A Brief Introduction
Hearthstone continues to be one of the fastest-growing eSports in the online gaming genre, captivating both the casual player and the competitive scene. Quickly becoming the most popular collectible card game (CCG), Hearthstone on the most basic of levels involves designing specific decks around a central theme of classes from Blizzard’s popular World of Warcraft franchise. Each class has a different playstyle, with unique cards that are exclusive to that specific class (there’s also a general pool of cards that every class can use). Mages have a vast amount of spell cards that do direct damage, hunters have beast minions, priests have spell cards centered on healing and buffs, and so on.
Hearthstone’s biggest draw is its free-to-play platform and its easy introduction to beginner players. While it initially started on the PC platform, it has recently established a mobile version of the game. Allowing players to access the game from anywhere has nearly doubled Blizzard’s profit margin for Hearthstone, pulling in roughly $20 million a month combined.
Betting on Hearthstone
As with all the popular eSport games, betting has become an attractive aspect for Hearthstone. The most common bet is on head-to-head matches during tournaments. Proposition bets can also be made, such as which player will be the first to do damage, the first to play a legendary card, do the highest damage from a single card, etc. In addition to this, traditional bets, such as picking a player before the start of a tournament to win it all, can be made.
Unlike team oriented games such as League of Legends, Dota 2, or Smite, Hearthstone can be closely associated with a poker style of game. In the moment decisions and using diverse strategies will ultimately determine the winner of a matchup. In essence, Hearthstone boils down to numbers and probabilities. The most successful bettors will do their homework on individual players, their strengths and weaknesses, and develop a probability chart for their chances of winning using certain decks and against certain decks.
Like any sports, upsets happen. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to bet on competitors that have an 80% or higher win rate. A $20 bet would only net a $4 payout or less, all at the chance of losing your $20 for essentially a low return. Finding a high bet, or where the odds are closer to 60-70%, are considered valuable bets. Medium bets, or where the competition has odds of 50-60% per competitor of winning, is also important to look at. Essentially the two competitors are even in skill, but if the bettor has done their homework, they may find subtle differences that would incline them to pick the winning person. It’s important to make bets on games you have an ample amount of information about (I strongly recommend not betting on games that you can find no information on). Once you start betting just because everyone else is can lead to problems. Always make informative bets.
Develop an Edge
The better understanding you have of the game, the more educated your bets can be. Knowing what the current meta is, popular strategies that are used, and the individual strengths of each class can significantly increase your odds of a successful bet. For instance, if a specific player has all control decks (typically a deck with late game cards – i.e. warrior, handlock, mage, etc.) and is playing against a player who has all rush decks (typically an early aggression deck – i.e. hunter, murloc, rogue, etc.), the odds favor the player with the rush deck. To further compound this, researching individual players is huge as well. Knowing what type of playstyle they prefer, their in-game decision making, and skill level is important. A large quantity of competitive players will stream on Twitch.tv, giving bettors a superb platform to inspect different players.
Specific resources, such as liquidhearth.com/, can also assist bettors. Hearthstone news, patch notes, live streams, and upcoming events can be found here. A significant amount of guides are also published here, with everything from helpful resources for beginner players, to advanced decks, and even articles on the currents trends found in Hearthstone.
Making your Bet
Hearthstone is unique in that you’re picking a single person to win instead of a team oriented bet. Going into a competitive tournament, the first thing you want to do is look for valuable bets. We’ve outlined what high, medium, and low bet values are, so now we want to look for one of those medium-high bets that will return a maximum profit. Generally I don’t want to all-in on one matchup, so if I’m looking to spend $20 I’ll bet on 2-3 matchups. This would be a theoretical bet:
In matchup 1, Competitor A (Amaz) has a 75% chance of winning over Competitor B (Amnesiasc). I feel confident in Amaz winning, so I bet $16 with a payout of $4.
In matchup 2, Competitor A (Zalae) has an 85% chance of winning against Competitor B (Neobility). I know Neobility has started to play much better as of late, and I feel they have a slight chance of getting the upset. I bet $2 on Neobility with a potential payout of $10.
The most likely outcome is that I win the bet for matchup 1 and lose the bet on the second matchup. The end result is I come out even on the day. However, if I win matchup 2, then I end the day up $14.
There are other unique bets that can be made, as well as multiplier (accumulator) for higher returns. If you don’t fancy betting on just head-to-head matchups, you can always find bookmakers with prop bets, such as what round the game win end, the competitor to get the most cards on the board, the highest amount of cards played, etc. As always, have fun with betting. While a select few make it into a career, the majority of people are just casual bettors. Unless you’ve had years of experience, make smaller bets until you have full confidence in your skills.