How to Make Money Entering eSports Tournaments

If playing video games for a living sounds like the dream job, you may well be interested in entering competitive video gaming tournaments for money.

eSports is the umbrella term that describes competitive gaming at a professional level, and it is taking over the world with full force. The industry is now worth billions of dollars and this is only on the rise. Many different eSports organizations contract top gamers to play for them. Win the tournament and you could be winning millions. That’s on top of your mega salary for being signed by an eSports organizaion.

Think you have got what it takes to become a pro gamer?

Truth be told, becoming a pro gamer is no easy feat, but here are some tips to get you started on your journey from amateur to expert.

Find Your Strength

Flexing muscles

Although you may enjoy playing a variety of games, if you are to become a professional player, you need to narrow that down. If you are seriously considering a career as an eSports player you cannot be the jack of all trades – instead you must be the master of one.

There are a huge amount of games that run tournaments for money and which game you choose is entirely up to you (but you can find our top picks here). You should choose a game that you are skilled at and that you enjoy. You’ll need constant motivation to get good enough to compete in large gaming competitions. To really make it, you will live and breathe your chosen game, so make sure you work to your strengths and choose the right one.

You will find a complete list of all eSports games on our eSports page.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Post it notes

If you are going to be a master, you cannot skip out this step. While having selected a game that you are naturally skilled at helps a lot, you need to practice to get up to the level of your competition. In fact, professional competitors play for up to 14 hours six days per week.[1]

Instead of just playing the game, you now need to do some research too so that you can optimize your playing techniques:

  • Read Strategy Guides – you may always thrash your mates when playing online, but competitive gaming is a whole new kettle of fish. Take time researching tips from top players and learn everything you can about the game. The most minuscule details can make the difference between winning and losing a game.
  • Watch Professional Streams – whether this is watching eSports events or pro players streaming on their channels, this is a great way to pick up new tactics and approaches for winning.


people connected by lines

If you really want to make it as a pro and enter gaming tournaments for money, you need to network with other gamers. This is essential for practice so that you are playing against people of the same level. It also keeps you highly motivated as you are surrounded by a network of gamers who share your passion for your particular game.

To join an eSports team you will need to build a solid reputation and become known as an established gamer, and networking is a great way to help this. Reach out to other players through online forums and start chatting and playing together.

Start a Team

Colourful hands in a circle

While playing solo is an option, most people join with other gamers found through networking to build a team. Choose your players wisely – after all, a team is only as strong as its weakest link. Remember to not only consider players’ skill level but also their commitment to and love for the game.

Team size depends on the game you are looking to play but typically a team consists of 5-6 players. As with real sports, each member of your team will have a specific position and therefore a set role. You all need to practice playing together to succeed in competitions. Team games include popular options such as Overwatch and Dota 2.

If teamwork is not for you, there are still eSports for solo players. Games like Fortnite or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds have both individual and team tournaments. Fighter-style games such as Street Fighter 5 are another great option for solo gamers.

Play In Entry-Level Tournaments

Boy gaming on PC

After you have perfected your chosen game, built a network, and formed a team, it is time to start entering gaming tournaments for money. You are not expected to jump straight into playing at a professional level – several online leagues run year-round and accept amateur players:

  • MLG GameBattles – this site hosts three different types of gaming competitions. You can enter Ladders where you progress up the rankings, Tournaments where you take home a big prize if you make it to the top, or Leagues. The GameBattles Leagues feed into professional competitions and are a great entry route once your team is well-practiced.
  • ESL Play with 1,000 tournaments per month in over 60 games, ESL is another option for getting into competitive gaming. Their ESL Open contests are available to everyone, whereas the ESL Challenger competitions have entry requirements. ELS Master contests can only be entered through qualifiers.

These sites are fantastic for entry into video game tournaments. But there is a catch – they do not pay well. For entry-level gaming tournaments, you will be looking at a maximum of a few hundred dollars per win. While this is a nice bonus, you need to work your way into the top contests to make a living from playing video games.

Compete in Live Events

Winners podium

Once you have worked your way up the ranks in online leagues, it is time to hit the live tournaments. There will be opportunities in all major cities, so look for an eSports venue close to where you live.

These tournaments are where the big money is at, but one-off video game competitions don’t offer a stable income. However, perform well at these competitions and, if you have the skill you, eSports teams could sign you. In fact, sponsorship is where 95% of eSports players’ income comes from. Organizations are constantly on the lookout for new gamers who can give their team that new edge they need.

It is a lot of hard work, time, and commitment. Have you got what it takes?

What Else?

Are you unsure as to whether competing in gaming tournaments for money is right for you? Do the endless hours of practice, constant gaming, and tough competition put you off?

There are still other ways that you can turn your hobby into your fulltime job. Check out our homepage for more ways that you can make money through video gaming.


How much do eSports players make?

eSports players can expect to make $3,000 to $5,000 per month on average. This varies from player to player and team to team. For example, top League of Legends players are on a monthly salary of $15,000.

What is the highest paying eSport?

The highest paying eSport as of 2020 is Dota 2 which has paid out $6 million USD in prize money this year alone.

Who is the richest eSports player?

The richest eSports player is Dota 2 player Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein from Denmark whos net worth is $6.9 million.

Is eSports a billion dollar industry?

Yes, eSports is a billion dollar industry. The market was valued at over $1 billion in 2020 and there are projections for this to increase to $1.6 billion USD by 2023.