What Skills Do Gamers Need for Long-Term Success?

One of the coolest new branches of the entertainment industry is eSports, aka the world of competitive gaming. Today, eSports leagues are on par with traditional sports leagues like the IPL and NFL. Players from around the world compete in regional competitions with the hopes of competing on a global stage. They’re also recruited and trained similarly to traditional athletes.

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The growth of eSports has helped spur interest in spectator games. In other words, just like audiences gather to watch events like the UEFA Champion’s League, the next generation is doing the same for major eSports events like The International. This surge in interest in competitive gaming has led to a proliferation of new hopeful pros. 

This isn’t entirely new for gamers. In fact, poker pros and collectible card game (CCG) buffs have been competing professionally for decades. Poker famously moved online in the early 2000s, allowing players to learn how to play poker digitally at their own pace. Today, many still rely on virtual platforms to help them learn the ropes. 

From there, they can dive into online tournaments and satellite events, which pave the road to going pro. In fact, the vast majority of new players credit virtual platforms with helping launch their careers. On the other hand, massive in-person tournaments from the early 1990s helped steer the future of CCGs and their contemporary digital CCG (DCCG) counterparts.

In addition to strategic skills and tactical moves, DCCG players must incrementally build up their formidable decks. Older hits like Magic: The Gathering require players to win or otherwise earn new cards, while newer releases like Marvel Champions allow players to purchase new moves, characters, and cards.

Regardless of their specific focuses, poker pros, CCG masters, and eSports players must all embody a similar series of traits. Their genres are distinct, but their skills are closely aligned. Here are some of the most important that they use.

Emotional Control

The greater emotional control a player has, the better they’re able to navigate the most difficult moments in their careers. This is important because every game has its ups and downs—and losing control in terms of emotions can spell disaster. Players who get frustrated are more apt to make mistakes, which can lead to a spiral. 

This is so common of a problem that it actually has a name in the world of poker: tilt. Tilt is when a player’s game is negatively affected by an emotional reaction, usually the result of bad fortune. Regardless of why a mishap happens, the best players know how to keep their cool.

This is especially important for eSports players who compete on teams. It’s easy for a bitter mood to spread like wildfire when one player derails the match by losing control of their emotions. It’s usually exceedingly difficult to come back from this type of lapse.

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Extended Focus & Concentration

Knowing how to stay calm is a prerequisite to all the other skills mentioned here. Most importantly, however, it allows players to stay focused for longer periods of time. This extended concentration is especially important for gamers, as many games go on for hours. 

Competitive Counter-Strike matches can run about an hour, while tournaments in League of Legends can run for hours as teams battle through shorter 30-minute games. For CCG and poker players, tournaments can run for hours on end. The most competitive players are able to keep their focus throughout these trying periods.


Accuracy might sound like an obvious choice—but it’s deceptively important. After all, a player’s ability to concentrate for hours on end doesn’t mean much if they aren’t able to hit their targets, literally. In addition to focusing intently on the task at hand, the world’s most competitive gamers are able to do so without sacrificing any of their accuracy. 

This is particularly relevant for eSports gamers who compete in shooter games. While accuracy is important in every type of video game, a match will quickly unravel for players who are unable to hit their targets. For this reason, keeping the mind conditioned to think quickly and accurately is a must-have skill for pro gamers.

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