10 Highest-Paid Esports Players In The World

By Alice Chen on May 18 2020 in Economics

Johan Sundstein has earned a massive sum playing Dota 2. Image credit: dotesports.com
Johan Sundstein has earned a massive sum playing Dota 2. Image credit: dotesports.com
  • Johan Sundstein is the highest paid esports player
  • Jesse Vainikka has made over $6 million from esports
  • Topias Taavitsainen has made over $5 million from esports

Esports is sweeping the globe. What was once a small niche of the gaming sector has now steadily grown to be a behemoth of interest, with millions of dollars and viewers at play. Rather than take place in the physical world, these sports exist in a virtual realm where the action is not limited by constraints of the real world. Even within this world, there are still tiers of gamers. Some professionals are pulling in millions of dollars while others get much smaller amounts. This list will run down the ten highest-paid esports players in the world. Interestingly enough, all these players come from the world of Dota 2.  

10. Lasse Urpalainen

Lasse Urpalainen has earned over $3 million in his esports career. Image credit: gamesports.net

Lasse Urpalainen is the first player to start out this list, though he is more commonly known by his gamer ID, Matumbaman. The amount he's made off of esports is a staggering $3,635,781.04 made entirely on the backs of popular games. The year where he made the most was in 2017 when he finished first place in the massive The International 2017 tournament, pulling in a cash prize of over $2 million. 

9. Maroun Merhej

Maroun Merhej won $2 million at the International 2017 tournament. Image credit: www.monsterenergy.com

Next on the list is Maroun Merhej, who from esports alone has made $4,133,236.44. His player ID is the simple GH, though sometimes he goes by GH-GOD and Liquid.gh, and he hails from Lebanon. The money he has pulled in comes from a high 42 tournaments played in the popular multiplayer online battle arena game Dota 2. His highest cash prize was also from The International 2017, where he won over $2 million. 

8. Ivan Ivanov

Ivan Ivanov has played in a whopping 65 tournaments and earned over $4 million. Image credit: www.tiltreport.com

Ivan Ivanov is the next in this list of high-earning esports players with a reported total earned of $4,530,393.36. He goes by the gamer tag MinD_ContRoL, hails from Bulgaria, and has played in a whopping 65 tournaments in order to make his tremendous salary. He's young. too. He was born on January 20, 1995, which makes him only 25 in contrast to his esteemed career up to this point. Like the last two entries on this list, his single largest cash prize was from The International 2017.  

7. Amer Al-Barkawi

Amer Al-Barkawi has competed in over 50 tournaments and earned nearly $5 million. Image credit: blog.kronoverse.io

Coming in as the 7th highest paid esports star is Amer Al-Barkawi, who has also gone by Miracle-, 123, Miracle_jr, and OG.Miracle-. He comes from Jordan and has made a total of $4,739,318.88 from over 50 tournaments. He's even younger than the last person on this list, coming in at a tender 22 years. Most of his money earned has come from after his 18th birthday, as he only made $759.45 before that milestone.   

6. Kuro Takhasomi

KuroKy scored a first-place finish at the International 2017 tournament. Image credit: dotesports.com

Next on the list is Kuro Salehi Takhasomi who goes by the gamer ID KuroKy. At 27, he's actually older than a lot of the others on this list, but age hasn't dulled his sharp reflexes and game sense. He has earned a whopping $5,175,688.15 from 108 tournaments. This German player can attribute nearly half of his total earnings to his first-place finish in The International 2017. 

5. Topias Taavitsainen

Topson has earned $5,414,446.17 from just 20 tournaments. Image credit: earlygame.com

Topias Taavitsainen is the fifth highest-earning esports player, but he's second place when it comes to Finnish players. He's on the younger side, at just 22 years old, but his age hasn't stopped him from dominating the tournament scene. His skill has resulted in an earned prize pool of $5,414,446.17 from just 20 tournaments. His gamer tag is Topson matching how he is on the top, particularly in The International 2019 where he earned over $3 million.  

4. Sébastien Debs

Ceb has earned a total of $5,496,833.01 from 52 tournaments. Image credit: streetpress.com

Sébastien Debs is the next on this high-powered money-making list. His player ID is the simple Ceb, though his alternate IDs are varied and range from FuckingMad to shiba.gaming. He's another older player, clocking in at 27 years old and a total bank earned of $5,496,833.01 from 52 tournaments. This French player is the highest earner from his country and he can attribute a large portion of his purse to The International 2019 tournament. 

3. Anathan Pham

Anathan Pham has earned over $6 million from just 24 tournaments. Image credit: twitter.com

Anathan Pham is the 3rd highest earning esports player across the globe, clocking in at total prize money earned of $6,000,411.96, which is a little over $6 million. He's the youngest player on the list so far, with a 1999 birthdate that lands him a solid 20 years old. He's only played 24 tournaments under his player ID ana but he's made his home country Australia proud with his many victories.

2. Jesse Vainikka

JerAx made $3 million from the International 2019. Image credit: gamesports.net

Jesse Vainikka is yet another Dota 2 player who has made big bucks from his choice of professional game. Jesse, who also goes by his player ID JerAx, is the highest-earning Finnish player and second in the world, with a total amount earned of $6,470,000.02 from the 64 tournaments he's played in. The approximately $3 million he made from The International 2019 accounts for a big chunk of his winnings.  

1. Johan Sundstein

Johan Sundstein has earned close to $7 million in his professional career. Image credit: www.esportsph.com

Rounding out this list as the highest-paid esports player is Johan Sundstein who has made a whopping $6,898,191.79 from the over 100 tournaments that he's made an appearance at. His player ID varies and includes names like N0tail, BDN, and BigDaddyN0tail. This Danish player first passed the $100,000 earned milestone in December 2014 with his $19,319.80 cash prize from a first-place finish at the XMG Captains Draft 2.0.  

More in Economics