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From Ancient to Inferno, through Glocks and nades and C9 sticks, Counter-Strike esports has served up uncountable legendary moments across the decades, with many more to come with the arrival of CS2. It’s a complicated affair with many nuances to pick up for interested bettors – and if you are interested in betting on CS2, this handy guide is the best possible place for you to start out your journey.

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Here are a few ideas to know what to look out for in the competitive Counter-Strike landscape.

Counter-Strike betting tips

Counter-Strike is one of the most mature esports out there, with well-established orgs tracing their lineage back as far as the early aughties. Indeed, some of the veterans of the game have been playing as long a time ago as the Source and the 1.6 days, remaining relevant more than a decade later in the competitive scene – and one of the greatest players of our time, ZywOo, was born on the very day the original mod was released back in November 2000!
So, it goes without saying that the game has a treasure trove of data and statistics to dive into and many opportunities for you to dig into past performances and narratives. With the foundational gameplay staying unchanged throughout the entire life cycle of the Counter-Strike franchise, old games and series still hold a kernel of relevance when making your predictions.
Progress is inevitable, but old CS remains recognizable. Just take a look at this video to understand why:

In a way, it is much like chess: small things may have changed, and the greats of the past would not be able to keep up with those in the present – on account of accumulated knowledge and available tools alike – but the old games and series still hold great insight when it comes to analyzing the matches of the present and the future.
Counter-Strike esports is an exciting, deep, cerebral yet visceral, simultaneously chaotic and structured affair. Here’s what you need to know to make a dent in it.

CS2 will change everything in Counter-Strike esports

The biggest, most seismic chance to come in competitive Counter-Strike esports is just around the corner: a revolution is happening, and you most likely have noticed it around you. In many ways, the move to Counter-Strike 2, the latest iteration of the franchise, which will be the first one to feature the Source 2 engine (and let’s be real, the entry that finally gets the series into the 2020s in terms of graphical fidelity and tertiary gameplay loop elements), will serve as the great equalizer in terms of competitive prowess.
Everything is very similar to CS:GO, and yes, that is the point of the whole upgrade, with CS2 replacing the Global Offensive client in its entirety after its 1.0 launch. However, the feature upgrades (think volumetric smokes, sub-tick systems, map redesigns, and a general change in feel) will inevitably impact the gameplay experience – most importantly, it will often do so in subtle and imperceptible ways.
This will make it challenging and time-consuming to adapt to the minutiae for even the best of players – and in an interesting way, it might benefit the eldest of the pros the most, who have already survived a grand leap forward like this when Global Offensive was released back in 2013.
Couple this with the fully open skyboxes and the change to MR12 alongside all the shiny goodies we didn’t even get to see so far, and the competitive landscape will inevitably shift from where it was before, and you can’t expect the player and team power rankings at the tail end of the CS:GO era to seamlessly translate to the brave new world of the early CS2 days.
Even more importantly, there’s now new room for experimentation and innovation, a whole new metagame, and a set of systems to explore, so expect teams to keep bringing exciting new ideas to the table to take a quick lead over the competition, only for the chasing pack to copy what they’ve come up with, leveling the playing field once more. In short, just because a team has a standout performance at a tournament doesn’t mean they will be able to keep this up for the next few events – even less so than how it was the case for the later years of the Global Offensive era.

Counter-Strike is a real sport – and you should treat it as such

This isn’t just an insecure nerd insisting on the validity of their favorite hobby – rather, it’s an acknowledgment of the important fact that the competitive Counter-Strike scene features many of the trappings you’re likely familiar with from a traditional sporting setting, and they should all factor into your betting decisions when it comes to CS:GO and CS2 matches as well.
For instance, elite-level Counter-Strike players are no couch potatoes: Indeed, research shows that physical activity is now a well-established part of a competitive team’s regimen, and they are armed with coaches, sports psychologists, nutrition experts, and everything under the sun to ensure the sort of peak performance that you and I will never come close to when playing a random matchmaking game on a public server.
From a betting perspective, this means that any information or nugget on a player’s health or well-being can be a massively important factor in your decision-making process. News of illness, a tweet or post about a poor night’s sleep, a bout of food poisoning. In this dog-eat-dog world of non-stop traveling and competition, even something as simple as stress and burnout at the end of a long chain of events can lead to some nasty health effects, as it happened to FaZe Clan’s Twistzz in pretty devastating fashion – any revelation of this kind can forecast a downturn in form for a savvy bettor, and it’s worth scouring the forums and social media for them.

Substitutions in CS esports are not tactical changes but devastating affairs

Not all comparisons between traditional sports and esports make sense – and unlike some other competitive gaming titles, where having a larger roster and swapping players in and out as needed is justified and even desirable, no one has really cracked the code in Counter-Strike when it comes to meaningfully incorporating substitutes and extra players into a larger lineup. The synergies are just too tight, and the specific roles played on given locations on any map are so granular that replacing a player is much more likely to disrupt cohesion rather than to be of any help in terms of fragging output. Apart from a few specific ill-fated attempts, no professional Counter-Strike esports team has stuck permanently with a roster larger than five players.
This is important to know because if you do end up seeing a substitute in the fray, you will understand that it is a sign of trouble. Be it visa issues, illness, personal reasons, or otherwise, whenever a competitive CS team has to field its coach or an academy player in their squad, expect a massive downturn in performance and results – and unless you have very good reasons to do otherwise, bet accordingly on their matches.

Competitive CS is its own kind of game

Just like how a kickabout in your backyard is a far cry from a Premier League football match, elite-level Counter-Strike esports is unbelievably different from your regular matchmaking games. These are well-oiled teams featuring top-tier players with many years’ worth of dedication and experience, wielding thick stratbooks and poise under fire in the cauldron of competition. What I’m trying to say is this: don’t try to glean insights from your own “fakin purpl go A already” affairs.
Just because you and your mate can’t hold Inferno B site after plants to save your lives, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t one of the hardest bomb sites to retake in the game. Pay attention to what the pros pay attention to, and your predictive powers will skyrocket.

The devs can change anything at any time

At the end of the day, it’s Valve, the developers and publishers of Counter-Strike, who decide what goes down and how. Though the company is much more offhand in nature than Blizzard or Riot when it comes to esports, there’s always the possibility of a balance change, a new content release, or some competitive ruling to shake up the space at the drop of a hat. In such scenarios, put a premium on teams and players with a known penchant for adaptability and innovative potential.

The best resources to learn more about CS:GO esports

The Bitsler blog

Good news, you’re already at the right place! For up-to-date information on the biggest Counter-Strike esports events and all the related storylines, the Bitsler blog is the place to be, as this is where our crack team of experts and bettors actively discuss and cover the most important goings-on in the world of competitive gaming, be it CS2 or some other title.
Be sure to check out the blog regularly for in-depth discussion on the hippest of happenings in the world of esports and to arm yourself with valuable knowledge heading into any of the largest tournaments in the space, be it as a punter or as a viewer. Knowledge is power, and we’re here to power you up.

HLTV

There is no other resource quite like HLTV – not just in the Counter-Strike esports space, but really anywhere else in esports. The available slate of stats literally goes back decades, with game demos to boot, alongside scheduling information and tournament coverage, interviews, discussions, original content, a well-established and (mostly-)trusted ranking system and some spicy social media stuff to boot: it’s almost the complete package when it comes to CS2 and CS:GO.
Our one criticism is that the archives and the stats sheets can be a bit clunky to navigate, and the website as a whole could use a big overhaul. However, the content available remains excellent, even if it could be easier to access and traverse for a Counter-Strike esports journeyman.

Liquipedia

The esports equivalent of Wikipedia, brought to you by Team Liquid et al., this massive community-driven wiki of esports competition results is often easier and more insightful to navigate than HLTV, at least when up-to-date tournament standings and non-eye-melting brackets and charts are concerned.
Couple this rapidly updated slate of event pages with detailed breakdowns of players and teams of past and present, courtesy of the hard-working volunteers of the esports world, and it’s easy to understand why you’ve just found yourself another unmissable resource in the competitive gaming space. It is not just CS:GO or CS2, either – all the big esports have their own dedicated Liquipedia subdomain for you to peruse. Don’t expect much context or editorialization, though – that you will have to supply yourself.

The biggest Counter-Strike tournaments to follow

Thanks to the healthy interest and value in Counter-Strike esports, there are many, many, many tournaments out there for fans to follow. They are all interesting in their own right, but these are the must-watch ones to keep an eye on.

The Majors

Sponsored by Valve, these are the pinnacle of Counter-Strike esports, with all the prestige and the marbles on the line. Not to be confused with the Dota 2 Majors, these truly are the biggest, most important events on the calendar, and every team and player started out dreaming of winning these bad boys one day. Expect the highest possible levels of play and innovation whenever a Major rolls around. The first CS2 Major tournament should be especially hotly contested.

ESL’s Counter-Strike tournaments

Also known as the Intel Grand Slam circuit, tournament organizer ESL offers a slate of legendary Counter-Strike tournaments like IEM Cologne, the ESL Pro League, IEM Katowice, and many others. Almost, if not all, of these events are organized under the Intel Grand Slam umbrella, with an extra $1 million on the line if you can win four out of ten events in the circuit under the right conditions.

BLAST Premier

BLAST have come a long way as tournament organizers: starting out as much-maligned wannabe monopolists with slickly produced but barely competitive affairs, they are now responsible for one of the best set of tournaments out there in the form of the BLAST Premier series.
Battling through bi-seasonal (Spring and Fall) tournaments to qualify for the eventual World Finals via seasonal finals and a knockout showdown event, some of the best and brightest of the Counter-Strike world battle it out on their way for another million-dollar bonanza.
In a nod to other notable competitions elsewhere in the scene, Major winners and the victors of some of ESL’s biggest events are also automatically invited to
The only real problem with these events is that it’s really difficult to get in and do well unless you are an already partnered team – something Valve’s recent announcement will sort out by itself in just a year and a half or so.

Conclusion – CS esports, explained

Now you know just how much more there is to the hit game of five-versus-five competitive tactical shooting-and-blowing up shebang than first meets the eye. With a strong understanding of the history of Counter-Strike esports, seeing what CS2, the new game in the series, will bring to the table, plus some important foundations and fallacies when it comes to predicting the outcome of professional CS:GO matches and beyond, you are now well-equipped with the knowledge required to jump into CS wagering and to have an even better time watching the tournament.
We can’t wait to see you in the action.

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