Online poker and eSports have a lot in common. It’s just a fact.
Both games (sports?) involve skill, computers, tons of pressure, a reasonable amount of stamina and a mostly male demographic.
The number of for-money tournaments offered by online poker and eSport organizations differs drastically, however.
Online poker sites offer real-money tournaments starting every minute 24/7 with $1 million-guaranteed tournaments available every week.
There is no such system in place for eSports and generally the big prize pool events must be carefully organized with numerous sponsors.
There is one stat that is reasonably comparable for eSports and online poker, however, and that’s the biggest single tournament of the year.
Below you’ll find an in-depth infographic that charts the timeline for online poker and eSports single biggest tournaments each year from 2004 to 2015.
The World Championship of Online Poker vs. The International
For online poker that event has remained very consistent since PokerStars introduced its World Championship of Online Poker. Technically a poker series with a variety of events it always ends with a massive No-Limit Hold’em $5,200 buy-in Main Event.
The WCOOP ME has almost always been the biggest single tournament in online poker every year since the early 2000s with first-place prizes regularly tipping the scales at over $1m.
It’s a different story with eSports as a variety of organizations such as the Cyberathlete Professional League, Major League Gaming and World eSports Games have all had a turn hosting the biggest prize pool event.
What’s more, unlike online poker’s steadfast obsession with No-Limit Hold’em, the biggest eSport event has taken place in a variety of events including FPS shooters like Counter-Strike and Halo or real-time strategy games like Warcraft 3 or Starcraft.
That appears to be changing with the smash success of the International. The International takes place entirely in DOTA 2, the smash MOBA (Multiplier Online Battle Arena).
MOBAs are somewhat easier than FPS games to follow at home and the International’s prize pool has been rapidly expanding over the last few years. In addition the popularity of Twitch.tv has created a huge audience for eSports.
With that in mind we’ve decided to take a closer look at the timeline of eSports and online poker prize pools from the online poker boom in 2004 to the current eSports explosion in 2015.