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  1. When you hear how much you can make playing video games these days, you might be tempted to pick up a controller – or devote more of your time to the pursuit in the event you’re already a gamer. In just a few short years of playing, esports athletes are growing net worths equivalent to those in traditional sports. Teams are earning nearly $5 million in a single competition, and all you need is a controller and a game to get started. If temptation has gotten the best of you, you’re not alone: There’s no end in sight for more players and more money entering the industry. Using data from existing esports players’ stats and demographics, we were able to see what typically happens once a person gets started in the sport. Your age, your country, and even what types of games you think you’d like to play can factor into whether you have a shot. Keep reading to find out more. Rise of the Digital Athlete We weren’t kidding when we said esports is exploding. The graph above denotes the rise of esports in terms of annual total active players as well as the total prize money in esports over time. Using the number of tournaments reported for each year, we were also able to calculate the average earnings per tournament as the years progress. Some say the earliest video game competition dates back to 1972 – Stanford University students competed in a Spacewars tournament, and the prize was a one-year subscription to Rolling Stone. By the 1980s, Atari had popularized gaming competitions, while classics like Pacman, Pong, and Space Invaders gained worldwide notoriety. Later, 2002 saw the release of Xbox Live, which brought online play to all of its console owners. Fast forward to 2019, and over $227 million was awarded in esports prize money. Per tournament, this averaged to $44,152 last year alone. Over the last decade, esports has become one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. As recently as 2000, there were only 258 active esports players competing. Today, there are more than 25,000. And there’s more money to be made – beyond competition earnings, sponsors have made room for many lucrative careers. Major networks like ESPN are getting increasingly invested in video games’ top players, but there are also livestreaming sites like Twitch that offer less hardcore gamers the chance to earn paychecks. Aging Into Esports Next, we wondered how age factors into esports success. Video games may sound like a young person’s sport, but the lack of physical exertion in video games (as compared to typical athletics) could theoretically give older players a fighting chance. Only one player among the top 20 lifetime highest-earning players is under the age of 20. His name is Kyle Giersdorf, and he’s a 17-year-old from the United States. In just three short years of playing esports, he’s already earned over $3 million. More often, the top earners skewed slightly older: 53% of the top 500 players are between the ages of 25 and 29, and this age group, along with those in their early 20s, were those with the highest median earnings. Only 1.5% of top players are 35 or older. To break this down as your hypothetical “salary,” let’s take a look at top earner Johan Sundstein from Denmark. He’s 26 years old and has earned nearly $7 million in his career. But that’s the very top earner globally, and it’s taken him 11 years to accumulate his fortune. That works out to roughly a $630,000 annual salary. Of course that’s a great salary, but it is significantly lower than the earnings of some top athletes in traditional sports – Lebron James made nearly $89 million last year. However, esports is relatively young compared to traditional sports leagues, so it’s possible salaries like that will come to esports athletes in time. Worldwide Winners Your country also can impact your odds of making it to the top. The next part of our study looked at the percentage of players from different countries ranked in the top 500 players overall. The five most lucrative games over time were also compared by country. The top three countries for esports champions were the United States (21.3%), Korea (16.6%), and China (14.1%). That said, certain games proved much more lucrative in some countries than others. South Korea has a particular passion for video game culture, and playing is considered a primary form of social activity. Similar things can be said of both the U.S. and China as well, where more players connect with one another this way. The most lucrative game overall – Dota 2 – is what’s known as a multiplayer online battle arena- or MOBA-style game, and it has become incredibly successful in China. Thus far, Dota 2 has earned players in the country $64.6 million. Recently, though, China had to ban the team Newbee from competitions after they were caught fixing Dota 2 matches. Fortnite, whose franchise is worth an estimated $2 billion on its own, has already earned American players over $31 million. This is a battle royale-style game, where 100 players attempt to out-survive one another. And the world’s second most lucrative game, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, is dominated by Denmark, with the country’s players garnering $14.7 million in winnings. Counter-Strike is a multiplayer first person shooter where teams of terrorists fight against counter-terrorists. Earning Styles The final portion of our study analyzed player earnings by their preferred genres and games. It also looks at which games would have the most competition as well as the most prize money to be won. These two numbers were used to calculate the games with the highest potential earnings per player. The kinds of games that brought home the biggest paychecks also had the most players – or the most competition. First person shooter was the top genre of choice with 39.1% of players, followed by MOBA games (16.9% of players). These two games earned players $210.5 million and $346.7 million, respectively. Dota 2, a particularly lucrative choice for a MOBA game, also had the highest potential earnings per player. With 3,681 players playing the game and $224.5 million in lifetime prize money, each gamer has an average potential earning of $61,007. The biggest competition may have been for players choosing Counter Strike, however: Nearly 13,000 competitors are vying for $96.5 million in total prizes. Follow the Money The potential to make the most esports money depends on a number of factors. As the data showed, the top video game players tended to be in their early-to-mid 20s and often lived in the U.S., Korea, and Denmark. Dota 2 was helping players earn more than any other game, but particularly for those in China. If you’re interested in getting involved, there couldn’t be a better time. The competition may be getting fiercer, but jackpots and financing of the sport are also increasing. That said, your chances of success are likely improved if you start before hitting 30, though there are successful older gamers. Regardless of age, be ready to put in the work: Current players have noted the sleepless nights and endless hours of practice it takes to make it to the top. And you certainly don’t have to wait to become the world’s best player to start having fun. While we can’t guarantee the odds are in your favor, there are certainly more opportunities to get involved in the sport than there previously were. And the sooner you get started, the better. Methodology Using data from Esportsearnings.com, we sought to explore the rise of esports and the feasibility of becoming an athlete within the sport. When examining the age of esports players, we confined our analysis to players ranked in the global top 500 players by overall earnings. Age data were not available for some players. The same was true of country data for a small percentage of players in the top 500. We also looked at countries’ dominance across different games. We looked at the top five games for overall prize money awarded. It should be noted that for all prize money data, totals are based both on game release dates and the date range of available data, which can fluctuate across different games and genres. The Esportsearnings.com site classifies games into 10 genres. Looking at data across all genres, we sought to find the total number of players in each genre. Prize money totals by genre are across the entire available time frame, rather than for a specific year. Finally, when we assessed the specific games with the highest potential earnings per player, we divided the total lifetime prize money awarded in a game and divided it by the number of players for that specific game. We confined our analysis to games with at least 50 players. Again, these should be considered potential lifetime earnings, rather than potential earnings in a single calendar year. Limitations As is clearly stated on the Esportsearnings.com website, the site relies on user contributions of information and publicly available data sources. Therefore, the completeness and timeliness of the data can be hard to estimate. This project is purely exploratory. Fair Use Statement While esports has steadily risen in popularity over the years, becoming a pro in the sport is by no means easy. If someone you know would benefit from the information in this project, you are free to share for noncommercial reuse. We ask that you link back here so the project can be viewed in its entirety and the methodology can be reviewed. This also gives credit to our contributors who make this work possible.
  2. Walking into a casino with an intent to walk out with more than you walked in with provides a thrill experienced by mountaineers, skydivers, and other daredevils. Instinctively, you know that you face incredible odds and a competitor that, quite frankly, holds all the cards. That the house has an advantage isn't only a fact of the game, it amps up the thrill. Developing this type of mentality helps to contextualize the incredible odds of winning big at slots. When it comes to slot machine tips, knowing how to pierce the veil and see the mechanics behind the screen is everything. After all, it takes a certain kind of chutzpah to face a game of pure chance and hope to gain an edge. It's possible, though, because no chance is ever pure when variation exists. Read on to learn how to corner advantages, play smart, and increase your chances (and fun) at these iconic games. Slot Machine Tips Slots are not games of skill. No amount of pressing the button in a specific fashion, flicking your wrist just so, or keeping your face steady matters to the internal mechanisms. The only things that matter are how the machine is programmed and your approach to playing. The following tips break down the how of a slot machine to expose the subtle weaknesses that improve your strikes. It's not about winning every time (which is impossible) but winning more often than you otherwise would. Understand RTP First, you need to understand the way that the house advantage is calculated. Every game of chance has what is known as a Return to Player (RTP) rate. This is how much of the money put into a game comes back out to players. No game has a perfect, 100% RTP, if it did, the casino wouldn't make any money and would stop existing. If it is too low, no player would bother playing and things would fall apart again. The house advantage is important for casinos to succeed financially and for you to have a fair understanding of the chance incorporated into a game. Han Solo may not be big on knowing the odds, but gaming commissions are adamant that they be verifiable. Slots list their RTP either on the machine or within the scrolling text of attract screens. Even within the same machine family, machines of the same type and branding, RTP varies. This is done to allow the casino to strategically place machines with better odds for winning in places of their choosing. Look Out for Volatility While the RTP provides an insight into the overall payouts of a machine, volatility presents you with a sense of how often, and how much, it pays out on a given play. Volatility is something of an open slot machine secret. A low volatility slot machine hits a pay more often but each pay is lower. A high-volatility machine pays less often but can pay far more. The gap between the potential for a pay and the range of a pay contribute to the concept. The math plays out in models. The closer a game is to even money, the less volatile it is. Incorporating multilevel prizes and taking into account concepts such as multiple pay lines makes understanding volatility crucial to gaining an edge. The more complex a machine, the higher the range of volatility. A single line pay machine has fewer possible combinations than a multiline machine. Studies suggest that prior learning is the best predictor of volatility. Embrace RNG With some grasp of volatility and RTP, the only factor remaining is RNG. Computers, and almost all slot machines are computers now, don't have true randomness. They use random number generators (RNG) to determine outcomes. Programers power-weight RNG through a variety of means. This gives the gaming companies control of the numbers reflected both in the volatility and the RTP of a given machine. Machines are neither programmed to pay out at a specific time nor are they made to not payout at any given moment. The way the systems work is to leverage the odds of hitting a specific combination of symbols. There are more lower-paying combinations than there are higher paying. The symbols needed for a jackpot may only appear once per wheel in comparison to dozens of blank spaces or a handful of low-tier pays. Winning at slots isn't about a single spin but the average of spins over a period of time. Play for Fun So the way to play slots and win is to enjoy every spin. The numbers don't come out to you winning money every spin but they do come out to you walking away with most of your money on a long enough timeline. While any given machine will pay out 80+ percent of what is put in, that doesn't mean you will be the one collecting each time. If you're having fun playing, you get something out of the experience. Pick a Budget When it comes to winning money and walking out with more, you need to set a limit on what you are willing to walk in with. This keeps you in the fun mindset and avoids the game becoming a job, or a hole. Mix it Up Since all the random factors affect every machine differently, and no machine is programmed to hit some pre-determined number of spins before a pay, moving around is your best option. You want to play the machines with the highest RTP that covers the volatility you prefer. Think like a floor manager and pick machines you think offer the best and thickest traffic and residual glow when they pay. Those are the machines that are kept looser to draw in more players. Make It Yours Notice that these are slot machine tips, not tricks. There are no tricks because the machines aren't swayed by outside influence. To corner the odds and improve your chances of winning, you have to find the better machines. The more you learn about odds, and how large probabilities play out in discrete moments, the better you will understand the flow fo play and enjoy being a participant. For more information about casino games and playing tips, keep coming here.
  3. • 77% of respondents believed video games make social distancing easier. • 68% of respondents agreed video games reduce stress surrounding COVID-19; half of gamers said games distract them from negative news during this time. • Nearly half of gamers surveyed had met up with friends in video games while social distancing. • Discord was the most preferred voice communication platform for gamers during the COVID-19 pandemic. • Gamers favored the PlayStation 4 over the Xbox One while adhering to stay-at-home orders. The question of how we spend our time has really been put under the microscope lately. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone's schedules (to say the least), and whether your calendar got busier or blew wide open, you may have already learned a thing or two from the way your days have changed. Maybe you've gained a new skill, found ways to socialize, or have gotten creative. But perhaps you're just looking for ways to cope with the stress. Based on recent findings, however, there may be something that provides the perfect intersection: video games. We spoke to 1,000 gamers who were actively practicing social distancing. They shared how they've continued to socialize using video games, as well as how gaming has helped them to cope with the stress of COVID-19. Continue scrolling to see what the gaming community has to say during these trying times. Gaming at Home Even during the height of the pandemic, using video games to socialize wasn't half bad. Most respondents rated the experience as "good," "very good," or even "excellent." In-game chat was twice as popular as Zoom to communicate with other gamers, as well. But what did video game socializing actually involve? A lot of the same things normal life would, just virtually. More than 46% had used video games to meet up with friends, and another 55% of respondents attempted to recreate real-life scenarios of some kind. Things like birthdays, baby showers, and even weddings are being celebrated online and often include virtual games. Eight percent of respondents said they had also gone on a date in a video game since the pandemic began. That said, women were less likely to enjoy socializing in video games. Unfortunately, video games can be breeding grounds for sexual harassment, particularly of women. Of course, both men and women should socialize only where they feel safe, as they would in real life. Consoles for Remote Life The "console war" (as many techies call it) between PlayStation 4 and Xbox One was alive and well during the quarantine. This particular battle, however, was won by PlayStation: 23% preferred PS4 during this time, while Xbox served just 13.6%. PlayStation may be particularly conducive to socialization while in isolation –some fans praise the console's "social screen" feature, which allows others to see what you're seeing. Another clear standout in quarantine was the Mario franchise. Mario Kart was the most popular video game to play while social distancing. And it also helped people feel the best: Players ranked this game as one of the least stressful things they could play during social isolation. It lost only to Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Minecraft. Call of Duty was almost as popular as Mario Kart but was the most stressful game to play in quarantine, according to gamers. Modern Warfare and Black Ops 4 (both Call of Duty games) took first and second place, respectively, for the most stressful video games. Gaming Schedules Without a normal schedule to adhere to, respondents found a variety of times that worked well for gaming. Evenings between 6 and 10 p.m. worked best, but afternoons and playing throughout the day were also popular. These hours added up to an average of 15 hours each week of gaming while social distancing. But nearly a third of respondents spent more than 20 hours each week playing video games during isolation. Those hours spent gaming represented much more than the games themselves, as we came to find out. Around 77% said video games make it easier to socially distance. In many ways, video games made them feel more connected to positive things: 59.1% felt more connected to friends, 68.2% saw a reduction in COVID-19-related stress, and 50% used the games to distract from negative news. Many even censored negativity – 45.5% chose to avoid virtual violence during these times. Financing Gaming During COVID-19 Quarantine games weren't all free, however. While social distancing, gamers spent an average of $101. Nearly 41% of gamers spent money on video games, and 26.6% purchased downloadable content, while a much smaller percentage bought things like headsets and new controllers. Nearly 1 in 5 gamers planned to spend their coronavirus stimulus check on something video game-related. More specifically, around 14% said they would purchase video games, 6.1% said they would use the check to buy downloadable content, and 5.3% were going to use the funds on a console. When all was said and done, gamers anticipated using 38% of the check on gaming supplies. How to Start Gaming Now With all of the benefits respondents expressed, we wanted to know if they would recommend it to others. We figured a few suggestions for enjoyable ways to pass the time in quarantine couldn't hurt. Sixty-eight percent believed nongamers should get in on the action and give video games a try while social distancing, and around 51% said to try it with family or friends. If finances are a concern (which they are for many during such an economically turbulent time), gamers had a solution for this as well: 47.2% suggested starting with free-to-play games. Identifying the right game for you was also highly recommended. This means that even if your first gaming experience isn't ideal, there may be other genres to try that are better suited to you. The recommendations over consoles highlighted a rivalry once more – gamers were fairly evenly split over Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, but the first two were ultimately the top choices. The Mario series was the top recommended game for social distancing. Keep Playing Gamers continued to list a host of helpful tips for both existing players and anyone else looking to get started in the exciting world of virtual games. During the height of social distancing, now more than ever seems like the perfect time to give gaming a try. Who knows? You may develop some great online relationships and feel a little less stressed. Fair Use Statement Social distancing has certainly spiked the need for sharing. If you know someone who you’d like to share these contents with, you are welcome to do so as long as your purposes are noncommercial. You must also link back to this page so our contributors can receive proper credit for their work.
  4. Scratch cards are fun ways to try and make some quick cash without having to spend too much money. Like playing the lottery, it's pretty much all luck. But, believe it or not, there are ways for you to improve your odds of winning at the scratch-offs. While we can't guarantee that you'll get a winning scratch card every time, we can certainly help you get the most bang for your buck. Interested in learning more? Continue reading and we'll walk you through everything you need to know. 1. Buy Intelligently The number of scratch cards that are available to purchase these days is astronomical. For people who aren't familiar with scratch cards, the experience can be totally overwhelming. There are so many different prizes, brands, prices, and designs that it can all get confusing. When you go to buy a scratch card, do some research beforehand and know which type you're going to purchase. Some cards are way more valuable per cost than others. Many people are tempted to buy big quantities of the cheapest cards but this isn't a good idea. The cheapest cards tend to have the lowest payouts and offer you the least chances of winning. Instead, go ahead and buy fewer higher-priced cards. When it comes to scratch cards, quality is certainly more important than quantity. 2. Play Them Like Slots People who are experienced at playing the slots will hang around the machines and wait until multiple people fail at hitting the jackpot. These long droughts signal to the player that the big jackpot is getting closer. While you don't have to wait around the store all day, you could go to the vendor who sells the scratch cards and ask if any winning cards were purchased lately. 3. Buy in Bulk One method that a lot of experienced scratch card players like to do is buy their tickets in bulk. That means going to the store and buying multiple cards in one shopping trip. This is opposed to buying just one ticket each time you go to the store. If you purchase in bulk, you can increase your odds of winning. The card manufacturer will usually put a win somewhere within the many scratch cards. So if you buy in bulk, there are good odds that the winning ticket will be somewhere in the middle of that pile. 4. Keep Your Old Tickets No, we're not asking you to hold onto your old tickets for nostalgia purposes. We're asking you to hold onto them because humans are prone to making oversights and mistakes. While you're going through your scratch cards, you might think its a loser without fully inspecting it. It's a good idea to keep your old tickets in a safe place and revisit them from time to time in order to see if you might have missed anything the first time. And in some cases, the jackpots on scratch cards are never won. And when that happens, the manufacturer might give out prizes to losing tickets. Storing tickets is easy so you don't have anything to lose by keeping them in a safe place in your home. 5. Stick to a Budget It's important to keep your cool when you're playing with scratch cards. If you end up buying too many losing tickets, you might get frustrated and go out and buy a ton. But this isn't a smart move. In the end, you could end up just losing a lot of money. If you want to get serious about playing scratch cards, then it's important that you set a weekly or monthly budget for yourself and then make sure that you stick to it. Sticking to a budget will stop you from letting your spending get out of control. 6. Research the Scratch Cards Believe it or not, there actually is a method for picking more winnable scratch cards. The Singleton Method was discovered by Mohan Srivastava, a Canadian statistician in 2003. He realized that with certain scratch cards, you could know if the card was a winner or loser simply by looking at the layouts and patterns on the tickets. While most people think that the machines that make scratch cards put on the numbers totally at random, this isn't the case at all. The card companies need to control how many winning and losing cards there are in circulation. So they have specific algorithms. Some of those algorithms are so lazy that people who are smart enough can tell if the card's a winner just by looking at it. 7. Pick the Right Game for You Sticking to one scratch card game can help to significantly increase your odds of winning. Each card manufacturer makes so many winning and losing tickets. And the more you play, the more losing tickets you take out of circulation. If you spread your spending over several different games, then you could just be taking one losing ticket out of each game. And that won't do you much good. Instead, pick a game that's fun to play and comes with a big payout. Then stick with that game for as long as you can. You'll be amazed by how much better you do in the long run. The Importance of Knowing How to Increase Your Scratch Card Odds By knowing how to improve your chances of walking away with a winning scratch card, you can win money and have fun at the same time. And while scratch cards usually depend on luck, you may find yourself buying a lot more winners by following the methods above.
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