With the demand for esports betting sky-rocketing, we got one of our Live esports traders, Michael Prim, to give us an interview. Why is live betting so popular with esports bettors? What game state changes are the most critical? When do bettors overreact to a situation? Read on to find out.
Michael Prim has been playing DotA since its early days on Warcraft 3 (DotA Allstars). He has also played CS from 1.3 to 1.6 and then went back to playing it when GO was released. His expertise in gaming led him to Pinnacle, where he has worked as a Live Trader for esports since September 2015.
Hello Mike, how did you first find out about Pinnacle’s esports department and what is your role?
I was previously involved in the gaming industry (MMORPG/mobile games) but didn't see much progress in a career, so a friend of mine advised me to check with the sports betting industry. I saw a job posting for an esports operations assistant, applied, and was accepted. Currently, I am a Live Trader for esports (Dota 2/CS:GO).
What is the biggest difference between the gaming and betting side of the esports industry?
Well, when you are playing the game against a team that seems much better or worse than you, it feels like you either stomp them or get stomped on, but the chance that your team actually had of winning or losing was probably closer than you thought.
I have a greater understanding of how the odds reflect a team’s chance of winning - being a Live Trader, you have to analyse every engagement and graph to see how they affect the betting line. Now when I do get to play, I have a better idea of how certain deaths, engagements, and objectives help and hurt my team.
Now that Live Trader has become a full-time responsibility within the department, why is esports live (in-play) betting so popular with bettors?
The game state changes a lot as the game progresses so this gives the bettors more information on how the game is going, making it more interesting to bet on. Fans of teams also get the opportunity to bet on longer (better) odds for their team to come back if they are disadvantaged early.
What game state changes are the most influential to the bettors and when do bettors overreact to a situation?
For Dota 2, mid-game team fights carry a lot of weight as they can easily decide how the flow of the game would go. However, comebacks do tend to happen so I always pay attention to how later fights go as one fight or pick off can turn the game around.
I feel people tend to overreact to the early kills, especially on the first kill (First Blood). While early turret advantage is nice, if the team who loses the early turrets hangs in the game, they have a chance to really take over midgame once they even the turrets because of the momentum change in net worth.
So you watch and follow the same stream as the bettors. What other sources of information do you need to keep up with the bettors?
I would suggest paying attention to the net worth and XP graphs as they generally indicate how ahead/behind a team is. If possible, I will use websites that give real-time changes to these graphs because when you are looking at just the stream, you only see the game from the Caster’s point of view. Kill score can be very misleading, especially late in the game. The later the game goes, it is really important to know the buyback status.
Is there advice you could give the live bettor who uses this information?
Know what each team’s game plan is and determine if they are able to follow it during the match. If a team whose plan is to fight constantly commits two or three heroes to gank but only picks off supports, then the other team is usually able to gain a farming (net worth) advantage. Understand that there is more going on in the game than you can view from the Caster’s perspective and use other sources of information to fully comprehend the game state.
Being someone whose job consists of watching DOTA 2 all day, if you could be a Hero for a week, who would it be and why?
Haha! That’s a tough one. Let me think about it for a second. I'd pick Naga Siren* so I can just be everywhere, doing everything all at once.
Is that because you like to sing?
No, I’m terrible at singing! That would be a good talent to pick up for a week though, I guess, maybe then I should try karaoke.
Thank you, Michael.
Pinnacle’s live esports betting offerings are updated regularly in the esports events schedule. You can also read articles - like this guide to live esports betting - to learn more about getting an edge over the bookmaker.
*Naga Siren is a Hero whose ultimate ability is “Song of the Siren”.