Esports Terminology: A-Z Glossary

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Published: Mar 6, 2023 - Last Updated: Feb 29, 2024

As this competitive gaming scene continues to grow and evolve, it becomes increasingly important to familiarize ourselves with the unique language used by its players, fans, and bettors. This is why we’ve created this comprehensive glossary, designed to be your one-stop resource for understanding and navigating the exciting realm of esports terminology.

This glossary will help you get acquainted with key terms, concepts, and phrases that are crucial to understanding how the industry works. From game-specific terms to betting lingo, our esports terminology guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to fully appreciate and engage with the competitive gaming landscape.

Let’s get started and level up your esports vocabulary.

1

1X2 betting1X2 betting, meaning Team 1, Draw(X), Team 2, is a type of betting where the bettor bets on the outcome of a game with three possible results: Team 1 wins, draw, or Team 2 wins. The draw used to mean an actual draw (as in stalemate in chess), but most bookies now define it as going to overtime. 

A

Accumulator/acca – Also known as acca or parlay, an accumulator bet combines multiple selections into one single bet. Each of the selection must win for the accumulator bet to win. This makes acca betting a double-edged option that magnifies the risk and the reward for the bettor.

Against the spread (ATS) – If a bettor bets against the spread on a game where the point spread is set at -3 for the favorite, they expect the favorite to “cover the spread” and win the game by more than 3 rounds. Betting against the spread can make an imbalanced matchup less risky for bettors.

Anchor – a player who holds a bomb site and does not rotate from it.

AoE – Abilities which affect a certain designated area.

Arbitrage bettingArbitrage in betting is a strategy where the bettor makes profit from the difference in odds provided by different bookies. If one bookie offers 1.80 for Team A and another bookie offers 2.30 for Team B, dividing $20 on both teams using an arbitrage calculator reveals a guaranteed profit of $0.20 no matter the outcome. 

Asian handicap betting A type of handicap betting where the bettor can bet at an advantage or at a disadvantage without having to worry about a push. Instead of using whole numbers (+1, +2, -1, -2), Asian handicap in betting uses decimal numbers (+1.5, +2.5, -1.5, -2.5) to make sure the bet is settled as either a win or a loss.

Average Combat Score (ACS) – Varying from 100 to 400, it is a rating that factors in all aspects of a player’s performance.

B

Back and lay – The back and lay meaning in betting is similar to the meaning of long and short in trading: a bettor sets the price and places a back bet (long) and another bettor takes that price and places a lay bet (short). If the agreed market turns true, the back bettor wins. If it turns false, the lay bettor wins. That said, back and lay are the kinds of bets that can be placed in a betting exchange.

Battle royale As the most recent trend in the gaming industry, battle royale esports has also thrived since 2019. Involving the simple concept of outlasting and outplaying other individual players or teams on a shrinking piece of land by fragging and collecting items, there are many kinds out there ranging from first to third-person views. Examples: Fortnite, PUBG, Apex Legends, CoD Warzone, Free Fire.

Beating the bookiesBeating the bookies means consistently beating the odds provided by the bookmakers. Bettors who want to make profit betting in the long term must study and consider metrics like profit-loss ratio, win rate, and account exposure. They must also often align their intuition with statistics by building their own data sets or looking at others’.

Betting markets – For new bettors who need betting markets explained, they’re the different kinds of bets you can place in a sportsbook. Some of the most common betting markets include Winner, Map Winner, Map Handicap, Over/Under, Totals, 1X2, and Duration.

Both teams to score (BTTS) – A betting market that allows the bettor to wager on whether both teams will score a point or not. BTTS betting is popular in sports like football (soccer) where scoring a single goal can be hard. It’s a simple “Yes or No” market although it has other more complicated versions.

BM – This is an acronym for bad manners, used when players are bad-mouthing each other during a game or playing less than fairly.

Bo1, Bo3, Bo5 – An acronym that simply means best-of-one, best-of-three and best-of-five. See also: Esports tournamets formats explained.

Buff – An increase in a player’s character abilities within a game setting. Buffs can be short term or permanent, for instance, when an upgrade is made to the game and then characters receive buffs from the game designers.

Build – How you choose to build your character or other item through in-game selections. You can build to be a more attack-minded player, a more defensive player, or to perform a specific role within the game.

C

Cash out Cash out in betting refers to the option to end a bet on a live market before it’s settled. Cashing out and taking advantage of the live fluctuation of odds can be a great way to secure a profit a bet is winning or to minimize a loss when a bet is losing. Be aware that 

Carry – In League of Legends, Champions with high auto-attack damage but low defense. Relying on their regular attack, their skills scale with stats which makes them immensely powerful in the late-game. These are primary targets for the enemy team, known as ADC (attack, damage, carry). Examples: Caitlyn, Jhin.

Console (Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo) – Certain esports are developed to be played on particular devices, such as home consoles. Usually, a wireless controller is used for competition here. Examples: Halo, Super Smash Bros, Mortal Kombat

Corner betting – A type of football betting market that involves the number of corner kicks that will happen in a match. Corner betting odds are normally set in decimal (9.5, 10.5), giving bettors the option to bet over or under the bookie’s given line.

Counter-Terrorists – In Counter-Strike, counter-terrorists (CTs) prevent bomb detonation OR eliminate the Terrorists within the time using weapons and grenades to deal damage, there are a number of weapon classes available with different recoil patterns to master (movement when used to aim down sights):

Creep score A measure to assess how many enemy minions you’ve slayed as a measure of lane dominance.

Carry – A player protected by his teammates, so he can deal the largest amount of damage to opponents.

Cooldown – The period of time after you use a special weapon or ability in a game during which it is unavailable to use again.

CS:GO – An acronym for CS2 Global Offensive, a first person shooter and hugely popular esports game. Each  match involves two teams Terrorists (attack) and Counter-Terrorists (defence), who retain each side for half of the game at a time.

CS:GO, roles – Within a 5-man CS:GO team, there are usually the following five roles:

Clutch – a situation where a lone player somehow wins in an unlikely situation.

Crowd control – Abilities or spells that remove or diminish the control a target unit has over itself.

D

Damage per second   Describes how much damage a champion, in League of Legends for example, deals with over a period of time.

Double chance betting A low-risk type of betting where the bettor places a single bet with two outcomes. Because it includes less risk, double chance betting odds are lower than ordinary betting odds and, therefore, reduces potential winnings for bettors.

Double result betWhat is a double result bet? Also known as halftime bet in both sports and esports, it involves predicting the score leader in the first half and the winner in the second half (which is also the winner of the game). Bettors can also place a bet on a draw since it’s possible for the teams to have an even round by the end of the first half. 

Draw no bet – When a bettor places a draw no bet, meaning “no bet in case of a draw,” they simply want to eliminate the risk of losing their money when a game ends in a draw, which is common in sports like soccer, boxing, cricket, chess, etc. For esports, some bookies may consider overtime as a draw.

Draftingsee Picks and Bans.

Dota 2 (also styled DOTA 2) – An acronym for Defense of the Ancients 2, a popular multi-player online battle arena game.

Double elimination bracket – A tournament format where teams can afford to lose one game in the playoff stage of the tournament. After a loss, they drop into a losers bracket, where they will have one final chance to play through to the grand final against some of the other losing teams from the tournament.

E

Each way bettingHow does betting each way work? You bet on a horse to win and, if not, at least finish in a place position, like second or third. The cost of the bet depends on the odds of the terms of the each way bet. Each way betting isn’t limited to horse racing and can be done in other sports such as tennis and golf.

Economy round – In CS:GO or Valorant for example the team decides to save money and use only the cheapest weapons in the game with little utility.

Entry fragger: the first person charging to clear space on the offence and defence, leading his team into unknown territory.

Esports betting strategy – Refers to the careful planning that goes behind a well-informed bet. Most esports betting strategies boil down to looking at player/team statistics, understanding the current meta, and knowing about data related to the bettor’s own betting account.

F

Fade – To fade a bet is to bet on a team to lose. It’s like shorting a stock, where you go against the uptrend and bet on the downside. Not every bookie features fading, but on those platforms where it’s available, it can lead to higher payouts and less risk due to hedging.

Farming This is the process of earning virtual money in a game. This is usually achieved by killing automatic targets rather than more difficult human opponents. In MOBAs like League of Legends and Dota 2, a champion eliminating multiple minions with the aim of gathering as much gold and experience as possible to acquire certain advantages over the opponents.

FF – This is an acronym for Finish Fast — used by esports gamers to indicate they feel they can win the game very quickly now. It can also be used by losing players to ask the winning team to finish the game quickly.

Flaming – A term for abusing other players in the game chat, either by text or verbally through a headset and microphone.

First-Person Shooters (FPS) – A video game genre that emphasizes gun-based combat and a first-person perspective. This allows the player to experience the game through the eyes of the in-game character. First-person shooters bring an element of dynamic and visceral actions which involves both a mental and mechanical skill aspect.

For the most part, FPS types of esports involve team action featuring objective-based game modes:

Fog of war (FoW) – Sight on the map is blocked by a fog which may be uncovered as player progress to the enemy side.

Force buy – Buying with little money and risking having no money next round due to desperate need for a win.

Four fold bet – A four fold bet is an accumulator bet that requires four successful selections in order to win. Making a profit from a four fold bet is very rare since a bettor is stacking four different odds in a single wager. This is why four fold bets give very high potential payouts.

Frag (or fragged) – One Frag is the equivalent of one kill in game in which that’s the objective.

Fighting games (FGC) – Revolving around 1v1 action, individuals are pitted against one another in combat which takes place on a fixed stage. Combat involves movement and heated, fast-paced combat, either reducing the enemy’s health of knocking them off the stage Examples: Brawlhalla, Injustice, Mortal Kombat, Soul Calibur, Tekken, Super Smash Bros.

G

Gank – When one or more players from a team go to a lane with the intention to create a numbers advantage to eliminate or disrupt enemies.

GG – A “good game” message sent to an opponent after a match.

GLHF – An acronym for “good luck; have fun” — often texted before a game.

Goal line bet – A goal line bet, meaning a bet on the goal line or score line, is a simplistic type of under/over bet that a bettor places if they think a match will or will not reach a particular total score. In some esports titles, like CSGO, Dota 2, and League of Legends, the market for this bet is the Total Kills.

Goliath betting – One of the most complicated kinds of betting, Goliath betting involves placing 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 four-folds, 56 five-folds, 28 six-folds, eight seven-folds, and an eight-fold, totaling to 247 individual bets. The Goliath bet is a full cover bet most popular in horse racing. 

H

Handicap What is handicap in betting? A handicap is an advantage or a disadvantage given to a team to make the odds of an unfair matchup more even. For instance, in a best-of-three series, an underdog may be given a +1.5 handicap, which means the handicap bet will win as long as they win at least 1 game.

Hold – when a team ‘holds’ they are locking down an area of the map such as a bomb site

I

Implied probability – If a bet is placed at 2.00 (+100), that bet has an implied probability of 50% (the selection has a 50% chance of happening or succeeding) How to calculate implied probability? For decimal odds, divide 1 by the odds (1 / 2.00 = 0.50). For American odds, add 100 and divide 100 by the odds (100 + 100  = 200, 100 / 200 = 0.50)

In-play betting – In-play betting, or live betting, is betting on live markets with live odds. This is considered the more exciting form of betting as the bettor can watch live the game they’re betting on. Some in-play betting tips include cashing out at a profit and considering live stream latency.

Inting – Possibly the worst sin in esports, this is when one player is intentionally (int-ing) trying to lose the game. This is an ultra-rare occurrence in top-level esports.

J

Jungler – A player or character whose primary role is to attack non-playing characters and provide support for teammates. League of Legends has a specific Jungler role on each team.

K

KDA – An acronym for “kills, deaths, assists.” This stat functions as a summary of how a match played out.

Kite – Creating distance from your opponent while dealing as much damage as possible – unique movement to ADC gameplay.

L

Lay betting Lay betting explained in a nutshell: A bettor sets the odds and bets that a team will lose or something won’t happen. This is similar to fading, although here the bettor has the freedom to select the odds of their choice. Lay betting is often done in betting exchanges.

League of Legends – A multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) developed and published by Riot. Two teams of five players compete on a parallel map, where one team occupies one-half of the entire match. Each of the ten players controls a character or “Champion” endowed with special abilities and signature moves. Across a match, which is not round based, the goal is to strengthen champions by collecting experience points, purchasing items using gold and pushing to the enemy’s base to destroy their “Nexus” at the opposite ends of the Summoner’s Rift map (shown below).

esports terminology league of legends summoner's rift

Image credit: Lol Fandom

Experience points are earned by eliminating enemies while gold is earned from taking down enemy minions (non-playable characters) or defensive structures. Notably, ‘turrets’ defend each of the three lanes of the map – Top, Middle and Bottom with a Jungle in-between.

Advancing into an enemy’s lane gives one the chance to destroy one of three ‘inhibitors’, allowing stronger allied minions to spawn. Other non-playable characters include monsters in the Jungle which can offer unique items which are game-changing.

While the concept is simple, the number of items, unique agents and combining agents make for an endless number of possibilities. There are currently over 140 champions to choose from, all of which fall under the following classes:

League of Legends, roles – in a competitive setting, the responsibilities in a match boil down to making the most of these different classes in five roles:

Line-Up – utility placement which is practiced in order to land in precise areas of the map.

M

Matched betting – A very low-risk to riskless type of betting that takes advantage of different bookmarkers’ promotions to guarantee a profit from a bet. Common matched betting tips include activating the right bonuses, finding the suitable bookies, and calculating the right amount to bet using various tools.

Match betting, automatcher – A matched betting automatcher is a software or web-based tool that helps matched bettors easily find the best bookies, promos, and odds for placing riskless bets. On top of that, automatchers can calculate how much profit can be made in a matched bet and how much to wager to make that profit.

Meta The current state of the game, based on the most recent updates dictating which items or agents are best.

Micro betting – Micro bets are a type of live bets that can be settled even before a quarter or a half of a game ends. Some popular micro betting markets include props like First Team to Score and First Touchdown in sports and Pistol Round Winner and First Blood in esports.

MOBA  An acronym for multiplayer online battle arena games, such as League of Legends or Dota 2. Players move their characters on a fixed map with lanes in teams. Using items, teamwork and mechanical skill, players have the ability to take down enemies with the ultimate goal of claiming space and taking down the enemies hub. With shifting game updates, item changes and new characters, the constant state of change makes these games very exciting. Examples: Arena of Valor, Dota 2, Heroes of the Storm, League of Legends, SMITE.

Mobile – a trend in the industry, a number of mobile games have grown to attain esport status and are taking the world by storm, comparable to PC and Console esports. Examples: PUBG Mobile, Free Fire, Clash of Clans.

N

Nerf (or nerfed) – When a character or item is weakened by an update from the developer.

Noob – A derisive term for a new and unskilled player.

NPC – An acronym for “non-playing character — an opponent generated by the software rather than controlled by another player.

O

Odds boost Odds boost is an incentive offered by bookies that “boosts” the odds or payout of selected bets to make them more appealing to bettors. This can be a great way for bookmakers to direct their customers’ attention towards a particular match, event, or market. Odds boost are often assigned to markets with low-chance outcomes, like Hat Trick in football.

Odds, how to calculate – While there’s no precise and clear-cut way to figuring out how betting odds are calculated, bookies typically rely on sophisticated models and algorithms that churns out the odds bettors see on their screen. These algorithms use advanced statistics that factored in metrics like power rankings, individual performances, and strength of schedule among many others.

Odds, how to readHow to read betting odds? If you’re using the American format, +200 means you need to bet $100 to make $200. On the other hand, -200 means you need to bet $200 to make $100. The +200 and -200 make up the moneyline, and it has the decimal equivalent of 3.00 and 1.50, ($2 profit and $0.50 profit for every dollar wagered, respectively)

Over/underWhat is over under in betting? It refers to the bets a bettor can place when betting in the Totals market. In this market, the bookie sets a number and the bettor wagers on whether or not something will occur less than or more than that number. The over and under bets can be placed in many Totals niche variations.

P

PC (Personal Computer) – the most common type, using the performance power of personal computers, where competitors usually utilize a keyboard and mouse to input commands and compete. Examples: League of Legends, CS:GO, Hearthstone

Picks and bans – Prior to a competitive match, players are allowed to pick (protect from banning) or ban (remove from play) Champions (in League of Legends and Dota 2, for example) and maps (in Counter-Strike and Rainbow Six Siege, for example).

Pick’ems (PK) – A pick’em or PK is a term used for a game that doesn’t have a point spread or handicaps due to the competing teams being evenly matched. PK in betting can also mean the PK line, which is a betting line where the point spread shows +0 and -0 and where a draw no bet is refunded in case of a draw.

Plus and minus signs – The plus and minus in betting indicate how much profit can be made by betting $100 and how much to bet to make $100 when the odds are displayed in the American (or moneyline) format. The team with the minus sign is always the favorite, while the team with the positive sign is always the underdog.

Puck line betting – A type of betting in ice hockey where the bettor places a wager on the puck line, meaning a betting line set at +1.5 for the underdog and -1.5 for the favorite. For the bet to win, the selected team must cover the spread and either win by more than 2 points or finish without being behind by more than 2 points. 

Push – A push in betting means the bet didn’t win or lose because the spread hasn’t been covered by a single point. This normally happens whenever a game ends in a draw, although a push can also be the outcome when betting in markets other than the match winner.

R

Racing and sports simulation – this last category involves all esports which involve simulator-focused or arcade-focused sports inspired titles.

Retake – when having to regain space which you’ve already lost, such as a bomb site, you are retaking.

Rollover What is a rollover in betting? It’s a wagering requirement that a bettor must complete before they can withdraw the money they got by activating a bookie’s promo. For example, if a deposit bonus of $100 has a 10x rollover, it means the bettor must wager a total of $1,000 before they’re allowed to withdraw the bonus money and every penny earned by it. Note that some bookies may allow the withdrawal with a penalty.

Rotate – moving from A bomb to B bomb site? This movement between bomb sites is known as rotation.

Round robin betting – A round robin bet allows the bettor to create multiple parlays and place those parlays all at once. If there are 3 teams competing, the bettor can decide to make a total of 3 two-team parlays (AB, AC, BC), in which case it becomes a full cover bet. Each parlay is treated as individual bets.

Rush – A tactic whereby players attack their opponents quickly in hopes of catching them off guard.

S

Salty – This phrase describes a player who is particularly angry, upset, or vocal about something occurring in the game.

Save – deciding to save money even though you could buy.

SCII or SC2 – An acronym for StarCraft II, a popular esports space strategy and battle game played by individuals.

Shotcaller – The name given to the player who devises a team’s main strategy.

Shutout – When a team or individual defeats an opponent without their opponent scoring a single point or kill against them.

Single elimination bracket – A tournament structure in which losing teams have no second chance to progress and are out.

Stream or live stream – The internet broadcasts video and audio from an esports event via computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Strategy games A diverse genre of game where competitors focus entirely on making intelligent moves at the right time to better their opponent, focusing more on mental capacity rather than mechanical skill. Also, strategy esports are usually played on an individual basis. This genre presents with the following sub-genres which field their own esports:

T

Tank – A character or player who is very difficult to kill.

Terrorists – In Counter-Strike, Terrorists (Ts) plant and detonate the bomb OR eliminate the Counter-Terrorists within the time limit.

Trade – when your teammate is eliminated and you eliminate the enemy who did so, you traded your teammate.

Trixie bet – The question “What is Trixie bet?” is best answered with an instruction. First, you bet on 3 different selections (say, Team A, Team C, Team E—all winners). A Trixie bet takes those selections and make 3 doubles (AC, AE, CE) and 1 treble (ACE) out of them, totaling in 4 individual bets. Losing one parlay does not lose the rest.

Teaser bets – A teaser bet is a bet placed on an alternative point spread created by the bettor and not the bookie. If the original point spread for one team is set at -5 but the player changes it to -3 or -2.5, the bet placed on that spread is no longer the point spread bet but a teaser bet. The odds, of course, will change along with the odds chosen by the bettor. And that is teaser bet explained.

Twitch – One of the leading live streaming services in esports, also referred to as Twitch TV.

U

Ultimate – A character’s most powerful ability is called the Ultimate, often shortened to Ulti.

Unit – A unit in sports betting is a size of a bet that is equal to a percentage (usually ranging from 1% to 5%) of a bettor’s bankroll. If a bettor has $1,000 in their betting account and decides to use 2% units for their bets, each unit would be worth $20 (2% of $1,000).

V

Value betting – A value bet is a bet that looks beyond the face value of the money line and aims to identify an underlying advantage in the odds. The bettor does this by gathering data sets and arriving at probabilities that differ from the what the bookmaker has generated—sometimes in a huge way.

W

Winning margin bet What is a winning margin bet? A wager placed on the difference in scores between the winning team and the losing team. If a CSGO match ends in 16-13, the winning margin is 3 goals. If the match finishes in 16-15, the margin is one goal.

Gabriel Sciberras

Since: February 7, 2023

Gabriel is a content writer and editor at EsportsBets, covering every related esports scene and topic under the sun, apart from plenty of experience in the realm of technology and gaming. When he's not covering international news, he's focused on the local Maltese scene.

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