The popularity of Blizzard’s card game Hearthstone has been increasing in recent years, with playing numbers now hitting over 70 million. Game updates are frequently released so Hearthstone betting offers a unique challenge. Read on to learn the basics of Hearthstone betting.
Hearthstone betting: How does the game work?
Hearthstone is a free-to-play online collectable card video game (CCG) developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. Based on the Warcraft series of games, it contains many of the same elements and characters.
The game is a turn-based card game between two opponents, using previously constructed decks of 30 cards along with a selected hero and a unique hero power. The unique hero power can vastly differ – for example, one deals one damage to your opponent, while another deals two damage to yourself in return for drawing one card.
The cards cost a certain amount of “mana” to cast, with each player starting with one mana and gaining one more each turn. The maximum mana a player can have is 10, so players must choose which card to play wisely as they all have different mana costs.
Each player begins the game with 30 health points, with the winner being the one who removes all 30 before the other. Winning matches earns you gold, which in turn allows you to either open packs of cards to obtain better ones, or play in such events as the Arena and Tavern. In the Arena, you play against others with specially constructed decks and in the Tavern, you face other players using unique rules in a weekly event.
A brief history of Hearthstone
Hearthstone, known initially as Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft was released worldwide on March 11, 2014. Highly rated by critics, it has become immensely popular. By the end of March the same year, the game already had 10 million player accounts registered. Initially, the game was only available on PC and MacOS, but soon after other versions were released.
By the middle of April 2014, it was released worldwide for all iPads. By August, touchscreen Windows device support was added to the game and by the middle of December, it was released for all Android tablets. The following year, it was released for all iPhone and Android smartphones worldwide.
Hearthstone is a free-to-play online collectable card video game (CCG) developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment.
As of May 2017, Blizzard reported there were over 70 million registered accounts and it’s this massive player base that has carved out a spot for this game as a big eSports title. Blizzard began by holding a tournament in November 2013, named the Innkeeper’s International.
The first Blizzard Hearthstone World Championship was held at BlizzCon in November 2014. The tournament featured the four best players from each region who had managed to pass the regional qualifiers to get there - this tournament featured a total prize pool of $250,000.
Blizzard has continued to run their own World Championships ever since with increasing prize pools, viewing numbers and attendance.
How to bet on Hearthstone: The basics
Hearthstone differs from most eSports as it’s played between individuals and not teams. Bettors must, therefore, analyse the players as well as other factors that can alter the outcome of a match in a slightly different way before betting on the winner of a match (this market is referred to as the Money Line).
The odds you bet with in Hearthstone betting are the same as any other eSport - they simply reflect the probability of either person winning. As is the case with any bet you place at a bookmaker, the total probability of the events on offer will add up to over 100% (this is because the bookmaker applies their margin in order to guarantee a profit)
- How to calculate betting margins
The Money Line market is perhaps the most common and easiest to understand in Hearthstone betting, but more advanced bettors might choose to bet on the series handicap of a match. This market gives either player a certain number of games as a handicap (represented by either a + or - in the betting market).
If you are just starting out with Hearthstone betting, a fixed staking method set at low limits will let you focus on developing a strategy before investing large amounts of your bankroll.
If a player is given a negative handicap they must overcome this deficit for the bet to win . If it’s a positive handicap, the player must hold on to this advantage and lose by fewer games than the handicap figure given (or win the match). If a player wins after the handicap is applied they have “covered the spread”, if the scores are tied the bet is a “push” and is refunded and if they lose after the handicap is applied then the bet is a loss. We can use a hypothetical example to help with this explanation:
If Player A was facing Player B in a match and the bookmaker had given Player A a -2 handicap then Player B would automatically have a +2 handicap. If Player A won the match 3-2 in games, a handicap bet on them would be a loss (the score could be read as 1-2 after the handicap is applied). If the score was 5-3 the bet would be a push (3-3 handicap score) and only when Player A wins by more than two games (5-2, 6-2, 6-3 etc.) would a handicap bet on them win.
How much should you bet?
What you bet on and the odds you get are incredibly important in any form of betting, but thinking about how much to bet is often overlooked. If you are betting on Hearthstone (or any other eSport) using a staking method is vital.
The two most popular staking methods amongst eSports bettors are proportional and fixed, but there are multiple options that some bettors may not be aware of.
- Find out how to use a staking method
A fixed staking method is where you stake a set amount regardless of how much you win or lose. If you are just starting out with Hearthstone betting, a fixed staking method set at low limits will let you focus on developing a strategy before investing large amounts of your bankroll.
With proportional betting, you bet a fraction of your bankroll in proportion to your edge (the advantage you have over the bookmaker) and the odds on offer. Hypothetically speaking, you can’t go bust with proportional staking but it’s important to ensure you have an edge over the bookmaker (and know how to calculate it) before using this method.
Using methods such as Kelly Criterion to decide how much to bet when you believe the odds are in your favour is popular amongst serious bettors. The size of your bet is potentially more important than who you bet on and therefore using staking methods is essential when betting on Hearthstone.
Hearthstone betting: Things you should consider
With Hearthstone expansions regularly released (often containing upwards of 100 new cards), a players level of preparation is vital in deciding how they will perform at upcoming events. While bettors will often watch events on streaming sites like Twitch, it can also be beneficial to watch players practising.
The Money Line market is perhaps the most common and easiest to understand in Hearthstone betting, but more advanced bettors might choose to bet on the series handicap of a match.
Unfortunately, it can be challenging trying to learn about a players mistakes or weaknesses when watching them practice on a stream - unless your knowledge is higher than theirs, which is unlikely. However, an increasing number of players will talk about their thought processes throughout, giving you an insight into what reason they had for playing a specific card.
Watching also helps bettors understand the type of player, their play style, what moves they will make in certain moments and what styles they are suited to play against. Some players prefer to hold off their best cards until the end, while others prefer to make a move early on to try and control the board. Spending time learning more about the different styles of play in Hearthstone is essential if you want to make money from betting on it.
Now you’ve read this introduction to betting on Hearthstone, why not take a look at the latest Hearthstone odds. Alternatively, take a look around for more of our articles designed to help you learn more about eSports betting.