The event now takes place in a range of European cities, and in 2016 it became trans-Atlantic for the first time, with a series of events taking place across the United States and Canada. The esports tournaments, which are the key part of the event, are held in a number of games, with the CS:GO tournaments proving particularly popular.
It has been a semi-annual event since 2002, with the Summer festival taking place in June, and the Winter edition in November. Events such as the DreamHack Masters now attract thousands of spectators, and huge interest from within the global esports community. This interest is reflected in the amount of betting which the events now draw, with punters able to bet on match results (including using handicaps), overall tournament placing, and on a whole host of live and in-play events.
A whole host of esports games are featured in the events, with Dota 2, StarCraft, Heroes of the Storm, League of Legends and Street Fighter amongst the main games played at DreamHack over the years. Here, we will take a closer look at the festival’s CS:GO tournaments, and outline just what is DreamHack, and why it is so appealing to fans of esports betting.
The DreamHack Winter has been running since 2002, when a team called xPerience.se won the first event. The following year, the total prize pool was just $791, and Domesticus was the team who won first prize. A measure of how the event has progressed is that in 2013, when Fnatic won the tournament, the total prize pool had risen to $250,000.
The event, classified as a Premier tier competition, is held every year in Elmia in Sweden, the real home of DreamHack. There is a group stage, consisting of two groups of four teams each. After playing in a double elimination group format, the top two teams of each group head into the play-offs. There is then a semi-final stage, with teams playing in a single elimination format, with the match winner decided by the best of three games.
In 2016, Gambit Esports emerged as the top team, taking home the $50,000 first prize, and beating Renegades in the final. GODSENT and Team Kinguin made up the numbers in the top four. With such star teams on show every year, it is little wonder that the DreamHack Winter attracts such attention from esports gamblers, who bet on it in increasing numbers every year.
The summer version of this festival dates back to 2002, when Ninjas in Pyjamas, who have since gone on to become one of the iconic teams of the Dreamhack CS:GO schedule, won the first edition of the summer tournament. Held in Jönköping, in Sweden, every year, the DreamHack Summer continues to attract massive attention from esports fans, and provides great thrills for anyone who loves to bet on CS:GO.
The structure of the DreamHack Summer tournament, which is classed as a Major, is the same as for the winter events, with two groups of four teams producing four semi-finalists. In 2016, it was the Immortals who took home the $50,000 first prize, with Ninjas in Pyjamas, the winners of the first DreamHack Summer event back in 2002, coming second.
Esports fans and keen gamblers alike will be hoping that the event continues to grow, and allow more great CS:GO teams to come through, and establish an iconic presence, just like NiP.
NiP have won four of the summer tournaments in total, in 2006, 2013 and 2014, in addition to their second place in 2016, marking them out as one of the tournament’s most successful teams.
Fnatic have two wins to their credit, in 2012 and 2015. No other team has won the event more than once, although Natus Vincere have finished in runners-up spot three times, in 2012, 2014 and 2015, and will hoping to capture first prize some time soon.
Although it has now spread across the Atlantic, the real home of DreamHack remains in Europe, with several cities playing host to the iconic festival. Sweden remains the spiritual home of the concept, and the summer and winter iterations continue to be staged there. But a number of other cities, from the east to the west of the continent, now also stage complementary events, with big prize pools, which attract plenty of attention from esports bookmakers and gamblers.
From 2008 through to 2009, a DreamHack event was held in Skellefteå, in Sweden, as an additional tournament to complement the winter and summer versions of the tournament.
The last event had a tiny prize pool of just over $5,000, and the event was not held again. Despite its small prize pool, this version of the competition was classified as being Premier tier.
Instead, the concept headed south, to Romania and to Spain. Bucharest, the capital of Romania, was used in 2012 to stage a DreamHack. DreamHack has since been staged there five times. In 2016, Russian giants Virtus.Pro took the title, along with the $50,000 first prize.
Other events have been staged in Cluj, also in Romania, as Premier tier competitions. In 2015, Ukrainian outfit Natus Vincere captured the huge $100,000 first prize.
The eastern Spanish city of Valencia has also hosted a series of DreamHack events, with the first taking place in 2012. The total prize pool for that first event was a mere $5,000, but by 2015 that total had risen to $150,000, in a year when Team SoloMid won first prize. The last version of the event to be staged in Valencia came in 2016, when it was won by Team Alientech. Classed as Minor events, these Spanish editions do not have the same appeal to gamblers as many of the Masters tier of events.
There has been DreamHack CS:GO Betting attention focused on another European version of the event too, which is held in Tours, in France, in 2015 and 2016, and also in spring 2017. The prize pool has climbed from $40,000 to $50,000 in the first two versions of the event, and teams competed for a hugely increased pot of $100,000 in 2017. G2 Esports won the event in 2017, taking home the $50,000 first prize, and beating Hellraisers in the final of this Major tier event.
London, the capital city of the UK, and Leipzig, in Germany, have also staged events in recent years, while Malmo and Stockholm, in DreamHack’s home country of Sweden, have also staged DreamHack Masters and qualifying events over the last three or four years, featuring the likes of Team Liquid. In London in 2015, Team EnVyUs took the first prize.
While most tournaments staged under the banner of DreamHack are classed as Masters or Premier events, the branding has also been applied to another kind of tournament. Invitational tournaments are played under a different format to DreamHack Masters events, with only four teams taking part. Rather than being a mixture of invited teams and teams who have undergone the qualification process, all teams at Invitationals, as the name would suggest, are invited to participate.
The first of these Invitational events was held in DreamHack’s brand new esports studio in Västberga, Stockholm, in 2014. The four teams invited to take part in this iconic event were Team Dignitas, Titan, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Fnatic. Titan emerged as the winners, beating NiP in the final. The first prize for the event was $7,500, while NiP took home $2,500 for finishing in second.
The second iteration of the DreamHack Invitational was also staged in Stockholm. Held in September 2014, this time the competition featured eight teams competing for a total prize pool of $30,000. Seven of these teams, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Fnatic, Titan, Team LDLC.com, Team Dignitas, 3DMAX, and the Copenhagen Wolves, were invited to compete. The eighth, Team ALTERNATE, went through a qualifying process to reach the event.
After a group stage consisting of two groups of four teams each, Fnatic ended up facing Titan in one semi-final. In the other, Team LDLC.com faced up against 3DMAX. Titan and Team LDLC.com ended up competing against each other in the final, with Titan emerging from the contest as winners.