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Top 5 Esports Players That Get Paid

by David Manyun
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The professionalization of video gaming has transformed it from a mere pastime associated with home-dwellers and arcade-loitering folks into a legitimate career choice for skilled gamers, enabling them to make substantial amounts of money and get lucrative sponsorship agreements.

Despite being in its nascent stage, the esports industry is already witnessing a significant surge in its market. The eSports market earned approximately 1.38 billion U.S. dollars in worldwide revenues 2022. The market is projected to reach around 1.87 billion U.S. dollars by 2025.

The primary sources of these earnings are prize pools and tournaments. However, most of the money is generated by sponsorship, which is projected to create over 837 million U.S. dollars in 2022.

With such a rapidly growing industry, its participants naturally reap rewards. So this poses the question, who are the highest-paid esports players? Join us as we take a closer look at the top five esports players that get paid!

1 Johan Sundstein

Johan Sundstein

  • Alias: N0tail
  • Team: OG
  • Game: Dota 2
  • Estimated Career Earnings: $7.4 Million

Johan Sundstein, known by the pseudonym ‘N0tail,’ is a Danish professional Dota 2 player. Due to his exceptional skills in the game, he has become the top-earning esports player worldwide, accumulating more than $7.4 million in profits.

His highest tournament earnings are $3.3 million, which he achieved by winning “The International” in 2019. N0tail has earned about $3.9 million in prize money from this event alone.

The Danish player, aged 29, launched his professional career in esports in 2012, achieving victory in several significant tournaments, including ‘The International’ on two occasions. Furthermore, he is the player with the most substantial prize pool in the history of esports.

2 Jesse Vainikka

Jesse Vainikka

  • Alias: JerAx
  • Team: OG
  • Game: DOTA 2
  • Estimated Career Earnings: $6.5 Million

Following is Jesse Vainikka, a renowned Dota 2 prodigy widely recognized as JerAx. Despite being retired, he remains the second-highest earner, with a total of almost $6.5 million. JerAx has won twice in the ‘The International’ competition, accumulating a prize pool of more than $3.1 million.

The Finnish professional player took part in 68 events, and his most significant victory was in the 2019 event when he earned a prize of $3.3 million alongside N0tail. His cash award from the tournament constitutes 48% of his total career earnings.

3 Anathan Pham

Anathan Pham

  • Alias: Ana
  • Team: OG
  • Game: Dota 2
  • Estimated Career Earnings: $6 Million

Anathan Pham, also known as ‘Ana,’ is an Australian professional Dota 2 player who is not of European descent, unlike the previous two players. As the third highest-earning esports player globally, he accumulated over $6 million over his video gaming career.

As noted above, Ana’s first-place finish in one of his 26 events allowed him to win the most money. Like JerAx, he has achieved victory in ‘The International’ twice and accumulated a prize pool of over $3.1 million from the tournament.

Furthermore, the youthful Australian has participated in the OG group, emerging victorious in two significant competitions in 2018 and 2019. 51% of his entire winnings are attributed to the group’s revenue.

4 Sebastien Debs

Sebastien Debs

  • Alias: Ceb
  • Team: OG
  • Game: Dota 2
  • Estimated Career Earnings: $5.4 Million

Sébastien Debs, well recognized as Ceb, is a very skilled professional player in Dota 2, hailing from France. The European has accumulated $5.4 million in earnings, establishing himself as the fourth highest-earning esports player globally. Ceb has become victorious in the ‘The International’ tournament twice, earning over $3.1 million.

He has competed in 67 esports competitions, and his victory in the 2019 championship resulted in a substantial prize of $3.2 million. The sum accounts for 53% of his total career earnings.

5 Topias Taavitsainen

topias taavitsainen

  • Alias: Topson
  • Team: OG
  • Game: Dota 2
  • Estimated Career Earnings: $5.2 Million

Topias Taavitsainen, also recognized as Topson, is a proficient Finnish player in Dota 2, having accumulated $5.2 million in profits. Topson has been victorious in The International twice, earning over $3.1 million from this highly esteemed tournament. Like Ana, he had previously competed for OG and earned his highest-ever cash reward of $3.1 million.

Dota Dominates

As evidenced by our top five, Dota 2 has emerged as Esports’s most widely used iteration, attracting the highest-earning competitors. This is primarily due to the enormous prize purses at the yearly Dota 2 championship, “The International.”

For example, the 2019 tournament had a prize pool above $34 million, and the eventual champion, OG, received over $15 million.

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David Manyun
Hailing from the West Midlands, David is a freelance sports journalist with a focus on both written and visual sports content. Building a reputation for precise pre-fight predictions, he gains recognition for his thorough fight analysis and extensive knowledge of contenders and fight history in his rapidly evolving field.

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