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Outsiders are usually surprised when they hear about the mega millions that pro gamers can make, but it makes perfect sense to those in the know. After all, the gaming industry isn’t just prominent — it’s huge. It’s bigger than the music and movie industries and bigger than the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL combined, in terms of revenue at least. Add to that the fact that live tournaments have increased viewership numbers and it comes as no surprise that some of that money trickles down to the world’s elite players. Between huge international competitions and online streaming, it’s more than possible to make a lucrative income — providing you’re good enough. 

So who are the players good enough to live a jet-set lifestyle thanks to their prowess with a controller in their hands? Let’s take a look.

Johan Sundstein

Is there a bigger eSports star than Johan Sundstein? The Danish superstar, who plays under the alias ‘N0Tail,’ has been playing games since he was two years old, so despite being only 27, he’s already got a quarter of a century’s worth of experience under his belt. He’s found success in two different games, starting with Heroes of Newerth before switching to Dota 2, and who knows what games he’ll dominate in the future? A true gaming talent, there’s always the sense that N0Tail will deliver the goods, no matter who he (or his team) is coming up against. 

With that being said, there have been some doubts surrounding his team, OG, who haven’t been hitting their usual standards in recent times. If you’re going to back them to win The International for the third time in a row, then it’ll be best to use a free bet offer, because there are some hot newcomers who will aim to take advantage of OG’s slip in standards and take the title for themselves. Still, regardless of what happens in the future, Sundstein’s legacy is assured. After all, having already earned $6.9 million in prize money, he’s the most successful eSports star so far, and he has plenty of time to add to that tally.

Jesse Vainikka

Another of the leading players of the year is Jesse Vainikka, an OG teammate of Sundstein. What’s curious about Vainikka is that he’s managed to be a standout player of the year despite retiring in the early part of the year. You know things have gone well if you’re able to retire from a career that has paid you millions at the tender age of 28. For Vainikka, it was a case of “been there, done that.” 

He had been on the scene since 2013, steadily building his reputation with various teams. It was his move to Team Liquid that pushed him into the elite world of esports gaming, and then his move to OG that brought him his millions; those back to back The International wins took his career prize money to around $6.5 million. Players have a habit of announcing their retirement before coming back a little later, and since Vainikka is only 28, it’s unlikely that he’ll be finished with the Dota scene forever.

Photo by Peter Laskowski from Pexels

Kuro Takhasomi 

German-Iranian Kuro Takhasomi, who plays under the ‘KuroKy’ alias, has been on the professional esports scene since he was 19. During that time, he has won more than $5 million in prize money. Now 28, Takhasomi had to slowly build his expertise and find his winning formula, but that’s just what he did, finally winning The International in 2017 as the captain of Team Liquid. Team Liquid is now finished, with Takhasomi getting to work on forming a new team called Nigma, who will compete in The International competition in 2021.