Do you have what it takes to become a pro gamer?

Last year, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins made $17 million and topped Forbes’ inaugural gamers rich list. Patrik Antonius, meanwhile, lost $1.6 million in a single day last week, but when you’re raking in $4-$5 million each year playing online poker, that’s just chalked down to experience.

Yes, these are extreme examples, but the very fact that Forbes has started compiling a list of the highest earning gamers tells you all you need to know. Gamers come in different types, but whether your platform of choice is the Arlington eSports stadium or the CherryCasino website, there are more and more people trying to make a living out of playing games. Have you got what it takes to join their number?

Focus on one game

Here’s one aspect in which eSport is like a traditional sport. You need to focus on a single game and excel at it. You don’t see sports stars switching sports, at least not till they have already made their millions and are looking for a new challenge after retirement. It means hours of practice, and it’s going to get boring sometimes. Stay focused and, depending on the game, work on building your reputation as a single and team player.

Do your homework

Research everything you can about the game and study the strategies adopted by the best players. Also, record your own games where possible and critically assess what you did. Whether you are playing World of Warcraft, FIFA or a live blackjack game you can often learn more from when you lose than from the games you win.

Get the right gear

What’s right for you depends on both the game you are playing and the way you are playing it. If it’s nothing too processor-heavy and you travel to gaming conventions, a decent slimline notebook is going to make more sense than a top-notch gaming PC with the latest graphics card.

Be ready to stream

Here’s a secret for you. Ninja didn’t earn all 17 million of those greenbacks as prize money for playing Fortnite. He didn’t even qualify for last year’s inaugural Fortnite World Cup, the $3 million on offer there was collected by a 16 year old called Kyle Giersdorf. In fact, Ninja’s total prize money last year amounted to less than $100,000. The point is, nobody on that Forbes list made all their money just through competition. People like Ninja are more influencer than gamer, and their real master stroke was to start streaming their gaming activities on platforms like Twitch, Mixer and YouTube. Ninja has almost 40 million followers across Mixer, YouTube and Instagram.

Don’t go it alone

Gaming is sometimes seen as a solitary pursuit, but it doesn’t have to be. Join a team, join a gaming community and generally get social. The world of pro gaming is still in its relative infancy, but it is mature enough to have a solid infrastructure with resources that can make all the difference for the new professional. Make the most of them.

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