Online Poker VS Esports

The internet has been responsible for pivotal changes in shopping, entertainment and work in the past couple of decades. The ‘World Wide Web’ as it was once known, has also had a dramatic impact on one of our favourite pastimes, gaming.

Console gaming, computer gaming and mobile gaming have all seen an explosion in popularity thanks to the reach and accessibility of the internet.

Whilst experts were predicting the future impacts of the internet, two small, unknown areas sailed under the radar – online poker and Esports. In recent years, both have reached unparalleled levels of popularity, but how do they both compare?

Participation Numbers

Ordinarily, the best way to measure the popularity of any form of entertainment is to chart how many people actively enjoy them. So, to start with, let’s put online poker games against Esports in terms of participation numbers.

According to recent reports, more people worldwide play online poker than the numbers for people who play golf, billiards or tennis. There are, reportedly, 60 million online poker players in the United States alone, with another 40 million dotted around the globe.

Events like the WSOP main event are incredibly popular in the USA, which is home to 60% of the world’s online poker playing community

That’s a staggeringly high number, but it is nothing when compared to the number of people that play video games around the world. More than one-and-a-half times the population of China (1.38 billion) play video games every year, with industry experts predicting a rise to 2.4 billion in active players by 2021.

Despite much higher participation numbers, there are no reliable statistics available to compare online poker players with Esports players, making this section, a draw.

Online Poker 0 Esports 0

Viewing Figures

One way to measure the popularity of both online poker and Esports objectively is to chart the number of people tuning in to watch each game. In poker, the absolute pinnacle is the World Series of Poker event which occurs annually.

In the most recent incarnation of the tournament, viewing figures for the main event peaked at around 800,000, both online and on television. A direct comparison with Esports is difficult to make as various games have varying degrees of popularity.

However, if we are to take FIFA as an example, perhaps one of the most popular Esports games if not the MOST popular. The viewing figures for the recent Eworld Cup completely blow poker out of the water.

Over the three day event, 47 million viewers tuned in to watch Germany’s MoAuba scoop the $250,000 winners prize money.

Nearly 50 million viewers watched as MoAuba won the 2019 Fifa Eworld Cup

It’s not just FIFA that dwarves poker when it comes to viewing figures either. Over five-and-a-half million people logged in to watch the Call of Duty World League Championship last year, with a million more watching the World of Warcraft Esports tournament.

Regardless of what indicator you use to measure the viewing figures of both Esports and poker, it is clear that the former rules the roost when it comes to viewing fans.

Online Poker 0 Esports 1


We may well think that our passions or hobbies are amazing and that everyone else should enjoy them too. Our view is subjective though, so we need to seek an objective measurement and what is more objective than cash?

The marketing executives at big companies invest enormous amounts of cash and time into finding the passions and hobbies that are worth sponsoring. The events that will allow them maximum exposure to an audience of potential customers. So, if something is really popular and has the potential to grow, it will be sponsored heavily by big business.

So, objectively, which is bigger and more important for sponsors, Esports, or online poker? Let’s take a look at some of the key statistics and biggest sponsorship deals.


Daniel Negreanu is the hottest player in poker and has been for some time, earning millions of dollars every year from sponsorship deals. Recently, Negreanu took to the press to decry the changing nature of sponsorship, complaining that online players are making more money from streaming on Twitch than he would for playing in real-life.

That news may make you want to start playing the tiniest little violin in the world, but before you do, rest assured that Negreanu still makes a lot of money from sponsorship – a reported $4 million a year.

Although that figure could be much higher, as you may expect, Negreanu and his sponsors aren’t exactly forthcoming in the details of their deals. Even if that figure was three times higher, it wouldn’t matter…


Perhaps Daniel Negreanu should pack up his cards and move into the realm of Esports if he is worried about falling sponsorship deals, because Esports BLOW poker out of the water when it comes to sponsors.

In 2018 alone, one Los Angeles based Esports team raised over $37.5 million in sponsorship deals. By the end of 2019, the total money spent by advertisers and sponsors in Esports is set to reach $1.2 billion. Sorry poker, there’s no way you were going to win this one…

Online Poker 0 Esports 2

Final Result – Esports Win!

In almost every measurable indicator, Esports is more popular, more profitable and more appealing than not just online poker, but poker in general. Whilst cards will remain popular for the foreseeable future, it’s Esports that looks like going on to take the world by storm.

Written by
GLYFE a gaming culture and lifestyle brand. We live to game. Visit for all your latest gaming news, reviews, Esports highlights, live streaming news, Cosplay, and GLYFE Merchandise.

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