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by Sophia Connelly April 23, 2021 12 min read

A video game conference with esports matches

Have you ever thought about making a career out of gaming?

Maybe you’re really skilled with games, picking them up quickly and understanding them thoroughly.

Perhaps you have time on your hands to practice daily or are already at the top of the leaderboards.

It’s important to have a place to start, to understand what you’re taking on.

Here’s a guide to getting started in the esports scene.

Pro Gamer Lifestyle Guide

What Is a Professional Gamer?

A professional gamer is someone who makes money out of gaming.

This is a wide career path that includes streamers, affiliates, and professional esports gamers.

They have turned a hobby into a career, essentially.

This line of work requires time, dedication, as well as a baseline skill and passion.

It’s not for everyone, so if you’re more interested in gaming as a hobby, check out our article saved here.

This article focuses on esports gamers, which are the gaming equivalent of professional athletes.

These gamers work day and night to hone their skills.

They’re some of the most capable in their field, but to become true professionals, they take several important steps for success.

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Where Can I Watch Professional Gamers in Action?

We can enjoy the professionals in tournaments, which are often held annually.

These fights occur not between individual players, but between teams that are also formed on a year-to-year basis.

Professional players compete to join these teams, often after being scouted out. Once they’re signed, they work hard to win the prize money at the end.

For regular spectators, and hobbyists, professional tournaments are an opportunity to watch the masters.

They’ve worked hard throughout the year to become better at their skills, and it’s incredible to watch the game played by people with such a thorough understanding of its technicalities.

It’s like watching a different game entirely.

How Are Professional Gamers Viewed by The Community?

Professional gamers are seen in the gaming community as elite members, due to their reputations.

To be a professional, you can’t just be good at the game.

You also have to be kind, hardworking, and a good team player.

There have been numerous team members in the past who were kicked for being toxic, or problematic.

Toxic players are those who are cruel to their teammates or opponents.

A professional must keep a level head.

After all, they have become a role model for everyone watching them.

Furthermore, being a good teammate is important.

While we may know of individual names in the professional gaming scene, those players got to where they are not only through their own work but due to the efforts of their entire team.

Someone who refuses to work with the team won’t survive long in a cooperative gaming setting and is unlikely to fulfill their end of the contract.

Those who do make it, are respected and sought after.

Professional gamers can make a living even after retiring, simply from streaming.

They’re on such a higher level than everyone else, even in retirement, that watching them is exciting and noteworthy.

Furthermore, their status as being a previous member of a team gives fans the knowledge that this is a strong individual who’s a good team player.

It’s an astounding reputation to have, and one that professionals can appreciate having earned.

A pro gamer playing at video games with esports teammates

How much money do esports players make?

This largely depends on the game of focus, but the numbers seem to be on the rise.

For instance, Faker, Lee Sang-Hyeok, is considered one of the best gamers in League Of Legends.

By 2020, he had made $1.2 million.

Gamsu, Noh Yeong-Jin, a retired professional Overwatch player, has a net worth between $1 to $5 million.

Geguri, Kim Se-Yeon, the first female signed to a professional Overwatch team, has a net worth in the same range!

It’s hard to make it big, but the numbers look good.

The important thing to remember here is that the prize money is not the only money the players make.

They also receive paychecks, usually given in installments as with any other job, through their contracts.

This means that they are likely already taken care of the moment they sign a contract.

Winning or losing simply helps their long-term goals, and lines their pockets with extra cash, or retirement money.

Retirement money is important. Professional gamers have to think about their lives in the long term.

They will need to have a career lined up in the future, or they will need to make enough money from prizes and merchandise sales that they’re able to support themselves.

Curating a strong fanbase is important, to allow them to already have followers if they choose to begin streaming.

They can also move on to other aspects of esports, such as coaching, which is more of a steady job with a measurable income.

Is it Possible to Become a Pro Gamer?

Of course it is!

Someone has to.

Remember, all of these professionals started somewhere.

They may not have planned a future in professional gaming.

They just sat down to try it out and discovered they were good.

Really, really good.

But then they worked hard, acquired agents, showed their skills, signed contracts, amassed fans, and became professionals.

Many people wonder if it’s within their power to become professional gamers.

It’s not a random happenstance, and unlike other sports, gaming is more accessible to a wider variety of people.

There’s also some familial backlash for those who are interested in esports.

It’s important to remember that gaming at a professional level is widely recognized as a form of sport, making the players legitimate athletes in numerous countries.

This is important, because it affords a wider range of protections and abilities for those players to meet up with their teams, and move across country lines for tournaments.

Am I too young to be a professional gamer?

It’s never too young to begin your gaming career.

Most professional gamers fall between the ages of 18-25, about the same range as professional athletes have.

Again, as much as people may not commonly recognize it, gaming is a sport.

College-aged young adults are at their prime age for the career, which is often short as far as the professional scene goes.

The youngest Overwatch professional is Saucy, Garrett Roland, who turned 18 after the cutoff date.

He was allowed to join.

The youngest League of Legends professional player is Lee "Clozer" Ju-Hyeon, who played for the well-known T1 team at the age of only 17.

He’s considered a prodigy.

Even younger than him, SumaiL was trusted on the esports scene at only 15 playing DOTA.

The current youngest prodigy in gaming is widely said to be Joseph Deen, who at 8 years old was signed to play Fortnite professionally.

He’s been playing since he was 4 years old.

A previous Fortnite World Cup was won by Bugha, Kyle Giersdorf, who was 16.

It’s important to remember that as fantastic as these achievements are, these kids are prodigies.

Many players don’t join the professional scene fully until they are adults.

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How to Become a Professional Esports Player?

To become a professional esports player, start by picking a game.

This may seem obvious, but remember that Gamsu has actually switched professional scenes twice.

He was originally a League of Legends esports gamer, before choosing to try his hand in Overwatch.

He then chose to return to League of Legends!

It’s okay if you want to explore different scenes and play different games.

But the first step is to pick a game that you are passionate about.

You’re going to be playing it a lot!

Team-based games are the obvious choice.

Long ago it was discovered that games with a lot to win or lose, and fighting between two teams, brought in the big bucks.

People get excited to see that level of competition unfold right in front of them.

Especially when this is done on a platform that they often play on.

It’s important to decide whether or not an agent would be useful, as well.

Agents work not only as secretaries but as advocates.

Since so many potential professionals are young and inexperienced, it’s important to have a professional working with them towards their goals.

This ensures better contracts, better housing conditions, and reputable teams to work with.

How Does a Professional Player Live?

Professional players live different lives from us, of course!

They have a different job than many of us, so their setup is important.

Besides, they’re working with teammates, and under contract.

While there are multiple avenues to get to where they are in life, there’s a pretty standard expectation for the kind of output that they give back to the community.

Let’s break down some of the common expectations about what life is really like for these elite gamers.

An esports player during a professional game session with teammates

How Many Hours do Pro Gamers Play a Day?

Esports players practice on average 13 hours a day.


That’s longer than a workday for many people.

It is a huge commitment, with little time for socializing, or even eating!

Professional gamers have discussed the importance in their line of work of making time for meals, and sleep.

They often need to schedule out their day ahead of time, much like everyone else.

But their schedules must coincide with team members.

For instance, DOTA and League of Legends both have bottom lanes, with two players within the lane.

These two players not only need to work cohesively on the field but in real life.

They wake up around the same time, eat together, and must practice together.

Otherwise, their individual skills get honed, but not in a way that allows their teamwork to grow.

It’s extremely important that the practicing each member in the house performs is helping the team as a whole.

To them, practice isn’t just practice, it’s planning for the next event.

Some have enlisted the help of experts to hone their skills in the game, including people and computer programs designed to track their gameplay.

While hobbyists know to practice their aim with a mouse, professionals take it to the next level.

These expenses may or may not be covered by the company they work for.

After all, the better the team does, the more likely it is to be appreciated.

And in the gaming world, this means the company makes more money.

This is why signing a good contract with a reputable team is so important.

A better team is more likely to have access to software, reputable coaches who are retired players themselves, and experienced professionals who can help break down a player’s gameplay and build it up to be better than ever.

What’s a house like for an esports player?

Professional gamers are signed to a specific team.

They live with their teammates, to streamline practices and communication.

This means living with 5-8 other people in the same house.

They often have their computers set up together in one main room, so that they can easily communicate and get used to playing side by side.

While hobbyists are used to playing solo in their rooms, and there’s nothing wrong with that, a professional gamer has to get used to playing on stage.

The sounds they deal with are much different, including roaring crowds and loud music.

It’s really important that esports players can differentiate their teammates’ voices from everything else.

Practicing in a space where they can all hear each other is a small part of preparation.

Professional gamer training daily at video games

What’s a Typical Day in the Life of a Professional Gamer?

Each day, they wake up and get downstairs to go on their computers and begin practicing with their teammates.

It’s very similar to professional athletes in the time dedicated, except that professional gamers actually have less time with their friends and families!

The first half of the day is dedicated to these practices.

They run for 3-5 hours on average.

Then the teammates take a lunch break.

Their diets are also important, so they don’t get worn down or fatigued.

After lunch, it’s time for some games.

They have near-constant scrimmages, which are mock games between teams or sometimes between team members.

These may be streamed, depending on individual contracts and conditions.

Scrimmages, called scrims, are important to players so they can learn how their team works in a fight, as well as how their opponents work.

Since there are really only so many players at the top, players on other teams get some knowledge of different common tactics and strategies.

These are important to learn.

Even we, viewers, can learn these tendencies over time, by watching our favorite players or reading up on their teams.

It’s the same as with any sport, and it lets us predict what style of gameplay they are likely to lean towards.

After the scrimmages are over, their managers and technicians may go over the mechanics of their gameplay, pointing out errors and skills that need to be worked on.

The next day, the player will work with their new knowledge to improve their gameplay.

It’s important to remember that the games they are playing don’t remain static.

New patches cause changes, meaning each player on the team has to consistently update their knowledge of how the game works, and how different skills interact.

Further, new games are consistently releasing characters, which change how the game feels, works, and what is strong.

How Are Esports Players Sought After?

This is the question that haunts team managers in their sleep.

It’s may seem tricky to narrow down possible recruits from the millions that play the most popular games.

But in truth, it’s a network of leaderboards.

Someone who is consistently coming out on top is likely to be approached.

Someone who is consistently coming out in the top ranks and acquires an agent is more likely to learn of contract deals.

That being said, age is also a factor.

By the time a player is 25, they’re considered old in the scene, much the same as for professional athletes of other sports.

Most professionals are signed at around 18-19 years old, playing for their team for a few years before retiring.

This is due to the high lifestyle demands of professional gaming.

Once people get over that young age, they tend to want to spend more time with friends, families, significant others, etc.

And they’ve made enough money that they can live comfortably, return to school, or perform military duties.

What’s Next for a Professional Gamer Who Retires?

Ah, the million-dollar question.

Well, some players, like Rush, Lee Yoon-Jae, are going to retire to complete their military duties.

Others, like Shroud, move on to streaming and have an easy time there, gaming on their schedule, playing what they want to play.

They’re able to enjoy more freedom, and fewer restrictions, while essentially working for themselves at that point.

Most professional players already have a fanbase by the time they retire.

What Determines a Player’s Market Value?

A player’s market value depends largely on the sport, their team, and in the past, the country they play in.

While professional gaming is a real sport, and in the US players have been recognized as athletes who can obtain Visas, it is still not nearly as large in the Western world as it is in, say, Korea.

Furthermore, the teams that are consistently at the top are going to have large payouts.

But it’s also worth considering that a gaming contract with a team may include housing or basic expenses so that the professional is making money that’s purely for leisure.

But, the prize money is nothing to laugh at.

In 2020, the League of Legends World Championship had a prize of over $2 million! Granted, that’s split between the team members, but still!

That’s on top of their registered contracts.

This is another reason that professional players find it so easy to simply retire once they’ve grown tired of the scene.

A player’s performance in tournaments is also a large deciding factor.

A good player who consistently wins prizes, and gets their teams ahead, is appreciated.

A gamer who gets along well with their fanbase is a valuable asset for their team.

The more of a celebrity that person becomes, the more valuable they are considered to be.

What Video Games Have Esports Opportunities?

There is a long list of games with esports, but we’re going to list a few of the top ones at the moment, with many teams and large payouts.

The three largest professional esports at the moment are League of Legends, Dota 2 the direct competitor, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, a first-person shooter.

They’ve dominated the charts for the past decade, and are only growing.

These games are popular both for their graphics, and relatively simple premise.

Two teams of a set number of players battle it out for a clear goal.

But their range of choices, from characters to skills, allows for such different gameplay that each game is exciting and new.

You can watch 100 games played out, and each one will be different.

Runner-ups on the esports scene include Overwatch, Rainbow Six Siege, and Hearthstone, with some lesser populated games including Fortnite, Call of Duty, and Starcraft.

These games also contribute large funds to esports.

It’s important to note that there are more, so if you have a favorite team-based game, check out the information for that game, there might be a team set up already.

As more games come out, esports is likely to grow further, allowing for more variation in the types of games shown.

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Professional gaming is a viable career, full of teamwork, and with some extreme benefits ranging from the everyday lifestyle to the benefits of winning games.

If it’s not for you, it’s okay, check out our article on gaming as a hobby.

But if you are interested, get out there and play for the best.

Sophia Connelly
Sophia Connelly

Sophia Connelly is a columnist for Dubsnatch. She studies Psychology and is an avid gamer in her free time. Diablo III and Horizon Dawn are her favorite getaways.

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