The world of Esports has helped pave the way for countless gamers over the years, most notably Dota 2 users—seasoned professionals that have, at least as a community, developed the game's reputation as one of the best PvP IPs on the planet. And it's a profitable one, too, as made clear by The International, an event that boasts some of the highest paying prize pools in gaming, period. It's within these events that, like a lot of popular Esports, well-traveled players earn their keep and, on occasion, millions of dollars worth of prizes.
In this day and age, it isn't all that unusual to spot a well-versed Esports champion with millions in winnings bolted to their name. But as far as the richest Esports players go—now that's another story, and one that'll no doubt make your mouth water and your urge to study the ropes on Dota 2 act up. If you're curious to know who makes up these numbers, though, then be sure to read on. Here are the richest Esports players in 2023, ranked by wealth.
5. Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen
Rising to fame through the Dota 2 network, Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen, a highly successful OG candidate and all-round team player, has accumulated a staggeringly high amount of money; $5.7 million, actually. However, it goes without saying that, while the 24-year-old has put in a great deal of work with the acclaimed organization, a huge amount of said earnings have been the product of a joint venture. Nevertheless, as it stands, the Finnish player stacks high as one of the best and, not to mention the richest gamers on the Esports monopoly.
Besides the monumental win at The International 2019, Taavitsainen has also lent his expertise to a total of 33 tournaments. And while the veteran may be on the inactive roster for OG this year, Taavitsainen is still very much present and accounted for on the board.
4. Sébastien “Ceb” Debs
Sébastien “Ceb” Debs, yet another former member of the OG firm, is currently ranked as the fourth richest Esports player. Rightfully so, given the fact that the retired ambassador for the organization has contributed to a whopping 67 tournaments. Of these 67, Debs earned the bulk of his winnings through The International 2018, and The International 2019, at which OG won first place. Apart from serving as a player, Debs has also coached the OG team for two consecutive years, between 2016 and 2018.
In spite of the former OG coach and champion retiring from the professional circuit back in 2021, Ceb is still very much regarded as one of the best Dota 2 players of all time. And, not to mention the fourth richest Esports player on the map—a title that comes loaded with a $5.8 million purse. Will this be toppled by another player by the end of 2023? Who knows. Either way, it's quite the benchmark to overcome.
3. Anathan “ana” Pham
Anathan, “ana” Pham is a—you guessed it—former member of the OG faction, and one of the primary champions on the Dota 2 circuit. Since making his formal debut back in 2013, the Australia-based pro has competed in a total of 26 paying tournaments, from which he has tallied up a generous $6 million in winnings. Again, these prizes mostly came from OG's wins at The International 2018, and The International 2019, out of which the team earned a total of $26 million.
Since briefly retiring from OG in 2021, Pham has made a return to the Dota 2 circuit as a champion under the T1 banner. As for what lies ahead for the seasoned pro is unclear, though one thing remains certain: a lot of rivals will be eyeing up the third spot on the board of richest Esports players in a bid to knock Pham from the pedestal.
2. Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka
Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka, a Finland-based veteran on the Dota 2 circuit, has made an impression on the Esports platform through The International, at which he and OG brought home the 2019 title. Outside of OG, Vainikka has played alongside some of the best and most influential teams in the world, including Team Liquid, and Evil Geniuses. As a result of the 68 global tournaments awarding cash prizes, the well-traveled player has scored just shy of $6.5 million in winnings, thereby becoming the second richest Esports player n the world.
Despite the brief retirement in 2020, Vainikka has retained a position on the Dota 2 community as both a champion and a coach under the Team Liquid banner. As for how the established pro will spend the forthcoming season remains unclear, though at any rate, it's doubtful that a bit of inactivity will rock the apple cart and sacrifice his title as second richest gamer.
1. Johan “N0tail” Sundstein
As of 2023, Johan Sundstein, otherwise known as N0tail, is the richest Esports player in the world, with an accumulated $7.2 million in overall winnings since 2012. Like his peers, the lion's share of these earnings have stemmed from Dota 2, in which the seasoned professional has competed in a grand total of 130 tournaments.
In The International 2019, N0tail played alongside OG, earning a first place ranking and a mouthwatering $3 million from the total prize pool. As it currently stands, N0tail is considered the undisputed titleholder in Esports, as well as the richest long-term professional on the board. Is this a position that'll stay put for the forthcoming year? It's hard to say at this point. But having said that, with prize pools gradually getting bulkier by the day, chances are N0tail will have his work cut out for him this season. We'll see, though.
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