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    Jarosław pashaBiceps Jarząbkowski, a Polish professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gamer, who currently plays for Virtus.pro.

    Work Hard, Play Hard: An Inside Look Into Pro Gaming

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    Virtus.pro club is a leader of Russian and international esports. In late April, their “Dota 2” squad became a finalist at the Kiev Major tournament, winning a $500,000 prize; the “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” squad won $700,000 during the four-month period, and their “League of Legends” team won the spring season of the Continental League.

    Roman Dvoryankin, the general manager at Virtus.pro, told Sputnik about the specifics of esports, giving insight into the professional video gaming industry.

    Just six weeks after he joined Virtus.pro, Dvoryankin flew to New York with their "CS: GO" squad to participate in one of the major championships. "The number of people watching how 10 men were playing a computer game was shocking to me. The capacity of Barclays Center, which hosted the tournament, was more than 15,000 people, and it was all packed. Now I'm used to it, but then it left the most vivid impression on me," Roman told Sputnik.

    Roman Dvoryankin
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    Roman Dvoryankin

    According to him, professional gamers are not as "swanky" as professional athletes in traditional sports. "Esports players are not as spoiled with big bucks yet. They are more down to earth and modest. They just want to win, and they understand that success does not come from nowhere."

    When recruiting members of their teams, Virtus.pro follows the main rule: they wanted to see guys who are thirsty for victory and who have something to prove.

    As for average salaries, Virtus.pro gamers in the "Dota 2" and "CS: GO" teams earn about $10,000 a month, Dvoryankin revealed. "League of Legends" and "Hearthstone" squad players get about $ 7,000 a month.

    Depending on the discipline and the tournament level, the organization earns about 15 percent of the prize money the players win. "Perhaps, we would like to get more, but we tend to follow the global trend: there are organizations that do not take any percentage of the prize; prize money is not the main source of income of the organization," the Virtus.pro general manager explained.

    Dvoryankin also noted some general differences in the mentality of players from different parts of the world. "European and North American gamers are more responsible, they have a slightly different attitude to work. Players from the post-Soviet states are often more gifted, but do not always cherish their talent."

    To get into a team like Virtus.pro, a player should be persevering and ready to go to the end in spite of any circumstances. "When you play at a high level, you no longer need to sit for 16 hours in front of the computer, but to achieve this level the gamer is required to bring his actions to automatism. Willingness to sacrifice something for the sake of purpose is needed," Roman added.

    As a person who has been involved in the sports industry for many years, Dvoryankin is sure that esports won't replace traditional kinds of sports, but it will surely carve out a niche next to them.

    "Now, different kinds of sports compete not only with each other, but with other major entertainment events, like movies and concerts, therefore organizers even try to plan them on different dates. If we talk about the Russian reality, esports has already become more popular than handball, volleyball and many other disciplines." According to him, in the near future, pro gaming has all the chances to get to the same level as football and hockey, the most popular sports in Russia.

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