With over 40 StarCraft 2 events taking place each year, esports punters are spoiled for choice when it comes to betting opportunities. The biggest events feature large prize pools of up to $50,000 for winning participants, but you can win big too! Not sure where to start? Our guide to betting on StarCraft 2 is sure to bring you up to speed.
How to play StarCraft 2
StarCraft 2 is a fast-paced eSport game with matches that usually last between 5 and 15 minutes. The game is incredibly difficult to master, with the very best players dedicating a huge amount of time to rank among the best StarCraft 2 players.
In professional competitions, StarCraft 2 matches are played in a player vs player format. The two adversaries can choose one of three races – Terrans, Zerg and Protoss and then spawn at different locations on a given map. Each of them begins the game with a base structure: Command Center for Terrans, Hatchery for Zerg and Nexus for Protoss, as well as a set of units that can be used to gather resources and build additional structures.
The first objective for both players is to gather minerals and Vespene gas. These resources can then be used to build structures and units. The next objectives are to build worker and fighter units, expand on the map by creating additional bases, and evolve technologically. As the game advances, players usually explore the map in search of one another. At any given moment, they can send units to attack their opponent. The final objective is to destroy all of your opponent’s buildings or force them to surrender.
StarCraft 2 101
StarCraft 2 is regarded by many as one of the greatest real-time strategy games ever created. If you’re new to the RTS genre, players essentially take the role of commanding a faction or race, building structures and defences while amassing an army large enough to defeat the opposition. Hundreds of RTS games have been released over the years, and the original StarCraft found much acclaim on its release in 1998.
The highly-anticipated follow-up, StarCraft 2, takes the core gameplay and military sci-fi theme of its predecessor, building upon it with new features and improvements. One distinguishing element of both StarCraft games is the choice of three races players may select:
- The Terrans are a fictional and futuristic race analogous to humans. They’re characterised by strong defensive and tanking abilities, as well as mobility and firepower.
- The Protoss are an alien race originating on the jungle planet of Aiur. They hold the most advanced technology out of the three races in StarCraft, with expensive but strong units.
- The Zerg Swarm are an evolved alien race with a hive mind, mutating their genetics in order to become more powerful. The Zerg are known for their cheap units which players can produce en masse, overwhelming their opponents with sheer numbers. This tactic gave rise to the ‘Zerg Rush’ strategy, which has become well-known among gamers around the world.
While both games are renowned for their multiplayer modes, the StarCraft universe also features a rich backstory explored through its singleplayer campaigns. StarCraft 2 picks up at the end of the first game’s expansion, Brood War. Three instalments have been released: Wings of Liberty follows the Terrans; Heart of the Swarm is based on the Zerg race; and Legacy of the Void is centred on the Protoss.
Both StarCraft games were developed by Blizzard Entertainment, one of the biggest names in PC gaming. If you’re not familiar with Blizzard already, you’re likely to know a few of its many successful titles, including Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch, Hearthstone, plus the Warcraft, World of Warcraft and Diablo series.
Today, StarCraft 2 remains an established esport with a flourishing professional scene. It’s particularly popular in South Korea, the country which many of the top teams and players call home. StarCraft 2 matches and tournaments take place almost every month, bringing together the very best pros and fans from around the world. Some of the most prestigious events include the World Championship Series, Intel Extreme Masters, and the Global StarCraft 2 League.
StarCraft 2 Teams and Players
For those new to the scene, it may seem tempting to simply back the favourite when betting on esports. While it’s likely that this strategy will land you a few winners, a bet on a firm favourite often won’t yield much of a profit. And of course, the bookies’ picks aren’t always right. Having a thorough understanding and knowledge of the StarCraft 2 esports scene will allow you to take advantage of such opportunities and find some great value for your bet slip.
Aside from keeping up with the top tournaments through live streams, punters can benefit from taking a statistical approach to making picks. Many esports bettors look at head-to-head records, recent form, plus map-based and race-based stats when trying to pick out their best bet at a StarCraft betting site.
If you’re new to the StarCraft 2 competitive scene, here are some of the top names from around the globe. Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive — there have been so many fantastic players in years gone by that it would be hard to cover them all here.
- Maru is undoubtedly one of the all-time greats and was previously crowned back-to-back champion at the GSL. Recent wins include first place at the DH SC2 Masters 2021: Last Chance, along with over $1 million in prize money during his career. Maru currently plays for Onsyde Gaming.
- Solar may not have taken first place recently, but consistently lands in the top four, recently achieving second place at NeXT 2021 S1. Hailing from South Korea, Solar also currently plays for Onsyde Gaming.
- Serral is considered a veteran at this point, but still regularly takes the top spot, with three wins at premier tournaments in 2022. He plays for the Finnish team ENCE Esports and holds the record for most prize money won over his career — nearly $1.2 million in total.
- Reynor is an Italian player currently on the KaiZi Gaming roster. Despite weaker recent performances, he proved himself by taking first place at IEM Katowice 2021.
- Rogue from South Korea plays for Dragon Phoenix Gaming. Recent achievements include first place at 2022 GSL S1: Code S, and he’s cleared over $1 million in prizes during his StarCraft 2 career.
- Clem is a younger player from France who’s making waves with recent first place wins at DHM Atlanta: EU and DHM Valencia: EU. At just 20 years old, he’s certainly one to keep an eye on.
StarCraft 2 Betting Markets
Once you’ve done your research, you’ll be ready to place your bets. Here’s a list of the most popular StarCraft 2 betting markets:
- Match winner – for this type of bet, simply pick the winner of a particular match. Most StarCraft 2 matches are settled in a best-of-3 or best-of-5 format.
- Handicap – In lopsided battles between odds on favourites and massive underdogs, you’ll find there’s little value in the match result market. Instead, bet on the handicap. The handicap levels the playing field and gets you a much better price. You’re simply betting that a certain team will win a particular match while starting with either an advantage or a handicap, such as being 1.5 maps behind or 1.5 maps ahead.
- Map winner – here, you are betting on the result of a particular map within a match. This type of bet is comparable to betting on the result of a game within a Tennis match.
- Tournament winner – here, you’re betting on a certain team to win a particular tournament.
- Tournament finalist – this market allows you to pick a team to make the finals.
- Race of tournament winner – this type of bet is available before the start of a tournament, allowing you to pick the race (Terrans, Zerg or Protoss) of the winner.
- Outright winner – This betting market is generally the same as ‘tournament winner’ and is a bet on which team or player will win a particular tournament or league.
StarCraft 2 Tournaments and Leagues
With so many different leagues and tournaments playing out across the calendar, it can be hard to know what’s what if you’re new to betting on StarCraft 2. We’ve listed some of the most important events below.
- Global StarCraft II League – The GSL is one of the largest StarCraft 2 leagues. Previously culminating in the World Championship Series (WCS), this format was superseded by the ESL Pro Tour starting in 2020/21. GSL is run by Blizzard in collaboration with AfreecaTV and is split into three seasons. Maru took the win at the most recent event, the 2022 GSL Season 3: Code S tournament, bagging $123,000 in prize money.
- ESL Pro Tour – The ESL Pro Tour circuit essentially connects all ESL and DreamHack SC2 tournaments together in a race to the world championships. Players participating in events throughout the year accrue points, and those at the top of the leaderboard qualify for the EPT Championship.
- EPT Championship / IEM Katowice – It’s all to play for at the EPT Championship: the winner is crowned official StarCraft 2 global champion. The Championship is held every year in Katowice, Poland. Serral took the win in 2022, claiming the title along with a portion of the $500,000 prize pool.
- DreamHack StarCraft 2 Masters – the DH SC2 Masters are a series of regional tournaments, split between Europe, North America, China, Latin America, Taiwan, and Oceania. The winner of each qualifies for a spot at the EPT Championship in Katowice.
Starcraft 2 Betting Bonuses
Whether it’s your first time betting on StarCraft 2 or you consider yourself a veteran, it’s worth taking advantage of a StarCraft 2 betting bonus when you sign up at a new site. Let’s take a look at what’s on offer.
Free bets are as simple as they come — place a wager on an eligible market without spending a single penny. While the stake is not returned, the winnings are yours to keep and can be cashed out once you meet any wagering requirements. Some free bets don’t require deposits, while others may need you to place a qualifying bet to receive them. Free bets of £5 are most common, but we’ve seen offers extend to £30 or more.
With a deposit match, you’ll receive a percentage of your qualifying deposit as additional bonus bet credit. For example, a 100% match on £50 would net you an extra £50 bet credit. This credit is separate to your real money balance and may have restrictions on how it’s used. You can’t usually cash it out, but you’ll receive the winnings from any successful bets you place with it.
If you regularly bet on StarCraft 2, cashback can be seriously worthwhile. With these promotions, you’ll get back a percentage of your losses in a certain period — say 5% every week — as real cash or bonus bets. So, if you lose £100 in a given week, you’ll get £5 back. It may not seem like much, but it adds up and helps your bankroll stretch a bit further.
Starcraft 2 Betting Site Payment Options
Before betting on StarCraft 2, you’ll need to deposit funds in your account. There are a number of ways to do so, and you likely have your own preferences and priorities when it comes to online payments. Here are some of your options.
Nearly everyone has access to a Visa or Mastercard debit card, which makes them a quick and simple choice for StarCraft 2 betting payments. Enter the 16-digit card number, expiry date, and CVC, and then confirm the transaction. Deposits land instantly, although withdrawals are on the slow side and take 3–5 working days. The exception here is Visa Fast Funds. If it’s supported by the StarCraft betting site, Visa customers can receive their funds within 30 minutes of the bookmaker processing their request. Another benefit to debit cards is they’re always eligible when claiming deposit bonuses.
The most popular e-wallet among esports bettors, PayPal offers a host of additional functionality along with security features like two-factor authentication. Once you’ve stored your payment methods within your PayPal account, you can quickly confirm sportsbook transactions with just your email address and password. Withdrawals can arrive in under an hour — subject to the betting site’s processing times — although unfortunately PayPal and other e-wallets are often excluded from claiming bonuses.
Trustly is a payments intermediary built on Open Banking technology. There’s no need to sign up for an additional account. Rather, bettors connect to the Trustly portal with their usual online banking credentials. From here, direct transactions can be made to and from the StarCraft betting site. Deposits are instant and withdrawals are on par with e-wallets, often arriving within an hour once processed. Trustly isn’t available everywhere, but it is generally eligible for welcome bonuses.
A newer service that’s yet to find prevalence among StarCraft 2 betting sites is AstroPay. This digital wallet combines the functionality of services like PayPal with the security benefits of prepaid cards. How does it work? Once you’ve signed up, you can generate virtual prepaid cards with an amount of your choosing, using these to make sportsbook deposits in lieu of your day-to-day debit card. As AstroPay is considered an e-wallet, you may find it’s excluded in bonus terms and conditions.
Paysafecard is one of the most popular prepaid cards around. Simply purchase a voucher in a participating retail store and use the 16-digit PIN to transfer the funds to your betting account. There’s no need to share any personal details, and the card can’t be overdrawn, so it’s both highly secure and a useful tool for limiting your gambling spend. You can’t currently withdraw to Paysafecard so you’ll need to pick another service in order to cash out.
Bet on StarCraft 2
Now that we’ve taken you through everything you need to know about betting on StarCraft 2, you’ll be betting like an esports pro in no time! Fancy a flutter? We’ve carefully curated a list of the very best betting sites on the market. It’s jam-packed full of the top bonuses, esports markets and promos available online. Simply compare, sign up and place your bets!
Are in-play betting markets available for StarCraft 2 games?
You can expect to find live StarCraft 2 betting markets at the top esports betting sites. While your options will be more restricted in comparison to the pre-match offering, you’ll still be able to bet on the match result and map winner in-play.
How far in advance should I bet on StarCraft 2 events?
Betting markets for the top StarCraft 2 tournaments are often available a couple of weeks in advance. Some bettors seek to gain an advantage by placing bets early, while there’s little information available for bookies to accurately price betting markets. However, there’s no guarantee that this price will be the best on offer. Many prefer to place their bets once all necessary information is made available, such as the outcome of matches in the run up to an event. You may find that the price on offer on the day of the event is the best price. This essentially comes down to preference – there’s no guarantee that an advantage can be found through either method.
Which esports betting sites offer the best prices on StarCraft 2 betting?
You’ll be glad to know you won’t have to go from bookie to bookie to compare prices – we’ve done the legwork for you! Our expert review team has put together an awesome list of top esports betting sites, and of course, we’ve only included bookies with the best prices on the market. You’ll usually find that the odds on offer at these top bookies are quite similar, as they compare and update prices frequently to remain competitive. Our top betting tip is to look out for Betway’s esports price boosts, they’re sure to get some great value for your betslip!
Can I bet on StarCraft 2 on my mobile?
Yes. All of the top esports bookies featured on our sites have mobile-friendly sites, so you’ll be able to place your bets anytime, any place. Some of the top betting sites even offer native mobile betting apps available to download for smartphone users.
Where can I watch StarCraft 2 events live?
StarCraft 2’s biggest and best tournaments are streamed live on sites such as Youtube, MLG and Twitch. These live streams are free to watch and are the best way to keep your finger on the pulse, whether you’re simply tracking the progress of your bets or betting in-play.
How much do StarCraft 2 players make?
The amount can vary drastically. Some sources suggest top players may make around $100,000–$300,000 a year, with funding coming from team salaries, sponsorships, and prize money. For example, IEM Katowice 2022 had a total prize pool of $500,000. On the lower end, many professional StarCraft 2 players have part-time jobs to support themselves.
What is the most popular StarCraft 2 betting site?
It’s hard to give an objective answer here. Names like Bet365 and Betfair are popular among all sports bettors, but specifically for StarCraft 2, dedicated esports betting sites like Midnite and Betway Esports are solid choices. Check our list of recommendations to find a StarCraft 2 betting site that’s right for you.
What is the difference between StarCraft 1 and 2?
The most obvious difference is graphics. StarCraft 2 has 3D graphics with a camera that can be rotated, while the StarCraft 1 graphics are 2D. StarCraft 2 features many new units for each race, as well as new game mechanics and features. There are also several ‘quality of life’ changes in StarCraft 2, which affect minor aspects of gameplay such as grouping units and hotkeys.