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Welcome to the Spodek: IEM Katowice 2023 is right around the corner

It’s time for the greatest CS:GO teams and players in the world to travel to Poland to face one of the most enthusiastic crowds in the world as they battle it out for their share of the glory in the 2023 edition of IEM Katowice.

Bet on IEM Katowice 2023 with Bitsler

The best way to get in on the CS:GO bitcoin betting action for IEM Katowice is to create an account on Bitsler, the world’s premiere cryptocurrency betting site. This way, you can enjoy the benefits of best-in-class odds and a wide variety of markets, featuring matches from all popular esports and a myriad of prop bet options available alongside them.

Better still, IEM Katowice 2023 betting enthusiasts will also get a nice little bonus bet for the grand final as long as they’ve placed a wager of $10 or more on any other match in the tournament – read more about this IEM Katowice promotion here.

IEM Katowice 2023: tournament schedule and information

The tournament begins with a play-in stage, where eight of the sixteen participating teams will ultimately qualify for the main event. Without a doubt, the most surprising absence here is Astralis, as gla1ve’s Danes failed to secure a direct invitation and also weren’t able to navigate the playoff brackets of Elisa Masters Espoo 2022, falling short against ENCE in the quarterfinals. Of course, they had to deal with a double stand-in situation, having MistR and kristou on the roster, but it doesn’t change the fact that they will miss out on this showpiece event.

The play-in stage starts on February 1 and ends on February 3. It features a double-elimination bracket, with a best-of-one opening match and best-of-three matchups all the way after that. The deal is simple: win two series and you earn a spot in the main event.

Here are the opening-round matchups for the play-in stage:

Meanwhile, the following teams are directly qualified for the main event:

  • FaZe Clan (IEM Cologne 2022 winners)
  • Team Vitality (ESL Pro League Season 16 winners)
  • Outsiders (IEM Rio Major winners)
  • Heroic (qualified via ESL World Ranking position)
  • Team Liquid (qualified via ESL World Ranking position)
  • Natus Vincere (qualified via ESL World Ranking position)
  • G2 Esports (qualified via ESL World Ranking position)
  • MOUZ (qualified via ESL World Ranking position)

IEM Katowice 2023 offers a whopping $1 million prize pool by itself, with the winner taking home $400 000 and a direct invitation to IEM Cologne later in the year. The main event itself begins on February 4, with the best-of-three GSL-style group stage running until February 7. The playoffs will take place in the legendary Spodek Arena, starting on February 10, with a winner crowned on February 12 after a best-of-five barnburner matchup.

Last year, FaZe Clan won the title, memorably slotting jks in and out of the roster due to an ever-shifting stand-in situation. This time, rain will be back for the tournament after his parenthood-induced absence kept him out of the squad for the BLAST Premier Spring Groups, where FaZe comfortably strolled through their group to qualify for the seasonal finals.

How to watch IEM Katowice 2023: broadcast channels and storylines

Since IEM Katowice is one of ESL’s tournaments, you will be able to follow the action on their Twitch and YouTube channels alike. As is customary when it comes to these mega-events, concurrent games are broadcasted live on separate channels on Twitch. The alternatives are easy to find: just add a B or a C to the end or the URL (so ESL_CSGOb and ESL_CSGOc) and you’re good to go. Browsing through the most-viewed Counter-Strike channels on the purple platform will also help you easily find what you’re looking for.

Once you’re tuned in to the event, all you need to make the right CS:GO esports bets is to understand the storylines at play and what exactly is going on. Here’s what you should keep an eye on if you’re looking to become a savvy customer:

The Intel Grand Slam is still on the line for FaZe Clan

After an epoch-worthy first half of 2022, karrigan’s team couldn’t quite recreate the magic from the player break onwards. Winning every S-tier tournament until the summer, they then shocked the world by going out 0-3 in the group stage of the IEM Rio Major. In fact, they haven’t won a single tournament since IEM Cologne.

That said, FaZe started the year strong at the BLAST Premier Spring Groups, swatting aside the opposition on their way to qualifying for the seasonal finals. Now, a potential title defense in Katowice is on the cards – made especially juicy by the prospect of the Intel Grand Slam. This circuit weaves all of ESL’s big events together, and if a team manages to win four out of ten (with some added stipulations), they win a cool $1 million on top of everything else they’ve earned. Karrigan marked this as the team’s prime target for the year, and their incredible form this time last year means that they have four more chances to get across the line.

G2 and NAVI: which superteam will emerge stronger?

Right now, the highest levels of CS:GO play are once again defined by pristine fragging rather than clockwork-like tactical work, though it is no question that the floor and the ceiling both continue to rise across the two departments. This makes the prospects of teams filled to the brim with super-strong individuals much brighter than they were back in the Astralis era.

NAVI and G2 both fill this description to a T, and both are strong contenders for the tournament. G2 had a rough 2022 but HooXi’s work seems to begin to bear fruit now, if their recent BLAST performances and wins are anything to go by. Meanwhile, NAVI have the indefatigable s1mple to count on. Which team will go further in the tournament will tell us a lot about their prospects for 2023.

The Spodek effect: who will crumble under the pressure?

Perhaps with the exception of the LANXESS Arena in Cologne, there really is no other crowd in CS:GO esports like the attendants of the Spodek. The fans here truly love the game for the sake of the game, and they will create an incredible atmosphere no matter who is putting on the show.

Unlike some other tournaments where the live audience only rooted for the local teams ( cough the Rio Major cough ), there is no fan favorite here, which means a different kind of challenge for the teams and players. Experience on the big stage is necessary to survive the cauldron of the Spodek, and it is one of the many factors that might tilt the game towards a squad of veterans when the going gets tough.

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