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The Five Biggest Winners in the eSports World

Anyone that is not an esports fan has no idea how big the industry is. Nor are they aware of how potentially lucrative esports are if you make it to the top. Did you know that the five biggest earners, in terms of prize money won, have combined earnings of $31,209,848? All those times your parents told you playing video games would amount to nothing seem a little silly now, don’t they?

It should not be surprising that all five players in the top five esports winnings rankings have won The International at least once. The International is by far the most lucrative esports tournament, one that draws interest on a global scale. Tens of thousands of viewers tune into streams, the best sites for online betting Georgia offers run markets, and the world’s best Dota 2 players lock horns and butt heads for life-changing prizes.

Johan “N0tail” Sundstein - $7,184,163

Johan “N0tail” Sundstein is an esports superstar. The 29-year-old Danish/Faeroese has accumulated a staggering $7,184,163 in esports winnings, an impressive sum helped by Sundstein being a two-time The International champion.

Sundstein was part of the OG team that won The International 2018 and created history by winning The International 2019, thus becoming the first team to win back-to-back titles. That pair of victories saw Sundstein and his talented teammates walk away with a combined $26,854,339.

Sundstein started his career playing Heroes of Newerth, but a lack of competition saw him switch to Dota 2. It’s fair to say swapping games worked out for him!

Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka - $6,486,948

Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka is a 30-year-old Finnish star that was part of the OG team that won back-to-back The International tournaments in 2018 and 2019. Like his teammate, Sundstein, Vainikka cut his teeth in Heroes of Newerth but has made Dota 2 his game of choice since 2013.

Vainikka caused a significant stir in January 2020 when he announced his retirement from esports. He remained inactive until November 2021, when he joined Evil Geniuses as a position 5. Evil Geniuses put on a disappointing performance at the Stockholm Major 2022, prompting Vainikka to leave the team. He has since made his debut for Team Liquid and plans to remain active as a position 4 or 5 or as a coach.

Anathan “ana” Pham - $6,024,411

Australian Anathan “ana” Pham comes into the list at number three; he is another two-time The International Champion. Like Vainikka, Pham retired from professional gaming. Pham hung up his headset in January 2020, aged only 21. We suppose you can pursue other ventures when you have more than $6 million in the bank at a young age.

Pham remained inactive, although he appeared as a sub for OG in April 2021 before retiring again. Pham has since been a sub for Royal Never Give Up and Team Liquid in 2022 and joined T1 in August 2022.

Sebastien “Ceb” Debs - $5,823,909

Sebastien “Ceb” Debs is a French/Lebonese former member of OG. Formerly known as “7ckngMad,” Debs now turns out for Old G following his retirement from the competitive scene in November 2021.

Like many esports stars, Debs could not keep away, and he returned for the ESL One Stockholm 2022 tournament that he helped OG win!

Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen - $5,690,417

Finland’s Tobias “Topson” Taavitsainen began playing Dota 2 when he was only eight years old; all that practice turned him into a legendary esports figure. Taavitsainen started his professional career with SFTe-sports before brief spells with No Rats and 5 Anchors No Captain. He joined OG in June 2018.

Taavitsainen won The International 2018 during his first year as a professional, earning him the coveted Rookie of the Year award. Taavitsainen took a break from the competitive scene in November 2021 and, despite standing in for T1, remains a non-professional.

Taavitsainen joined Old G alongside Debs and Sundstein, a team that is more focused on having fun than grinding out tournament after tournament competitively.

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