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2022-09-15
Top 10 South Korean Esports Players Based on Prize Money Earned

When it comes to esports, South Korea’s dominance is unrivaled. It was one of the first few countries to recognize esports as a professional sport. With such opportunities available, many South Korean players have made it their main profession and have earned thousands or even millions of dollars from tournaments held for different kinds of games.  


In this article, we look at the ten highest-earning South Korean esports players based on the total prize money from tournaments as of July 2022 (source: Statista). 

10) Park Ryung-woo (박령우)

Park Ryung-woo is a StarCraft II esports player best known as 'Dark'. He plays for the team Dragon Phoenix Gaming. He has won about $907,790 so far, with his highest earnings in a single game being $210,000 during the 2019 World Champion Series Global Finals.  

9) Go Jeong-wan (고정완)

Go Jeong-wan, also known as 'ESTH3R', is a former PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) esports player for the team Gen.G. He retired from the competitive scene on January 2 of this year. Despite being retired, ESTH3R still ranks as one of his country’s highest earning esports players, having won a total of $908,932.26. 

8) Cha Seung-hoon (차승훈)

At No. 8 is Cha Seung-hoon, alias 'Pio'. He is currently in the team BGP and is another PUBG player. Pio is also one of the top 10 PUBG players in the world, winning the PUBG Championship back in 2019 and representing South Korea at that same year’s Nations Cup. He has earned a total of $909,020.39 in prize money. 

7) Lee Jae-wan (이재완)

Next up is Lee Jae-Wan. Better known as 'Wolf', Lee is a League of Legends (LoL) player who retired from professional esports in 2019. He currently is a streamer and content creator under the team T1. Even in retirement, Wolf remains one of the nation’s top esports earners, having bagged a total of $913,084.70.

6) Bae Jun-sik (배준식)

Bae Jun-sik, a.k.a. 'Bang,' is a LoL player who retired from pro gaming in December 2021. Since then, he’s been streaming the same game for the team T1. His total earnings stand at $915, 846.22. 

5) Lee Ho-seong (이호성)

At No. 5 is Lee Ho-seong, who goes by the name 'Duke.' He played LoL for the Chinese team Invictus Gaming in the position of top laner. He has earned a total amount of $954,620.62 from 27 tournaments. 

4) Park Jung-young (박정영)

Park Jung-young, alias 'Loki,' is a PUBG player under the team DAMWON Gaming. He has won a total of $972,307.19, with his largest prize from a single tournament (the 2019 PUBG Global Championship) amounting to $505,000.

3) Cho Sung-choo (조성추)

In 3rd place is the pro StarCraft II player Cho Sung-choo, better known as 'Maru.' Currently, he is under a newly formed team, Onsyde Gaming. So far, he has accumulated a total of $1,019,474.12 in winnings for over 151 tournaments. 

2) Lee Byung-ryul (이병렬)

Another StarCraft II player on this list is Lee Byung-ryul, or 'Rogue,' at No. 2. Rogue plays as a Zerg for Dragon Phoenix Gaming. He has earned a total of $1,050,271.38 in prize money, with his largest prize from a single tournament being $280,000 at the WCS 2017 Global Finals. 

1) Lee Sang-hyeok (이상혁)

Taking the crown at No. 1 is none other than 'Faker.' Lee Sang-hyeok is a LoL player for the team T1. He is widely renowned for his skills and his versatile champion pool. Faker has won three times in the League of Legends World Champions, making him one of only two players to have ever done so, contributing to his global popularity even outside of esports circles. As of July 2022, he has earned a total of $1,352,521.14 in prize money from 58 tournaments. 

Sources: Statista, YouTube Channels (Hajinsun TV, 에스더튜브, 피오TV, T1, theScore esports, LoL Esports, Gen.G esports, SC2HL, StarCraft Esports)

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