From playing for fun to winning life-changing sums of money, that’s the story of the esports players we’ll discuss below. The era of online gaming has truly evolved from fun gaming time to lucrative careers worth millions.

Initially, players could only make a crazy amount of money by playing online casino games and tournaments. Poker experts would win big in tournaments and lucky players would win millions in jackpot slots. By playing slots online and hoping lady luck is on their side, some players have managed to win tens of millions of dollars. The biggest slot winner won over $35 million dollars; the highest win as of the moment.

But now, esports has joined the bandwagon and is turning professional players into millionaires. If you consider yourself a lethal gamer, maybe it’s time to test your skills by taking part in tournaments. Fortnite and Dota 2, in particular, have given out generous rewards to the top players over the years. So, let’s see what has brought the transformation in esports and who are the top earners of all time.

Factors Contributing to the Vast Popularity of Esports

Did you know that the esports market has a global audience of over 435.7 million as of 2020? The beauty of it all is that experts expect this number to grow even more in the next few years. But why has esports become so rife over the recent years? Below are a few reasons why:

The Technology Used

In today’s competitive arena, cutting-edge technology elevates esports gaming to new heights. With gaming keyboards registering keystrokes instantly, high refresh-rate monitors, and gaming mice with exceptional precision, these technological innovations seamlessly enhance players’ abilities. In turn, they enable lightning-fast reactions, which are crucial in competitive gaming. Additionally, top-tier streaming technology facilitates global engagement with preferred esports titles from anywhere.

Vast Opportunities

Nowadays, esports are much more than a mere hobby. They are a highly profitable career option.


As a matter of fact, several distinguished universities in the US offer esports as an academic course of study. That goes to show the immense potential that esports holds in the modern world.

Attracts High-Level Financial Investors

Thanks to the massive acceptance of esports worldwide, many reputable brands and advertisers have invested in this burgeoning market. As the market gains more visibility, more companies from multiple industries are sponsoring esports teams, tournaments, and even individual players. That way, brands can boost their reach and reputation while investing in an emerging market.

Top Earners in Professional Esports Gaming

Just like esports popularity, its financial landscape is ever-increasing. From eye-watering prize pools to lucrative sponsorship deals and streaming revenue, the top earners in professional esports are rewriting the rules of success. Below are the five richest esports players of all time.

  1. NOtail

Hailing from Denmark, Johan Sundstein, better known as NOtail, leads the pack as the highest esports earner of all time. With a whopping $7 million under his belt, this Dota 2 star player has two international titles (2018 and 2019) and four Majors. Although he retired from professional esports in 2022, he is still a co-owner of OG Esports.

  1. JerAx

Yet another Dota 2 star player emerges on this list of top esports earners. JetAx, also known as Jesse Vainikka, is a Finnish professional esports player who has accrued over $6.4 million after winning 68 tournaments. Further, he has won The International twice (2018 and 2019) with OG and one Major.

  1. Ana

Ana is one of the youngest players to grace The International and win the largest esports prize pool twice in a row.


Officially known as Anathan Pham, this Aussie player was also part of the team when OG dethroned Team Liquid in 2018 and 2019. Ana has also won two Major Grand Finals.

  1. Ceb

Yeah, you guessed it! Another Dota 2 player ranks as the fourth highest earner in esports. Sébastian ‘Ceb’ Debs, a French esports professional, plays as the offlaner in OG. He’s helped the team win two The International titles and also four Dota 2 Major Championships as the team’s coach.

  1. Topson

As Finland’s second-highest esports earner and the fifth worldwide, Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen is another part of Dota 2’s iconic OG team that won The International in 2018 and 2019. Although he’s won a whopping $5.7 million cumulatively, the most he’s won from a single tournament is about $3.1 million at The International 2019. He currently plays for Tundra Esports.