fact, the annual International tournament boasts the top five spots in the list of the largest overall prize pools in eSports history. And 12 of the top 20 spots.

Prize money in Dota 2 has grown year on year. From $10.9M in 2014 to $25.5M in 2018.

Last year’s championships in Vancouver, Canada saw winning team OG (made up of Finland’s JerAx and Topson, Austria’s NOtail, France’s 7ckngMad, and Australia’s ana) win $11.2M total. That meant $2.24M for each player.

Not too shabby, eh?

If you want to be in with a shot of winning the big bucks, the SCOOP 2019 runs on PokerStars until Monday 27 May.

The $11.5M SCOOP Main Events, with $109, $1,050 and $10,300 buy-in levels, begin on Sunday 26 May at 1pm ET.

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