Month: June 2019
At number 10, we have Cassiopeia. With her micromechanics of having to deal with her poison, as well as having to kite and position to be effective on her, since she is fairly immobile and can get bursted down easily, added into an ultimate that is fairly easy to outplay, and thus extremely hard to hit properly, and this solid snake mid laner is left with a kit that requires a lot of mechanical skill, and really smart play to set up her ultimate. She has a ton of outplay potential due to the movement speed bonus on her Noxious Blast, but making use of that effectively, to dodge skillshots, kite, and micro her poison so that it doesn’t run out all at the same time, can be quite challenging for someone new to that style of champion. When played at a high level, she becomes super strong through, since her kit is quite powerful and has a fair amount of tools, but getting to that level is extremely difficult.
Next up at number 9, we have Bard. Now, Bard might not be the most mechanically difficult champions, but landing his ultimate and making use of a magical journey is really really tough, especially since one bad play, one bad ultimate can potentially do as much to cost your team the entire game. His kit is quite unforgiving if you mess up, due to the fact that his skills can help your enemies, and so you really have to have a good knowledge and awareness to make plays with his portals.
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And when you throw out his ultimate, you have 10 people to consider that you could potentially hit, rather than the normal 5 of a regular skillshot, and depending on who you hit, the outcome of a fight can change dramatically, and getting to the point where you can hit his ultimate effectively and reliably is incredibly difficult, and is one of the main reasons why Bard has a low win rate. At number 8, it’s Twisted Fate. Now Twisted Fate’s mechanics as well aren’t too crazy, as they are mostly limited to picking the right card in a high pressure situation, and aiming your wild cards to hit multiple targets. And so his mechanics only waver on the above average range in terms of difficult, and so what truly makes him really hard to play, is the decision making required to perform well with him. Twisted Fate does not have a very high damage kit, nor a lot of outplay potential, and so you need a lot of good awareness and understanding of the game as a whole, in order to effectively make plays with him. If you mess up your teleport or go for a bad roam, you will get punished quite hard, since when Twisted fate is behind his damage is almost negligible, and his impact on the game becomes that of a glorified support.
But, if you can manage to make really smart plays, and have really good positioning in fights, as well as picking the right cards when you have people jumping in on you, Twisted Fate can be one of the best champions to carry games with, due to his global presence he can pull off. Next up at number 7, we have Thresh. Now at first glace, thresh doesn’t seem too crazy, but to play him at a high level actually takes a really high amount of mechanical skill, as his mechanics within his kit are actually quite hard to pull off. Landing his hook against a decent player is tough, since the skillshot is incredibly slow, and so people tend to use mobility to dodge it really easily, and so you have to get good at pulling off madlife hooks to just be able to land the ability most of the time. As well as positioning his lantern in a good spot for your teammate to be able to click on it is actually a lot harder than it seems, when you are put into a high pressure situation.
And let’s not forget, the mechanic of using his flay to stop someone using a mobility spell such as Shyvana Ultimate, or Gragas Bodyslam, is not only extremely difficult since his flay is so fast, but it’s also ridiculously important to succeeding with thresh, since it drastically improves his kiting and outplay ability, and without being able to do it, makes you significantly worse at kiting. And he’s not super tanky, so jumping in at a bad time with a hook or missing one completely can get punished quite hard as well. However, if you do manage to perform extremely well mechanically on thresh, he becomes one of the strongest supports in the game, and allows you to perform an insane amount of plays with his kit. At number 6, we have Vayne. Now, she’s a champion that’s super hard to play, because her kit is really unforgiving. If you mess up her kiting mechanics and get hit by even as much as one skillshot, that can very often mean instant death for her, since her stealth isn’t too hard to beat with a pink ward or upgraded sweeper lens.
And so, her auto attacking and kiting mechanics are incredibly difficult to pull off, because you essentially have to dodge everything or you get wrecked. Not to mention, that landing her condemn on a target to stun them, is quite difficult, and requires some really smart maneuvers. But, if you can kite and dodge with her absolutely perfectly, she is quite the hyper carry, and can really dominate teamfights.
Next up at number 5, we have Riven. Riven makes the top half of the list, due to the insane amount of mechanics that she requires to pull off effectively, as well as the decision making required with her in teamfights. Knowing when to enter a fight is really tough, since she can get punished and locked down by crowd control so easily, that if you enter a fight too early, you get punished super hard, and if you enter too late, you can miss your opportunity to kill everyone. Not to mention, the mechanics involved around using her kit efficiently is extremely complex, and so using them to combo and and maximize her damage effectively and efficiently is incredibly difficult, not to mention microing her auto attacks, and dodging skillshots, and we’re left with an incredibly difficult champion.
However, she’s extremely snowbally, and so if you can pick up some kills early, a skilled riven player can completely steamroll an entire game with the tools she has on her kit. And at number 4, it’s Draven. Although Draven might be the easiest champion on this list to play at an average level, when it comes to getting really good at him, learning to micro manage his axes is actually insanely difficult, since in order to maximize his dps you often need to effectively be able to juggle three axes in a chaotic, high pressure teamfight, and holding onto his axes in teamfights while kiting and dodging your opponents is really important to keeping his damage high, and is really difficult to micromanage. In addition, similar to Thresh’s Flay, you have to get used to stopping mobility spells with his stand aside in order to effectively outplay and kite a lot of champions, which can be quite difficult. His strength in lane is quite high, even if you don’t have the best mechanics, but his teamfighting is incredibly difficult, and can be significantly weaker if your individual skill can’t hold up to him. However, if you can pull it off he has some of the highest raw dps in the entire game, and can really run away with a lead, due to his raw power when you aren’t dropping his axes.
At number 3, we have Azir. Mastering the Azir mechanics involving his mobility and kiting is actually extremely difficult, since you have to micro manage three soldiers around your opponents, while keeping them in range, and going for plays with his shifting sands is actually incredibly difficult since it’s fairly easy to outplay, and if you jump into a fight by missing your shifting sands, he dies really fast and gets punished really hard. In addition, due the incredibly short range on Emperor’s Divide, the skill is insanely hard to land, and making plays with it as well is crazy difficult, and overall is a big reason as to why his win rate overall is quite low, but is actually positive in the master and challenger tiers. The shurima shuffle where you jump in behind someone and then ult them back is such a powerful play, but it’s quite easy to outplay, and is incredibly difficult to pull off, and is super easy to mess up, but it’s a really important part of being able to do well with his kit, especially when it comes to acquiring an early lead.
As well as the decision making involved in his zone control is quite complex and require a lot of game knowledge to be good at. But, if you can manage to play him perfectly, he’s one of the strongest mid laners in the entire game right now, and has a ton of power that you can use to make plays. And at number 2, it’s Yasuo. Yasuo is another champion who get’s punished quite hard if you make a mistake. If you mess up with him windwall, or miss a tornado, his overall kit becomes a lot less powerful. The Yasuo mechanics of micromanaging your tornado, as well as his mobility and maximizing his windwall is quite difficult, and both in lane and in teamfights, he has a lot of trouble, and is easily outplayed if you don’t know what you are doing.
His laning phase is quite weak if you don’t understand how to outplay a lot of champions, and his skills require a lot of set up and preparation to pull off, which is quite difficult to manage as a whole. In addition, setting up a good ultimate in teamfights is ridiculously hard if you don’t have other knock ups in your team comp, and so charging up a knock up can be almost impossible, since he gets completely shut down when he gets hit by just one crowd control spell, and in the high pressure chaotic situation of a teamfight, wind walling effectively, and getting off a good ultimate is extremely difficult, but if you can make use of his kit effectively, he becomes super strong, and has a ton of outplay potential through kiting his opponents and setting up his skills effectively. And taking home the number one spot, it’s Lee Sin. Honestly, any of the top 3 champions could have taken the number one spot, as it was kind of a toss up, but I chose to put lee sin, mainly because of him being fairly weak currently, which makes him somewhat harder to pull off the really powerful plays with him. Landing the sonic wave certainly isn’t easy, and setting up ganks with him requires a lot of creativity, since he doesn’t really have much crowd control in his kit until he hits level 6.
In addition, the insec play of jumping behind someone and ulting them back is actually extremely difficult to pull off, mainly because of how easy it is to outplay the lee sin with a flash or mobility spell to not only deny the play entirely, but to have him kick the target away, which would acutally help them in a teamfight. In addition, teamfighting with lee sin is super hard since it’s hard for him to find a role in what to do if you can’t make an insec play, since he isn’t going to deal enough damage unless he’s snowballing. Managing his passive is also fairly difficult, and since he essentially has 6 abilities, maximizing the use out of all of them is not only super difficult, but really important in order to manage his energy effectively and get the most power out of his kit. Lee Sin was once a lot easier to play, but now that he isn’t that strong, succeeding with him is extremely difficult, and the mechanical skill required for him, as well as the game knowledge and creativity needed to get results out of him is quite insane, and it’s a big factor in his super low win rate, and so Lee Sin takes my number one spot for the hardest champion to play in league of legends.
For nearly two decades ESPN broadcasts and an account named Moneymaker have given rise to a generation of poker players dreaming of turning professional and earning millions. I think everybody is just chasing those big six figure seven figure scores. But poker is a game of high risk – It’s worse than the stock market to a very significant degree.
I took home about seven hundred thousand dollars. That money was won despite never entering a casino. Poker is for sure. Not always what it seems. It makes it sexier when you think that a player’s taking home you know 10 million dollars.
In reality a lot of these players aren’t taking home even half that sometimes. Apparently some players. Agree to sell a part of their winnings in return for guaranteed cash up front. So how did you do that and how much of that what is it eight almost nine million dollars will you actually keep after tax. It’s called staking poker staking is having someone put up money for another poker player to use normally to enter a poker tournament. I did sell some pieces to some friends just to just to give them swats.
Pretty much everybody I know that is in poker is at least selling action or swapping action or is staked full time. I really don’t know anybody who doesn’t do it once in a while. Backing and staking are the financial lifeblood of tournament poker. For years it took place between poker professionals, but today entrepreneurial players hope to open it to the world. We wanted to make it really simple for both the pros, the players, and the people the fans to get in on some action or sell some action whatever side you’re on with more access comes regulation and uncertainty.
It was an investigation trying to figure out this business model from fans to amateurs to pros staking is the most common method of success and survival in poker. Playing poker for a living is incredibly tricky. Lot of people come out to Los Vegas with absolutely bright eyed dreams and leave on a Greyhound bus. Not that many years later realizing that couldn’t come to pass.
The amount of variance involved in tournaments is astronomical. It’s honestly it’s worse in the stock market to a very significant degree. So a lot of professional poker players sit back and say OK I know I can make money if I enter as many poker tournament as possible because the law of large numbers is then on my side and having the financial wherewithal to withstand that can be difficult. Whether you want to play games at online casino Ireland as a players must put up a buy-in, the minimum amount to sit at a table Buy-ins can range from a few dollars to thousands or even a million. The higher the buy-in the bigger the payout.
Let’s say you’re a professional living in Las Vegas and you play in a mostly three hundred thousand dollar buy-in tournament and you ran like a five hundred dollar average buy-in. I would say to be comfortably rolled for those games you need about a hundred thousand dollar poker specific bankroll and then you should also have about a year’s living expenses as well saved up. You know if you’re living like a normal middle class lifestyle in Vegas am I running about four grand a month so you would need 150 thousand dollars total bankroll. This is where staking comes in.
Poker staking is having someone put up money for another poker player to use normally to enter a poker tournament. In return they receive part of your upside. So by way of example someone would enter the World Series of Poker for ten thousand dollars. They may say all right I’m gonna put up four thousand dollars of my own money and I’m gonna go raise six thousand dollars from backers. Backers love it because it gives them an opportunity to have an interest in the outcome of a poker event.
And some of these poker tournaments, especially up top, pay exponential returns. You can make 250 300 times the money you give your stakes poker player if he or she does well, Stake poker players got a bigger bankroll they can play more tournament they can make more money over the long run, pros need it to give themselves the exposure to enter as many tournaments as they can. Semi-pros often need it to help make the next step up. There’s just something about not having that pressure and not having to risk any of your own money ever it’s it’s just very freeing To understand the popularity of poker, you have to go back two decades.
This was 2003 the Internet and hit 1998 movie “Rounders” paved the way for Chris Moneymaker’s World Series of Poker win. He’d earned a seat at the table by playing online poker on a site called PokerStars an accountant one day and 2.5 million dollars richer the next. This fairy tale story launched poker into the mainstream, becoming known as the Moneymaker Effect. Like a lot of people in poker I got in when Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker in 2003.
I deposited some money in an online poker site and pretty much fell in love with it right away. I was playing poker around 13, 14 years old at a soccer camp. A friend of mine brought in plastic chips and we just started playing. We saw it on TV it’s around the Moneymaker time 2003 and ESPN was on and we started playing just with a group of guys. I first got into poker much like most people my age. I just watched it on TV.
Growing up Chris Moneymaker with his amazing last name won the World Series main event and he was just this amateur player and kind of gave a lot of just average people like me the idea that I could be playing poker just like these guys on TV. The World Series of Poker became must see TV on ESPN. The entries for the ten thousand dollar buy-in Main Event tripled in the year after Moneymaker won, doubled in 2005, and reached a new height in 2006. And it grew and grew and grew and people would enjoy playing poker online. They’d go to their local casino and that meant more casinos kept coming because there is a financial demand for it and the fields for live poker tournaments, live poker cash games got bigger and bigger. Increased popularity meant more players with dreams of turning pro and a demand for financial backers.
Unless playing tournament poker is your retirement strategy or what you want to do with a trust fund or some well-placed inheritance or your spouse’s income. If that’s the only way you’re looking to make money in the poker world being backed is almost essential. It is the financial currency that keeps the poker world afloat. Staking works in one of two ways. The short term agreement is buying and selling action.
Action is another term for just buying a piece or buying a percentage or buying shares in a poker player. And usually for a markup. Think of it as a service fee.
If the player wins or cashes. The buyer receives a percentage of the winnings pro-rata to the investment. If the player loses the buyer loses. If I see a player posting about having action for sale and I know that they’re pretty good and they have you know a reasonable markup on that yeah I’ll just buy it. The most I’ve won from buying a piece of a tournament was from one of my good friends Jake Balsiger in the World Series main event.
He ended up getting third place for about three and a half million dollars and I had about 17 percent of him. I took home about seven hundred thousand dollars. A friend of mine Thomas Cannuli and I had I think five other guys who we bought. We split up a piece with, and I just remember when he made that final table. It was so exciting because I guaranteed a million I had around 15 percent. You’re talking about a fifteen hundred dollar investment roughly who is guaranteed a million now.
It was it was very, very fun. Alternately, a player can agree to a long term backing deal, which means a backer, or the investor fronts all of the money for the games a player enters. Revenue is split 50/50. Lisa Costello is part of a stable or a group of poker players backed by one or more people. Each poker player in the stable is called a horse. At this point in time I had been playing full time for about a year and a good friend of mine who I’ve known most of my life offered to stake me full time so I said yeah let’s do it.
The terms of that staking were pretty standard, which is 50/50 split with a make up. The biggest difference between buying action and a long term backing agreement: player must pay back debt before taking a cut of the revenue. If a player is in the red they are in makeup. If I play 10 grand in tournaments and I bust through all of them my next tournament score that 10 grand has to be paid back to that backer. Prior to splitting those profits in a 50/50 fashion. The tournament I typically play run anywhere from four hundred to sixteen hundred bucks per tournament.
But then in the summer I’ll play a few bigger buy-ins including the ten thousand dollar main event. Ryan Laplante is a 2016 World Series of Poker winner earning him a coveted bracelet. It’s like a boxing belt. He’s part of a stable called Team 6-5-1. I’ve been with my current backers since 2015. I’ve been with them for four years now.
I don’t really have a set bankroll with them. I essentially just say hey guys I want to play this event. They’re like Okay. Sweet.
That’s it. A lot of backers are willing to sort of train their stables give their stables insight, go over hand histories with their stables and that not only gives them the financial wherewithal to make it as a poker pro, but it gives them some coaching on the side. Definitely would not be the player I am today without their backing and coaching and mentoring I wont have my bracelet I wouldn’t be playing high stakes right now so you know finding someone like that to really help grow me as a player has been you know ridiculously powerful and just so so profitable for me and for them. Despite the freedom of playing with someone else’s money. Players carry the weight of debt.
I’ve ironically had my worst year of poker ever which is crazy because during that time I was getting coached and studying a ton. So right now I’m in make-up for about fifty thousand. The deepest I’ve ever been in make-up was ninety thousand dollars and in order to get out I had to face my mindset really work hard on my game stopped tilting and I needed to run well and it all kind of came together and I made like a hundred and twenty grand over the next like six weeks and cleaned out a make-up and got a good profit chop and all that kind of stuff. When you have that much make-up it definitely sucks but obviously you want to get out of it. So you’re definitely not going to stop playing.
Having said that I try to be responsible in choosing my tournaments so I’m not just going to go and fire away at twenty five hundred dollar buy-ins and get it even higher than it already is. As difficult as it can be to turn a profit in poker, backing arrangements do pay off. Under them I’ve probably cashed for two and a half million dollars. I’ve had a bracelet, four World Series of Poker final tables, I’ve won hundreds and hundreds of thousand dollars online.
The last two and a half years alone I’m probably profiting around a million dollars pure profit. The tables so it’s been a very good you know deal for both of us. If I had the opportunity I don’t think it mattered how much I made in poker. I would love to always be staked.
For other players with cash to invest full time backing and running a stable becomes a business. Over the last few years playing poker and buying pieces in tournaments have been the most lucrative for me and I would say those are about equal. Full time backing so far has not been very profitable but I’m hoping to make it the most profitable in the future. Derrick Walters has backed roughly 20 players over the last four years and backs five currently. I think what first got me into banking was just this magical idea that I could make passive income just with the extra poker money that I made that I have nothing to do with like owning a rental property or maybe owning some stocks. Now I kind of see it as a more all encompassing like partnership where I’m just trying to make these guys like the best humans that they can be.
And then a side effect is that they’re going to have success in poker. Some agreements are on paper while others are a handshake. There’s a lot of trust between both parties. So no one runs off with the money. Derek only works with people he’s known for at least a year. I will have anywhere from fifty thousand two hundred thousand invested at once so the players will be holding that amount of money or even more of that will be in make-up.
An agreement can end anytime. However if the backer ends the agreement and the player is in make-up the backer forfeits the debt. If the player decides to end the agreement and is in make-up usually he or she will quit poker.
For the guys I back, I would say if they’re living up to their potential doing their best I think these guys can make between fifty thousand and a hundred thousand dollars playing poker a year for each of them. I would be able to make half of that or less for the better performing players because I’ll have to give them a higher percentage of the profit for their good performance. What If I told you, that this, is not, a dream This isn’t fantasy as usual…
It’s better The fan and the pros have never had a way for them to connect besides like through social media and things like that. But there’d be no way really for Antonio Esfandiari as an example to sell action to some random person in Denmark. State Kings invites professional poker players to sell action in upcoming tournaments. Fans can buy the action for a markup and if the player wins the fan wins it makes it really simple for our users to buy action and anybody they want on the platform. Once a package closes for a pro the money is automatically transferred to that pros cashier and then from there the pro can cash out to their bank.
Pay Pal whatever it may be then it just makes the process seamless and really simple but also really safe. State Kings has close to 50 thousand users and over one hundred fifty poker pros listing action including Antonio Esfandiari, Brian Rast and Jeff Gross. Here we are boys the ones. A site like Stake Kings is just right place right time.
It’s really for me I use it for an engagement tool where on my site on my twitch stream people always ask me I get messages Twitter messages DMs hey can I buy a piece or I’ll stake you or can you do this well on this platform instead of having to text 10 friends or two friends even because they’re, I’ll be honest the annoying part of staking is the accounting because it’s like you have to keep track you’ve got pieces you gotta collect you’ve got to give all that. So it’s a little bit of a a little bit of a work right. You don’t want to. You’d rather do it at the one or two guys and 10 people well Stake Kings handles all that. Players like Jeff Gross are driving millions of dollars in buying and selling action In 2018 we sold a total of six million dollars in total action that we sold on our platform and we’ll usually take around a 10 percent transaction fee. Some of those are promotional packages where we won’t take any fee at all.
Take 5 percent fees. So our revenue overall is going to be between that you know three hundred to six hundred thousand and revenue on the six million in sales. There’s also YouStake. Founded in October 2013 it takes an open approach. YouStake is an online platform that allows fans from across the world to go ahead and back Poker players. And it’s for any poker player.
We don’t just have pros we have pros we have semi-pros we have recreational players. So basically gives anybody a chance to try to raise money to play in events. It’s really allowing folks to safely and securely and transparently back somebody and know what’s happening and know they’re going to get paid. Backers and players come from 109 different countries.
Despite a smaller user base, YouStake also attracts top players to sell action including Greg Raymer, Todd Brunson, Phil Helmuth, Johnny Chan and Mike Matusow. I can give some numbers It’s a private company so I can’t do all but I can tell you that we’ve got well over fourteen thousand users on our system today. We’ve been growing that about 4x year over year. Our revenue has been going up.
We’ve been pretty much doubling almost every year staking may not have been new for the poker community but it was for the mainstream. And with any new concept problems can arise. Not long after I became general counsel to YouStake and we were taking care to sort of button up all of its affairs and make sure everything was squeaky clean in case prying eyes ever looked at its books we discovered that prying eyes were in fact going to be looking at books. YouStake received a subpoena from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, which would launch an investigation into its activities It was a investigation by the S.E.C. into YouStake and the business.
And the S.E.C.was basically looking into whether or not YouStake was involved in the purchase and sale of securities because people are buying pieces of poker players and those poker players are going to go make or lose money for their backer based on what happens in a game. Up to that point we had gotten quite a bit of press so I don’t know if that’s what draws their attention to it. YouStake was ready for this scrutiny because it was a squeaky clean operation that was doing everything aboveboard. So the first thing we did was assess the scope of the subpoena produce documents and every time the S.E.C.
said jump, We said how high. We turned over I believe tens of thousands of pages of documents. Long story short it took forever. So then we finally said you know what, You know there’s a couple outcomes that come from this.
So let us put an application in to FINRA. and FINRA being the licensing arm basically of the S.E.C.. So we put an application in for a crowdfunding license And I got a phone call from FINRA a couple weeks later saying please withdraw your application and my jaw sort of hits the ground and I don’t really know why they do this.
I press the guy and said why is it. Well it’s not really a security and I’m thinking myself. All right.
That’s strange. So look at the guy from FINRA on the phone I said hold on one second. Call my associate. Tell her to come into the room and I say sir please repeat that. And he says we don’t think it’s a security because you can’t fill out a balance sheet. And that’s true.
You’re not buying and selling a piece of an entity a poker player doesn’t have a balance sheet a poker player cannot go on the New York Stock Exchange. Right. Like if a poker player had to list his or her assets we’re pretty much talking about kidneys and other vital organs which I’m fairly confident you can’t sell in the United States anyway.
To show good faith we went dark. The site was still there, people could still post but we did no overt advertising at all no social nothing. We just went quiet. YouStake wasn’t getting answers in a timely fashion and losing money.
That’s when their attorney made a decision that was unprecedented. I said all right we want to bring an end to this. Let’s file a lawsuit against the S.E.C. seeking a declaratory judgment which is a judicial decree basically that staking is not the purchase or sale of a security. And I think this caught a lot of people off guard because it’s always the S.E.C.
that’s going out and suing someone. We started going through that process and that’s when the S.E.C. came back and said no it’s OK. We were dropping everything. You’re good to go. And we reached an agreement that we would dismiss the case. So no precedent was made.
Investigations over. And it is the S.E.C. stated position as sought in discovery in federal court that YouStake was not dealing in securities. From the year before to the area went dark we dropped 2x in revenue.
From the time we went back live up we went up 5x from the year that we were dark. It had a massive effect on us absolutely. There’s no judicial decrease saying we won but we won.
The dream of playing poker professionally and taking home stacks of money on live TV draws many to Las Vegas and staking is one way to ensure you never lose all of your chips. I think you can run much higher edges and in buying pieces and action and people than you can in pretty much any other industry when it comes to investing and buying actually real estate you name it. I think poker run some of the highest edges. I’m proud of you know being backed. I mean that means that there is a you know person who has faith in my skill and that you know thinks that I’m capable of doing very well.
If you wanted to look at the guys the top top players are now professionals there’s a lot of work there’s a lot of stuff you can do to get better and you know it’s it’s really easy to learn but the master does take a long time and I’m still learning every day and that’s part of why I love it.