Wanna bet on it?
What a shame! IPL4 is taking place in Las Vegas, yet there's no legal way to bet on eSports in the United States.
We believe that if you haven't run a victory lap around your neighborhood, or thrown a chair out your window in anger by the end of a tournament, you're watching eSports wrong. Thus, resident Teamliquidpro.com content manager Tree.hugger and I (the generally good-for-nothing Waxangel) took it upon ourselves to spice up the occasion, and create some of our own bets to keep things interesting. The stakes? Whatever makes us not look like degenerate gamblers in your eyes.
Also, look forward to our Power Rank: IPL4 Edition! later in the day (hi HuK!).
The way it's played.
The first person states the bet. Then the second person suggests the odds on the bet. Finally, the first person chooses which side of the odds to take, and explains his reasoning.
Real example from IEM Guangzhou:
Wax: IdrA will die to a Protoss deathball on Shakuras Plateau at any point during the tournament.
Tree.hugger: Okay, 30 to 1?
Wax: I'm taking the one. I would even have done it at 20 to 1, maybe even 10 to 1. Have you seen his stream lately?
*IdrA would go on to lose to elfi's deathball on Shakuras Plateau.
Totally unrelated photoshop by shiroiusagi that was just too awesome not to use.
How about some silly, meta-tournament bets to start it off?
% of IPL4 viewers that will know that Copenhagen Games, The Gathering or Gamers Assembly are occurring on the same weekend – Over/Under 17.3%
Tree.hugger: We might've shot this bet in the foot after putting these three events on the frontpage, but seeing as how I had to remind Wax about these tournaments, I'm betting that the numbers of recognition still aren't so high. I picked the under (and Wax set the line) before we newsed them, and now I'd suggest that recognition is perhaps a little higher.
Tangent: From a spectator and esports fan's perspective, when you consider that Copenhagen Games and The Gathering were on the same weekend last year as well, you can't help but think that these two events really should have a talk and figure out some way not to overlap. The player pool for each event is quite intriguing, but combine the two and you have an actual competitor to IPL – an Assembly to your MLG so to speak.
At any rate, people should watch; there's nothing wrong with more Starcraft for your weekend, and two simultaneous battles between top European GM's should be well worth everyone's time.
# of announcements made by other major tournaments during the course of IPL4 – Over/Under 3.5
Waxangel: Cautiously, under.
MLG announced Columbus details during the IEM World Championship. DreamHack announced Stockholm Open during MLG Columbus. IPL announced full details for IPL4 during MLG Columbus. I know there's only so many weekends on which to announce things, but when people are announcing important details about their marquee tournament on TUESDAYS, you know that esports has become serious business. Not content to just schedule on top of each other, we're also passive-aggressively announcing things during other people's important events.
My prediction? 1~2 MLG announcements regarding Spring Arena, and another round of player announcements from NASL. I don't think MLG will really make three announcements during IPL4, so DreamHack will be the difference maker here.
# of times the LANbulance is called – Over/Under 4.5
Tree: I'll take the under here. Now, I can't remember a tournament in the history of SC2 without internet issues. That said, it's been a while since the internet issues were so crippling that they really brought down a lot of games and brought the anguished cries of the community down on Blizzard's head. Since they were burned by this kind of stuff last time (albeit, by a freak accident out of their control), you've gotta bet that IPL will be triple checking their connection throughout the event. So while the chance of there being some internet issues is nearly 100%, will it happen five or more times? I doubt it.
Alright, let's not get carried away. There does happen to be an actual Starcraft II tournament going on.
# of foreigners to make it out of the open bracket – Over/Under 2.5
Wax: Under. The best way to explain this is by making a comparison to MLG Winter Championship, because just like MLG, IPL4 will have a total of eight spots in pool play available to the top open bracket players.
- MLG Columbus
- Open Bracket participants: 216
- Notable Koreans: 14
- Notable Foreigners: 25
- Foreigners with seed advantages: 8 (of the 25)
- Foreigners that advanced: ThorZaIN (had seed advantage), KawaiiRice, Ostojiy.
- Open Bracket participants: 216
- Open Bracket participants: 128 (–88)
- Notable Koreans: 32 (+18)
- Notable foreigners: 36 (+11)
- Foreigners with seed advantages: None (–8)
- Open Bracket participants: 128 (–88)
Not only are there more Koreans competing in the open bracket at IPL4, but they are Koreans of a higher level as well. Relatively unproven players like Heart, Inori, Sleep, and Golden filled the ranks at MLG, while players like Mvp, Jjakji, and 14 members of GSTL final caliber rosters will be competing at IPL.
A lucky foreigner might get a combination of favorable match-ups and non-Korean opponents to make it through to pool play. With that kind of luck, he should probably just quit IPL4 and devote himself to gambling as the Cosmo.
Straight up Odds
A foreigner will finish in the top six – 10 to 1
Wax: Tempting, just enough that I'll bet on the foreigners at those odds. Or more accurately, I'll bet on Stephano at those odds. With the chances for a foreigner making it out of the open bracket being ridiculously small, this bet comes down to the players who already have group seeds, with Stephano having by far the best shot.
Stephano will have a tough time against MarineKing, but he'll be favored heavily against White-Ra. Depending on who gets into his group from the open, he could very well make it through. After all, he did happen to go 2-2 in a Blizzard Cup group with MC, DRG, Mvp and HerO, only to be eliminated on tie-breakers (and because MC lost a game against DRG on Crossfire that was totally meaningless to him – let's say NaNiwa's probe rush wasn't the only insensible thing about the Blizzard Cup).
Say Stephano makes it through to the Championship bracket, and faces Polt or aLive as his first opponent. Doesn't he have at worst, a 45% chance against those guys in a series? Stephano alone probably beats 10:1 odds.
Toss in whatever IdrA's chances are (grim, in a group with MMA and Bomber, but he did look good against Mvp and SuperNoVa lately), White-Ra's ability to conjure up incomprehensible wins, and long-shot foreigner chances from the open, and 10 to 1 is looking pretty good.
A GSTL player will win the tournament – 3 to 1
Tree: There was some debate about whether a "GSTL player" should include MKP and Bomber, both of whom would've been here anyway. I've decided that it should, because it makes this a more interesting bet. But I'm not buying it anyway.
In my view, MKP and Bomber are the only plausible chance for a GSTL player to win, as they begin in pool play. Given the IPL4 format, the advantage of being in the pools is simply too massive; open bracket players not only need to win a ton of games, but then they need to take top 2 in their pool to even make it to the championship bracket. It's certainly plausible that PartinG, Curious, July, Creator, or Maru would make it to the pools, but to go from there into the championship bracket is another huge step. And then winning the championship bracket itself? For a set of players that have never actually won anything; suggesting that they go home with the trophy is a massive leap of faith. I wouldn't take them at 3 to 1 even if they had started in pool play. That doesn't mean it's not possible; god knows I love PartinG, and Maru impressed the hell out of me in Code S. But I think the odds for a GSTL open player going all the way are a lot longer than this.
The question then, is what are MKP and Bomber's chances? Of the two, MKP is definitely the favorite, but I wouldn't make him so much of a favorite as Wax has here. Put MMA in MKP's position over the last two months, and he probably comes away with the same number of wins. Maybe Bomber does the same. The point is; even though MKP has been doing insanely well recently, this tournament is so tough that I don't see him as the obvious favorite. He could lose to any number of people here. So too, could Bomber.
The IPL4 winner will come from the open bracket – 2 to 3
Tree: I've already talked about my views on open bracket players like PartinG, Curious, and Maru. This bet adds a few other names to the pot; Jjakji, MVP, HerO, Oz, and TaeJa, for example. But my impression of the IPL format is not so good; it's even less forgiving than the already very tough MLG format. I'd love to see tournaments give open bracket players a better draw. Having a tournament like this gives such an absurd advantage to the players already seeded, that I don't think that open bracket players have a particularly good chance. So no, I'm not taking this.
That said, tough as it is, someone has to win, and we must end up with eight open bracket players in the pools. Once on even footing with the groups, you could make the argument that the open bracket has a stronger pool. Players like Jjakji especially could do serious damage in the later stages. But the fatigue of the opening rounds, the massive slant towards seeded players, and the fact that the pools actually are quite strong (we shouldn't overlook them) makes me feel that anyone starting in the open bracket has a very tough road,
IdrA will go 0 – 4 in his group – 1 to 3
Wax: How could we not make an IdrA related bet? Tough, but I actually think IdrA is being underrated here. Of course, there's no chance in hell that IdrA will beat MMA, who is the best TvZ player in the world by some stupid margin – forget whatever you've seen MKP do in recent weeks.
However, an IdrA > Bomber upset seems totally reasonable. IdrA's biggest, most impressive wins over Koreans in tournaments have mostly come against Terran opponents, such as Mvp, SuperNoVa, PuMa, etc. Bomber at his best would definitely be favored to win, but he's always been an incredibly inconsistent player, going from 5 – 0ing teams in the GSTL to dropping out of the GSL in the same week, and going from winning to MLG Raleigh to getting eliminated by IdrA in Orlando...
There's a number of beatable opponents that could float in from the open bracket as well. ZvZ can be pretty volatile, so you never know what might happen against a BBoongBBoongPrime or ST_Curious. All-in-all, 1 to 3 seems a bit harsh for IdrA to lose every single series.
Nestea makes it through his group – even odds
Tree: This is a really tough bet; I threw this out here because I have no idea how NesTea is playing at the moment, and I doubt anyone else has a better idea. NesTea looked to be on the down and out last year. Has he recovered? Who knows?
At 1:1 odds (50%), I won't take this one either. The chance of advancing from your group is 40%, and NesTea's group isn't the worst thing I've ever seen, but it's not a cupcake group either. TAiLS is an erratic Protoss with a huge upside, and aLive, his recent Code S gaff non-withstanding, is a deadly Terran. Moreover, the open bracket is so stacked, that it seems quite possible that NesTea will find even tougher competition in his group on the second day, which would be bad news bears for him.
That's the subtly of this bet, I don't really need to pin down NesTea's skill level exactly to know that he's (A) liable to get Code-S level opponents in his group and (B) the ones he has already are players with a ton of talent. Both of these points mean that NesTea isn't likely to stomp his opponents and advance without a fight. But just for fun, where does NesTea land today? Probably where we last left him; a strong player, but without the spark and inspiration that led him to victory so many times in the past.
A foreigner will defeat a GSL champion in a series at any point in the tournament – 15 to 1
Wax: Luckily for me, tree.hugger gave me these odds before the brackets came out. Here are the three most likely scenarios where a foreigner could upset a GSL champion.
- Stephano makes it out of his group, MMA, MC, Polt, or Nestea also manages to make it out of his group, they happen to be paired against each other in the championship bracket, and then on top of that, Stephano manages to win: Unlikely, but very high variance as everyone's progress out of group stage is highly dependent on who comes into their groups from the open.
- Jjakji and HuK stay undefeated until round four of the open bracket, with Sheth being the main obstacle for Jjakji, and Ryung the main one for HuK. HuK then scores the upset, despite Jjakji being some kind of super-mutant at TvP: Highly unlikely, but not impossible.
- Mvp and SaSe both make it to round three of the open bracket, and SaSe beats Mvp the three time GSL champ with an exploding wrist's in his worst match-up: The most likely of the three, but still not looking so great for SaSe.
Is the chance of at least one of these three happening less than 1/16? I don't think so. 15 to 1 is just too good, taken in a heartbeat.
And one last bet, just for fun.
Chance that a celebrity hookup puts ESPORTS into the mainstream – 45,000,000 to 1
Tree: Absolutely I'm taking this. There will be some handsome nerds in attendence, and of course, there's the untapped potential of the anonymous open bracket players to bolster the odds. As for the celebrities, well, there always should be some in Vegas. Now, the hook up is the relatively easy part, though not exactly high probability venture. Even if the hookup happens, there's a low chance that it becomes widespread knowledge on top of that. All that may be true, but I'm basing my analysis on the investigative, drama-mongering powers of TL and Reddit, which experience has shown to be quite formidable when roused. So keep your eyes peeled and cameras ready, attendees, as a little gossip might be esports' big break!
Writers: tree.hugger and Waxangel.
Photography and art: R1CH and shiroiusagi.
Editors: SirJolt and Waxangel.