Poker’s Place in the Esports Revolution

Most fans of poker will be well aware that some of its biggest names came to the game via other strategy games such as Magic the Gathering or Hearthstone – with Bertrand ElkY Grospelier perhaps the best known of the old-school, becoming the first ever dual-sponsored pro, and the legendary Daniel Negreanu a big fan and player too.

By: Andrew Burnett

What many in the poker community might not know, however, is that esports is an evolving world, just as poker is – think of the recent Short Deck explosion, for example - and there are newer and even more exciting avenues for crossover, and players involved in it.

Fortnite is one such game that has broken all records in its rise to esports stardom, TwitchTV poker supremo Lex Veldhuis sharing his first attempt at the game just last year. If you haven’t seen it or played it, it’s not dissimilar to poker in several ways.

A 100-player Battle Royale format rewards the ‘last-man-standing’ – players having to outlast the opposition in much the same way as they do in a poker MTT.

And when you are talking about the higher levels of the game, and the professionals who make a very good living at it, there are those who indulge in fortnite betting.

Of course, you’ll need a reasonable understanding of how the game plays before you do so, but with the world-famous Fortnite pro Ninja providing the most-watched TwitchTV esports channel it isn’t hard to pick up the basics, or more, as required.

Fortnite’s rise hasn’t cleared the decks of the older favourites, of course, the 90’s sensation of MtG and this decade’s Hearthstone still firm favourites.

2016 WSOP champ Joe McKeehen shared his beginners guide to the latter earlier this year, while WSOP bracelet winner David Williams was a star of the former game back in the noughties before finding poker fame and fortune.

Once again, esports betting became a big part of the scene early on, and in the poker world there is nothing more likely to attract a player than the chance to back his or her favourite, regardless of the game or sport being played.

Likewise, the sharp rise in the number of online casinos alongside the online cardrooms made it easier for the players to keep their profession and hobbies under one roof – or to move about the virtual world from one place to another, picking up bonuses along the way.

So, the traditional routes; poker, sportsbetting, early esports, even chess, have been given so many crossover options it’s a wonder that, say, a TwitchTV poker streamer can remember what game exactly they are meant to be playing when they sit down.

For poker fans and lovers of quality streaming such as ourselves, of course, it’s an absolute win-win situation. Long live the crossover!


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