Counter-Strike Betting Tips & Live Streams

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About Counter-Strike

Counter-Strike is among the most popular esports games in the world. Developed and published by Valve, the original Counter-Strike was played at esports tournaments as far back as two decades ago. 

The first professional CS tournament was the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) 2001 Winter Championship held in Dallas, Texas, which was won by the Swedish franchise Ninjas in Pyjamas.

The release of CS:GO in 2012 led to the game’s resurgence in the competitive esports scene. While the game was originally buggy and received criticism, these were solved in later updates and a year later, Valve organized the first ever CS:GO Major. 

It was held in Sweden at the DreamHack Winter 2013, and it set a precedent as the ever first Valve-sponsored CS:GO tournament.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which put the franchise on the map as one of the biggest esports in the world, was succeeded by Counter-Strike 2, which was officially released on September 27, 2023. While a standalone game, CS2 was merely an updated version of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Where To Bet On Counter-Strike

Betting on esports is big business now and the world's biggest bookmakers all offer tournament, pre-match and in-play betting on Counter-Strike.

You can see the best sites for esports betting in your region or choose to bet with this month's top five ranked sites. 
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Counter-Strike Live Streaming: Where To Watch

Most of the popular Counter-Strike competitive tournaments are streamed online on popular platforms and are available for free. You can use:

  • Betting Sites bet365, Stake and Pinnacle
  • Official Counter-Strike channel on Twitch
  • Official Counter-Strike channel on YouTube

The Electronic Sports League (ESL) has made a move toward the social media platform Facebook as their main broadcast partner for Counter-Strike esports events. 

You don’t need a Facebook account to access or watch the streams, but can find the links provided on the official ESL website.

Counter-Strike Esports Structure & Format

There are several Counter-Strike tournaments conducted yearly all across the world, both at the amateur and professional levels, involving regional teams or conducted internationally. Some are organised by the game developer Valve, and others are held as third-party events.

Overall, professional Counter-Strike tournaments will fall into the following categories:

  • Valve-sponsored tournaments, or Majors. These feature the world’s best teams and prize pools often in excess of $1 million. The BLAST.tv Paris Major 2023 was the most recent of these and saw the home-crowd favourites, Team Vitality take home the title.
  • S-tier tournaments, earlier known as Premium tournaments. These are sponsored not by Valve but by well-established third-party organizers such as BLAST, Intel, or Roobet, and are considered just as prestigious as the Majors. The standard of play at these events is as high as the Valve Majors, and they too feature the world’s best teams competing among huge prize pools, usually over $250k
  • A-tier tournaments, which offer good prize pools as well, are usually in the range of $100k to $250k. These also include the Counter-Strike Minor Championship and Regional Major Ranking events, which act as qualifiers for the Majors or S-tier events
  • B-tier tournaments, like the ESL Challenger League, were introduced recently in 2021. These are usually conducted as smaller LAN events, or larger online events featuring top tier 2 teams
  • C-tier tournaments, formerly known as Minors, are conducted on a much smaller scale. They’re the lowest ranked events, usually played online and don’t involve the participation of any top teams. The Beyond Invitational Winter 2022 was a recent C-tier event
  • Show matches or friendlies, for instance the Red Bull Flick Invitational Copenhagen 2022. These exhibition matches are one-off events without any stakes, usually featuring notable teams or players

Qualification for Counter-Strike Tournaments

The biggest Counter-Strike esports events of the year are the Valve-sponsored Majors, like the Intel Extreme Masters Rio Major and PGL Major Antwerp, and S-tier tournaments, such as the ESL Pro League, the BLAST Premier, and the Roobet Cup.

The qualification path for these tournaments has varied over the years. Pre-2020, certain teams that performed well at one Major would be automatically invited to the next, and others had to compete through the rankings tournaments. The current qualification route to the Majors is outlined below:

  • A system called the Regional Major Rankings (RMRs) determines a specific number of teams from each region
  • Teams must first compete at a series of open or closed qualifiers, depending on the region and will be allotted into their RMR groups
  • There are three regions represented at the RMRs - Europe, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific. Each of these has a different number of seeds allotted to them at the majors, with sixteen set aside for Europe, twelve in total for North and South America, and four for Asia.
  • The Majors are divided into three stages, the Challengers Stage, the Legends Stage, and the Champions Stage. The top eight teams from the RMRs will qualify as Legends, the next eight make it as Challengers, and the bottom eight as Contenders.
  • Each stage is conducted in a 16-team Swiss format, and narrows down its group from 16 to eight.
  • The Champions stage is effectively the playoffs, and the top eight teams contest in a single-elimination knockout bracket to determine the winner.

Apart from the Majors, other prestigious Counter-Strike tournaments include:

  • The BLAST Premier, which is broken up into the Spring Groups and Spring Finals, followed by the Fall Groups and Fall Finals, and finally, the BLAST World Finals at the end of the year
  • The ESL Pro League, which is generally split into two seasons a year
  • The Intel Extreme Masters tournaments, which are offline events organized around twice a year

Best Counter-Strike Teams

Different Counter-Strike teams have had their day in the sun ever since the onset of the esports scene. Over recent years, the Ukraine-based Natus Vincere has emerged as one of the top teams in the world. They were ranked number one on the HLTV rankings for a record 56 weeks between 2021 and 2022. 

Here are the teams that have historically stood as the most successful at Counter-Strike Majors:

  • Astralis holds the record for most Major titles with four so far, the first being ELEAGUE Major: Atlanta 2017 followed by three three back-to-back titles at the StarLadder Berlin Major 2019, FACEIT Major: London 2018, and IEM Katowice Major 2019.
  • Fnatic possesses three Major titles, winning the first ever DreamHack Winter 2013. They also won back-to-back ESL One Major titles in 2015, first at Cologne and then Katowice.
  • Outsiders, formerly known as Virtus.Pro, have won two Majors in their history. The first was the ESL Major Series One Katowice 2014, and most recently the IEM Rio Major 2022.

Aside from these, no other team has won a CS:GO Major more than once in their history. Here are the rest of them:

  • Team Vitality, BLAST.tv Paris Major 2023
  • Faze Clan, PGL Major Antwerp 2022
  • Natus Vincere, PGL Major Stockholm 2021
  • Cloud9, who became the only North American team to ever win a Major when they secured the ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018
  • Gambit Esports, PGL Major Kraków 2017
  • SK Gaming, ESL One: Cologne 2016
  • Luminosity Gaming, MLG Major Championship: Columbus 2016
  • Team EnvyUs, DreamHack Open Cluj⁠-⁠Napoca 2015
  • Team LDLC, DreamHack Winter 2014
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas, ESL One: Cologne 2014

Counter-Strike(CS) FAQs

What is esports?

Esports (also known as electronic sports, e-sports, or eSports) refers to sport competitions using video or computer games.

What is Counter-Strike (CS)?

Counter-Strike (CS) is a multiplayer first-person shooter video game, developer by Valve. It currently runs on its latest version, Counter-Strike 2, which succeeded Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

How can I watch Counter-Strike(CS) Live Streaming?

Check our live streaming calendar to see where you can watch Counter-Strike (CS) live streaming.