Everything You Need To Know About The International Dota2 2017 Championships

With a world record-breaking prize pool of over $23 million US Dollars, the Dota2 2017 International is by far the biggest esports event of the year. Each International event has broken records for each consecutive year, with the 2016 tournament reaching a pool of just over $20.7million. Even this is almost $15million more than the biggest League of Legends prize pool and $18.5million bigger than the largest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive prize.

The Format

This year’s Dota2 2017 International will be hosted at KeyArena in Seattle where it has been held since 2014. The KeyArena has a much larger capacity than previous venues, and it’s been much needed as interest in the event has risen alongside the prize pool.

The Group Stages will begin on August 2nd until August 5th with 18 teams from all corners of the globe playing for a spot in the Main Event. Split into two groups of 9 teams; the Group Stage will be a series of Best of 2 (Bo2) matches played in a Round Robin format.

Teams left at the bottom of each group will be eliminated from the tournament, taking home a guaranteed $58,000 share of the prize pool. The top four teams will move on to the Upper Bracket, and anyone left in the middle will move to the Lower Bracket of the Main Event.

With 16 teams remaining, the Main Event will be played from August 7th until the Grand Final on August 12th. Like years before, the Grand Final will be played out over an epic Bo5 match for over $10m to first place and $3.7m+ for the runners up.

The Teams

Virtus Pro and Evil Geniuses are joint favourites to win this year’s event against a solid selection of the world’s best teams.

This year’s event has a very different feel to the last, namely as it will be the first tournament with no defending champion. 2016 saw Wings Gaming win 1st place and take home their share of $20m. This leaves the door even wider open for underdogs to make a run for the top spot.

Virtus Pro is looking incredibly strong, having not lost a series since mid-June after losing 1-2 to LGD. Interestingly, Evil Geniuses have had a tougher few weeks with a rocky set of results. They have also lost 0-1 to LGD as well as losses to teams such as OG and Newbee, who are just behind in overall rankings. Their inability to win many games against teams with similar skill and the lack of any recent winning streak has hurt their rankings and perhaps their momentum for The International.

At this year’s tournament, LGD is by no means an underdog, but they are not favourites either. In overall rankings, they are currently standing at 5th, just above OG and underneath Newbee. Late June and early July saw a long streak of wins for the Chinese team against teams such as OG, Clutch Gamers and Evil Geniuses.

With any Valve event, OG is a must-watch. Of the 5 Dota 2 Majors that have happened in the game’s history, OG has claimed 1st place in 4 of them. This achievement cements not only their stability as a team but their prowess at Valve-sponsored events. OG should never be counted out for the games on the biggest stage. Still seeking an International title, OG will look to establish themselves as legends.

Team Liquid is well worth a mention as they currently hold eight consecutive wins, although they struggled to get past Fnatic for 8th place in 2016.

The full list of contenders for the Group Stages

Team list

  • Cloud9 / Fnatic / Team Liquid / Hellraisers
  • Virtus Pro / Invictus Gaming / Team Secret / Evil Geniuses
  • LGD Gaming / Team Empire / Newbee / OG
  • Digital Chaos / TNC Esports / Execration / LGD Forever Young
  • IG Vitality / InFamous

Breaking Down the Kraków Major – Fantasy Points & Salary Cap

With the end of the PGL Kraków Major upon us, we can take a closer look at the numbers behind the event to see how things went down in detail. Much like the results of the event’s bracket, with Immortals and Gambit making it to the finals as a surprise to many, the data reveals some interesting tidbits of information about the ESP Fantasy Pools that we’ll explore below. As we walk through the upcoming conclusions, you can refer to our previous blog post that houses all of the data we’ll be analyzing in this post.


Performance based on Point Averages
First, let’s take a look at all of the players that had a higher “Average Points per Match” at this event compared to their all-time “Average Points per Match”.



To begin let’s outline what we are trying to display in this graph. The blue bars signify the all-time Average Points per Match of the respective player. Stacked on top of that in orange is the difference between that player’s Average Points per Match at Kraków against their all-time. The total length of each bar then represents the Average Points per Match for just the event. It is sorted by the greatest difference on the left and then descending toward a 0 point difference.

Now, there are a few things to take away from this set of data. First is to note that this is an exhaustive list of players who performed better than their average, meaning 20 players out of the 80 participants (25%) performed better than usual. The high and low range of this point difference is also worth noting: Na’Vi.s1mple had the highest of 10.46 difference and kioShiMa of Faze Clan (not shown on this graph) had a low of -16.80 difference. For s1mple, this event was a 60% increase in performance against his all-time average, whereas kioShiMa performed 118% worse.

If you take a look at the top 10 Fantasy Point Totals at the event, you’ll notice that only AdreN, lucas1, kNg, steel, and cold performed better than their averages. This implies that a player making a deep run in a tournament can often score you more fantasy points than one who is performing well in terms of point per match averages. More games, more points. Despite s1mple’s strong relative performance, he is only 17th for total points due to an early exit from the group stages. The next time you evaluate who to pick, it’s important to consider additional factors than just the “Average Points per Match” metric.

Making the Right Picks
From Thorin’s Exclusive Major Pool let’s take a look at augie’s picks which got him 1st place in that pool.



augie had full faith in the Brazilian players to deliver and he was certainly rewarded. Not only did the two Immortals players that he picked over perform on their point-per-match averages, but also had deep runs to the 3rd game of the Grand Finals. The combination of these two awarded him the bulk of the points. cold and fer were also great pick ups as both had monster performances despite being knocked out 0-2 in the Quarter Finals to Astralis. augie had the right combination of reliable high-scorers in fer and cold, while also managing to pick up the two Immortal players that made deep runs. Big congratulations to him for coming first in the pool!

However, one glaring omission from the pools top picks is the presence of any Gambit players, the winners of the event. This is not because of some statistical anomaly where Gambit performed poorly, despite winning. In fact, Gambit had some of the highest point totals for this event. Instead, this is because Gambit’s players were actually picked very few times. All 5 Gambit players only accounted for 0.9% of all picks made in this pool. To put this in perspective, karrigan of Faze Clan was 3.53% of picks by himself and fer of SK Gaming was selected 10 times more than the entirety of Gambit at this event. In fact, only 1 out of the top 15 entries in Thorin’s Exclusive Major Pool and any Gambit players at all.

Because of this, the gap between augie’s picks and the theoretical best is quite large as shown below.

The theoretical best set of picks:



As shown in the table above, the best set of picks would have been 826. This is a difference of 159 points, roughly a 24% increase over augie’s.

A further look at the table above, specifically the Salary Used and Event Point Total columns, really shows where the high value picks are in terms of salary. Here’s what I mean: in the set of data in our previous blog post or in the graph below, you’ll see that Points/$100 column is occupied by all 5 Immortals players, along with 3 of Gambits, along with byali & LEGIJA. If you consider the team restriction of 2, all 5 of the theoretical best picks can be found here.


The key point to take away here is that looking at Average Points per Match can sometimes be deceptive; it doesn’t tell the whole story. It is important to also think about how deep of a run will that player go in that tournament and will that be reflected in their Points/$100 metric? Relying just on how far a player will go isn’t a complete stat either. MSL of North went out during the Quarter Finals and was within the bottom 6 of Total Points. tabseN of BIG, who were also knocked out in the Quarter Finals, was 12th highest in the same metric. Obviously predicting these metrics can be difficult, as evidenced by the outcome of this event. Who could have foreseen Immortals and Gambit being the best possible picks? Maybe if you’re a wizard.

The outcome of this major is many respects is considered an anomaly by many in the community: the strong performance by Gambit, Immortals, BIG; the weak performance by G2 or Faze. Even the bracket placing SK vs Astralis in the Quarter Finals certainly screwed up a lot of fantasy picks out there. Because of this, it’s hard to say if the conclusions drawn from the data of this event is indicative of any long-term trends. Perhaps the importance of certain metrics is only the case for this event, but may not for future events that play out in a more expected fashion.

What will really tell the tale is looking at how these data points stack up against each other from event to event. Will the data from the next major be similar to this one? Will it be totally different? What are the explanations of either outcome?

Nevertheless, we hope this discussion helps you stay informed about how to best play fantasy on ESP. We also hope this creates an avenue of dialogue between us and you, our valued community. Let us know what conclusions you came up with or any other comments on Twitter!

PGL Major Kraków 2017 – Post-Event Stats

As the dust continues to settle after the climactic end to the PGL Major Kraków 2017, we here at ESP have gathered some data to get an in-depth look into what went down in Kraków. Below is a spreadsheet where you can find all the data.

What are some key points that interest you? What kind of data would you like to see in the future? Let us know your comments via Twitter!

Link to full spreadsheet.


The launch of ESP.bet!

Betting Overview

Get ready to crank up the excitement to a whole new level! At ESP, our ongoing mission is to find new ways to make esports more exciting, and we have some amazing new features coming down the pipes. Today we’re excited to kick that off by launching pari-mutuel style betting on your favourite esports games!

By the way, if you haven’t done it already, connect your Steam account and get your skins ready. You’re gonna need these soon!

Parimutuel betting, also known as Pool Betting

Parimutuel Betting is a form of betting where the size of the pot determines the total payout.

We calculate the pot by taking the sum of all stakes or the amounts wagered, minus our 10% service charge from the losing side.

From the total pot, we calculate the payout for each participant from the winning side as follows. First, the proportion (as a percentage) of that participant’s wager in relation to the pot of all winning participants needs to be determined. That percentage is then applied to the total pot to determine the payout amount.

Here’s an example to explain it:

  • Team A has a total of $100, and Team B has $50
  • Sam makes a $5 bet on Team A
  • Team A wins this match


  • Sam’s bet makes up 5% ($5 / $100 = 0.05 = 5%) of Team A’s total
  • Total Pot = sum of Team A and B ($100 + $50 = $150) and then subtract our service charge from the losing side ($50 x 10% = $5) for a total of ($150 – $5 = $145)
  • With Team A winning, Sam’s winnings are calculated by considering the ratio to the winning pot and then applying it to the total pot (5% x $135 = $7.25)

This illustration shows a simplistic overview:

ESP launch real money betting

Bets On Offer

We have the following two bet types that you can choose from:

Match Betting

Once on the bet page, the most accessible bet on offer is a Match Bet where you wager on the winner of a match. Here there are only two possible outcomes (choosing the winning team) and bets close before the start of the match.

Side Bets

To accompany match bets, these side bets are centred around game specific events and can have multiple outcomes. For example: “Which team will win the match and by what scoreline? (e.g., Team A will win 4-2)” or “Which team will win the second pistol round of the map?”. These can be located by pressing the plus sign (+) on the lower right-hand corner of each bet card. Side-bets close before the match starts.

Bet Slip

Often times when browsing the list of possible bets, you’ll want to participate in several quickly. Our bet slip feature allows you to quickly add several bets and choose how much you want to wager in one easy location. To do so, simply press the plus button (+) on any given bet card.


As the esports industry continues to expand at an incredible pace, there is a set of inevitable growing pains that come with it. A legal grey area now exists where an alarming amount of betting operators can spring up and operate with minimal regulation. The questionable actions of many of these operators have resulted in a justified outcry by the community such as questionable business and financial practices, or underage gambling to name just a few in a long list of misconducts.

Operating ethically and legally are crucial tenets that we here at ESP adhere to. As such, we will be implementing various features and restrictions with our betting product as a commitment to these standards.

In pursuit of maintaining the utmost integrity, ESP is a proud member of the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC). The ESIC is an association with the goal of maintaining integrity within the esports scene by combating common issues, such as match-fixing and betting fraud.

What This Means For You

Gambling and betting laws vary by country; some allow it quite liberally, and in some, it is strictly illegal. To adhere to these laws, any countries where gambling is illegal or not covered by our gambling license, our real-money betting services will be unavailable. While we will do our best to keep up to date with any legal restrictions, it is still ultimately the member’s responsibility to understand their own local rules, laws, and regulations.

The legality of taking bets is done through gambling licensing. The license for ESP comes from the Isle of Man, one of the most difficult gambling licenses to acquire due to its stringency and the constant oversight required. As such, this means that our system and processes for offering these betting services have been vetted thoroughly to ensure you can make bets safely. Furthermore, we are the first Isle of Man licensee to be able to offer bets in virtual goods, such as CS:GO skins, and in cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin. In essence, our license provides ESP members both security and diversity in their esports betting.

Launch of ESP.bet and Identity Verification

To respect these laws, we will be launching a parallel but separate site in https://www.esp.bet. Here is where we will be exclusively offering our real-money services and strictly observing to gambling rules and regulations. As such, there is a process that any ESP Member must go through to ensure they can bet with the peace of mind of that everything is legal, ethical and secure.This Identity Verification process is known as Know Your Customer (KYC). Through KYC, we will confirm your name, address, gender, and age. Once approved, your information will never be sold or shared with any third party. Why do we need to do this? Primarily it is a way for us to ensure that you are legally allowed to wager, whether it’s your age or geographical location. As such, it is legally required for us as a betting service provider to know who is participating in our monetary bets. More importantly, KYC is a means of protecting you from fraud and identity theft. Once you complete these steps, you will able to begin the depositing process and start wagering. This process is known as Know Your Customer (KYC).

Know Your Customer; identification and verification

Through KYC, we will confirm your name, address, gender, and age. Once approved, your information will never be sold or shared with any third party. Why do we need to do this? Primarily it is a way for us to ensure that you are legally allowed to wager, whether it’s your age or geographical location. As such, it is legally required for us as a betting service provider to know who is participating in our monetary bets. More importantly, KYC is a means of protecting you from fraud and identity theft. Once you complete these steps, you will able to begin the depositing process and start wagering.

What if I don’t meet the requirements of KYC?

If you are unable to pass KYC for reasons such as being under age or reside in a country where laws do not permit gambling, you will unfortunately not be able to use the features on https://www.esp.bet. Rest assured that in this situation you can still, and will always be able to, play for free on https://www.esportspools.com. All the games you’ve come to enjoy, including fantasy and match betting, will remain free with a virtual currency there.

Financial security for our members is also a significant concern for us. As a requirement of our license from the Isle of Man, any and all funds associated with an ESP member are kept separately in a Player Protection Fund to guarantee payouts. We do not store your credit card details, and all handled through secure third party operators.


Being able to bet responsibly is something we want to help you with. If you want to prohibit yourself from betting, you can utilise our Self-Exclusion tool found in your settings. This tool will allow you to irreversibly exclude yourself from any betting services from ESP, from anywhere between 48 hours to 6 months.

Blocked Regions

To ensure that we are compliant with our license and respect the laws of countries and jurisdictions we are currently not able to offer ESP.bet in the following regions, though you can always play on https://www.esportspools.com:

  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Canada
  • Ecuador
  • Ethiopia
  • France
  • Great Britain
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Iran, Islamic Republic of
  • Iraq
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kenya
  • Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of
  • Kuwait
  • Lao PDR
  • Mongolia
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Pakistan
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Singapore
  • Syria
  • Tanzania, United Republic of
  • Turkey
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Yemen
  • Zimbabwe

Get in touch

We hope you’re as excited as we are about these upcoming additions to ESP’s offerings. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at https://www.esportspools.com/contact-us

Good luck, have fun and play responsibly!
The ESP Team