Tournaments

December 29, 2022

LAN or Online: A Make-Or-Break for eSports Bettors

Liam Fletcher
Written byLiam FletcherWriter
Researched byHaruki NakamuraResearcher
Localised byThando DlaminiLocaliser

The global pandemic has brought on a boom in eSports betting. It also halted LAN tournaments but brought on the rise of online tournaments. However, live LAN tournaments are returning with lockdowns easing and immunization programs proving effective. 

LAN or Online: A Make-Or-Break for eSports Bettors

When placing bets on eSports, it is essential to take into consideration whether the event in question is being played online or on a local area network (LAN). Bettors who take the time to investigate the causes of a player's ups and downs in a given match have a higher chance of winning their wagers in the future.

If you want to learn more about the effects of LAN versus online tournaments on eSports betting, continue reading.

LAN vs. Online Tournaments: What's the Difference?

First, we must define what we mean when discussing LAN or online tournaments.  Local Area Network (LAN) games occur among people physically present in the same location instead of remotely over the internet.

Most LANs take place in stadiums and are broadcast live on websites like Twitch and YouTube. Not only is the atmosphere different, but so are the seats, the tabletop, the space, and the venue.

During an online competition, participants use the internet to connect with a server in another place. The players are dispersed physically and geographically, meaning they must use their own computers and internet connections at home.

During these tournaments, bettors may be confident that participants are using a setup that they are familiar with and that will maximize performance. In contrast, players won't get a say in their setup during LAN events and will instead have to do with whatever equipment is provided.

Betting on a LAN eSports tournament requires considering the players' skill levels and the event's scale, travel logistics, pressure, players' capacity to interact with one another throughout a game, and the possibility of a home-field advantage.

While it's true that players can compete in online e-Sports tournaments from the convenience of their own homes, they still need to deal with server latency or "ping" (the duration it takes for data to be transmitted to the server and back) issues, which can be particularly problematic depending on the relative locations of team members and the server.

Ping: The Main Factor that Sets Apart LAN Versus Online Tournaments

"Ping" is a term used in online gaming to indicate the time it takes for a player's actions to be reflected in the server's response. The term "lag" refers to a spike or sudden uptick in the amount of time it takes for a command issued by your equipment to be received and processed by the game server or for a command issued by the server to be acknowledged by your device. It's called "ping," and having a low ping implies less delay and a more fluid gaming experience.

The unit of time used to measure a ping is the millisecond (abbreviated "ms"). Generally speaking, a ping of 15 milliseconds or less is outstanding, 15 to 45 milliseconds is wonderful, and 45 to 100 milliseconds is tolerable. Pings over 100ms can be difficult to play with, while pings over 250ms are usually unplayable.

Depending on the player's skill level and the game being played, these pings may or may not be playable. Games like Massive Online Battle Arenas (MOBAs) and first-person shooters (FPS) are notoriously susceptible to ping, with most gamers reporting the problem between 50 and 90 milliseconds. Online role-playing games (MMOs) and real-time strategy games (RTS) are more forgiving of larger pings, while turn-based games scarcely notice it.

How Crucial is Ping in Competitive Play?

In competitive gaming, ping often plays a larger role than it does for casual players. Most major professional esports tournaments are held at LAN centers to reduce the effects of latency. It's a good way to ensure that the players' efforts, not the network's speed, determine the game's outcome.

Creating an eSports Betting Strategy Based on LAN vs. Online Tournaments

Here are some factors to consider when building your esports betting strategy based on whether your favorite eSports game is holding LAN or online tournaments.

Knowing Player Preference

A player's preferences for various events can vary based on the individual. Online eSports tournaments enable gamers to compete from the comfort of their own homes or a familiar team environment.

In contrast, a player has to get used to the surroundings and gear at a LAN event. Driver troubles from shifting hardware to various devices are a regular concern when operating another system, especially in games like CS: GO, where having a perfect aim can mean the difference between victory and defeat.

While playing in the comfort of one's home has many advantages, it also runs the risk of causing a player to lose concentration and play below his or her potential. As an athlete, you may find that playing in front of a loud, enthusiastic crowd boosts your drive and determination.

Evaluate Previous Performances

A team's capability to communicate at a LAN tournament may be hindered by the large crowd size and subsequent noise levels. While players can see each other's screens, effective teamwork relies heavily on verbal communication. Therefore, serious bettors will often explore a team's nationality before a LAN event.

Since most players on a mixed nationality e-sport's team won't be able to communicate with one another in their native tongue, they may be at a greater disadvantage. Although such teams are well-known in Dota 2, booths are available at major competitions like The International to help mitigate the effects of spectator noise.

Understand Crowd Pressure

Crowd sizes vary depending on the event. In the League of Legends, for instance, each league's regular season is played over LAN, albeit before a relatively limited audience in a studio. Larger arenas can accommodate the crowds expected to attend the Worlds Finals.

Occasionally, a less talented team can win a LAN event by simply playing their usual game and not letting the pressure get to them. Not everyone can perform at their best under the intense scrutiny of a live audience, but some athletes thrive under the burden of such an environment.

Mistakes and Mental Fortitude

Every player feels pressure when participating in competitive esports, but they all respond to it differently. Some players may find that the game setting is a major distraction, prolonging the effects of errors that would otherwise be forgotten after a few minutes.

You can learn more about a player's likely response to a challenging situation by analyzing their performance data after they've made a critical error. Be mindful of this while placing wagers on LAN eSports tournaments, where the stakes are higher, and a player's mental fortitude may be tested by a missed shot or a failed gank.

Considering Location and Travel

Serious punters in esports will already factor in travel's influence on a team's performance at an event. Since jet lag may significantly impact a player's performance and, by extension, the team's chances of success in a competition, many squads now take measures to ensure that their members have adequate time to recuperate from the effects of long-distance travel.

Doing some short research on the location of a LAN event and comparing it to the participants' home region or past competition sites might yield useful information. 

Before making a wager, bettors should consider factors such as the player's familiarity with the local culture, language, and cuisine.

Although it may be less visible in esports, statistical evidence suggests that teams performing at a better level when competing in their home nation enjoy a minor advantage. The home team has the home-field advantage, since they don't have to travel as far, and the audience cheers them on. Their opponents must contend with the crowd's animosity, possibly apathy, which can demoralize and deplete morale.

Final Thoughts

This article explains why it is useful to know which players are more likely to win in which events and how that knowledge may guide your wagering strategy. Many esports bettors make the mistake of assuming that teams' performances in LAN or online tournaments are identical. By keeping in mind the previous information and doing some preliminary research, you may avoid this pitfall and give yourself a better chance of beating the odds.

About the author
Haruki Nakamura
Haruki Nakamura

Haruki Nakamura, affectionately termed "DataSensei" within the Esports universe, is EsportRanker's resident data wizard. Seamlessly merging his love for Esports with his knack for research, he provides insights and analysis that propel the industry forward.

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