YOU’VE probably never heard of him but after this weekend, he ranks among Australia’s richest sportspeople.
And he’s only 18.
Melbourne teenager and professional e-gamer Anathan Pham has picked up the biggest cash prizes in e-sports history, helping his team take out the top spot at a gaming tournament in Canada on Sunday morning.
The International 2018 Dota 2 tournament reached its climax yesterday, making players very wealthy in the process. Pham helped lead his team to victory and is set to take home his share of $15.3 million in prize money.
Dota 2 is a five-on-five game, with teams squaring off against each other in front of huge crowds.
The two sides face off on a virtual battlefield and each player controls an individual character called a hero that has unique powers and abilities as they collectively work to defend their base on a map.
During a match, players collect points and items for their heroes to successfully battle the opposing team’s characters in one-on-one combat battles. Similar to capture the flag, the aim is to protect your own base and attack the opposition base.
Pham’s OG team were big underdogs going into the final but they managed to beat Chinese heavyweights PSG.LGD to claim the top prize. They didn’t make it easy on themselves though. The OG team had to come back from 2-1 down to win the best-of-five grand finals 3-2.
With the win, the 18-year-old and his four teammates will share the largest portion of the total $34.7 million prize pool.
The OG team included Finnish pair Topias Taavitsainen and Jesse Vainikka, Frenchman Sebastien Debs and Danish veteran Johan Sundstein. They earned nearly $15.3 million ($US 11.2 million) in prize money. Split five ways, each team member will take home about $3 million for the win.
It wonderful hearing the panel sing the praises of @OGesports @anadota99 – to be kicked from the team and then come back even stronger!! He is the 2nd Australian to reach The International grand final & he will be a critical part to being the first to win it!! pic.twitter.com/U2RWEKXY4q— Toby Dawson @DOTA2 #TI8 (@TobiWanDOTA)
According to Fox Sports Australia, Pham has long held ambitions of being a pro-gamer and was plucked from obscurity to join OG back in mid-2016.
To follow his dream of becoming a professional gamer, he moved from Australia to Shanghai, China at the end of 2015. After getting a spot on the OG team by replacing outgoing Jordanian superstar Amer Al-Barkawi, Pham’s team went on a winning run before he took a break from the game, leaving the team for nearly a year.
Prior to this weekend’s competition, Pham had amassed about $800,000 in winnings.
It’s the second year in a row an Aussie has made it to the lucrative final stage on the gaming tournament.
Sydney gamer Damien Chok took second place in last year’s tournament but couldn’t replicate the result this year, finishing in 13th place.