How To Bet On eSports

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Betting on eSports continues to gain popularity, with an increasing number of bookmakers now offering a range of betting markets across major eSports tournaments. Whether it's CS:GO, Starcraft II or League of Legends, there are now a number of betting markets and bet types available for eSports betting. Our detailed eSports betting guide will show you how and where you can bet on eSports.

Betting On eSports

eSports, also known as electronic sports, are sports played via electronic systems, most often in video game format. Most commonly, eSports involve professional teams who compete against one another in the form of multi player video game tournaments. The most common type of eSports video games involve real-time strategy, First Person Shooter (FPS) and Multi-player Online Battle Arena (MOBA).

The first known video game tournament took place on October 19th, 1972 at Stanford University. The game chosen for the competition was Spacewar. The students within the university were invited to the tournament where the prize for winning the competition was a one year subscription to Rolling Stone. Then in 1980, The Space Invaders Championship organised by Atari grabbed the attention of more than 10,000 people across United States.

In the last five years, eSports has taken the experience to the next level. Fans from all around the world come to watch their favourite eSports teams perform. It's this type of hype and excitement that makes eSports so popular among young people. Live streaming platforms such as Twitch and ESPN have also played a very important role in the rise in popularity of eSports tournaments.

Best Bookmakers For eSports

Below are our top bookmakers for eSports betting. Each of these bookmakers is on the cutting edge when it comes to offering eSports betting markets, with odds listed across a broad range of games and bet types.

To learn more about what each bookmaker has to offer eSports punters, read our eSports bookmaker reviews here.

What You Will Find In This ESports Betting Guide

eSports Games To Bet On
Top 5 eSports Bookmakers
eSports Betting Odds Explained
eSports Betting Strategies
Betting On Dota 2
Betting On Counter Strike: Global Offensive
Betting On Smite
Betting On Call Of Duty
Betting On Heroes Of The Storm
Betting On League Of Legends
Betting On Starcraft II
eSports Tournaments & Leagues To Bet On
Where To Watch eSports Online


1. eSports Odds: Games To Bet On

With the rapid growth in the eSports industry, many bookmakers have decided to frame betting markets so that people can bet on eSports odds just as they would cricket, basketball, football or any other sport. With the development in eSports odds and games and tournaments, many unique betting options were introduced.

 

Currently, there are eSports odds available for the following games:

CS:GO
Starcraft II
DotA 2
League of Legends
Heroes of the Storm
SMITE
Call of Duty


2. Top eSports Betting Bookmakers

Popular eSports betting games involve tournaments on an international scale, with fans now able to bet on their favourite teams via bookmakers offering eSports odds and markets. The best eSports betting bookmakers include:

Betway

Betway esportsBetway has quickly proven itself an industry leader, offering a broad range of betting markets across a range of sports including eSports. At Betway you can bet on eSports betting odds for games such as Dota 2, League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, CS:GO, World of Tanks and Starcraft II. For more information on this up and coming bookmaker and details of their £30 free bet offer, please visit our Betway review.

Ladbrokes

Ladbrokes esportsAs one of the oldest bookmakers in the industry, you might expect Ladbrokes to be somewhat conservative in their range of betting markets. But that couldn't be further from the truth. At Ladbrokes you can bet on eSports betting odds for games such as Dota 2, League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, CS:GO and Starcraft II. For more details on this industry leading bookmaker and our exclusive Ladbrokes sign up offer, please visit our Ladbrokes review.

William Hill

William Hill esportsMuch like Ladbrokes, William Hill has been a part of the UK betting industry for many decades. Now an international force, William Hill offers eSports betting odds on games such as League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Starcraft II and Dota 2. For more information on this reliable bookmaker and our exclusive William Hill bonus code, please visit our William Hill review.

Pinnacle

Pinnacle esportsPinnacle is one of the largest bookmakers in the world, popular with professional bettors due to Pinnacle's Winners Welcome policy, their great odds and high betting limits. Pinnacle currently offers eSports betting odds for games such as Dota 2, League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, CS:GO and Starcraft II. For more information on Pinnacle and details of their industry best betting odds, please visit our Pinnacle review.

Other bookmakers to consider

While they may not feature in our top 5 eSports bookmakers, there are a number of other bookmakers to consider when betting on eSports tournaments. These include 888sport, 188sport and 10bet with each offering betting markets on eSports such as Dota 2, CS:GO and Starcraft II. You can read each of their reviews on our detailed bookmaker reviews listing.


3. eSports Betting Odds Explained

If you are serious about betting on eSports, then you must understand what betting odds are and what they represent. Betting odds essentially reflect the probability of a given outcome occurring.

So let's say that you want to bet on a CS:GO match. Each team will be given odds of winning that match. Team A is at odds of 1.60 while Team B is at odds of 2.50. What do these odds mean?

Betting odds represent the amount of money you will win if the team you select wins the match. So let's say we are going to bet £20 on Team A to win. We place our bet with an online bookmaker such as William Hill.

So how much will we win if Team A wins the match? Well a £20 bet at odds of 1.60 will return us a profit of £12. It is easy to calculate your profit. Here's how:

If Team A loses however, we lose our £20.


4. eSports Betting Tips

If you want to try eSports betting, there are a number of ways to enhance your chances. If you follow the successful betting, you'll give yourself every chance of betting a profitable eSports bettor. In this section we detail five eSports betting tips. If you consistent apply each of these eSports betting tips to your eSports punting, you could soon see your eSports betting profits improving.

#1 eSports Betting Tips: Only Bet When There Is Value

Betting odds reflect a probability often referred to as the 'implied probability'. This is easy to calculate.

Let's consider our example from a previous section. At odds of 1.60, the bookmaker is suggesting that there is a 62.5% chance that Team A will win the match. Should we bet on Team A? The reason it is important to understand betting odds is because we should only place bets when we believe there is such a thing known as betting value.

So how do we determine if a bet is a value bet? It's easy. A value bet is any bet where we believe the chances of a given out come occurring is greater than the probability implied in a given set of betting odds.

In our example, Team A is at odds of 1.60. We have calculated that the implied probability of these odds if 62.5%. After conducting our own analysis, we believe that the chances of Team A winning at actually 70%. Betting on Team A is then a value bet. If we believe the chances of them winning are equal to or less than their implied probability of 62.5%, there is no value and we should not place a bet on Team A.

#2 eSports Betting Tips: Take The Best Odds Always

Another crucial factor to betting on eSports or any other sport for that matter, is to always take the best odds available. One bookmaker may be offer odds of 1.80 for a Team to win a CS:GO match, while another may be offer odds of 1.85 for the same team to win the same match.

It may seem to be only a slight difference in odds, but trust us, continually taking the best odds available will make a big difference to your betting returns in the long run. It's hard enough to make a profit betting on any sport including eSports. If you're not taking the best odd available, you're only damaging your chances of making a profit long term.

For this reason we recommend having accounts with a few eSports bookmakers, such as Betway and William Hill. Having accounts with more than one bookmaker will give you greater flexibility not only in the range of betting markets available, but more importantly, better odds.

#3 eSports Betting Tips: Understand How The Game Is Played

When we say you must understand how the game is played, we don't mean merely possessing a casual understanding of how a particular eSports game is played, rather that you possess a detailed understanding of how the game is played.

This can be achieved either by reading up on a particular eSports game or viewing youtube videos on a given eSports game, however the best way to come to a detailed and deep understanding of how a particular eSports game is played is to actually play the game yourself.

Likewise it is key to understand how a particular eSports tournament will be played, its format and how a winner will be determined. If you are betting without understanding how a given tournament is played, you are leaving yourself open and will more than likely end up losing money. So do your research.

#4 eSports Betting Tips: Possess A Detailed Assessment Of The Teams And Players

Again, research is key. Do not place bets on a whim, simply because you think a certain eSports team is cool. If your bets are based on personality rather than skillset you will more than likely end up losing more bets than you win. Place bets based on sound analysis. Research each team and each player within that team. The reality is that most eSports bettors do not bet based on research but instead place bets on who they like. This can often mean that odds for popular eSports teams and players are far shorter than they should be. In these cases, it's best to bet against the popular team as the betting value will be with the ugly duckling.

There are many platforms that allow you to undertake detailed analysis of each team and player. You can view replays of recent eSports tournaments to see how players perform in certain situations. Do certain players crack under pressure? Do teams tends to play a conservative approach in certain situations? Is a particular player going into a tournament with an injury? If you want to find true betting value, you need to see things that others aren't seeing. Only through research will you achieve this.

#5 eSports Betting Tips: Research Gameplay Strategies

As you would expect, the manner in which eSports games are played continues to evolve at a rapid rate. Strategies that were cutting edge last year are now long outdated. In such a competitive environment, it is crucial that you are up to date in the latest game play strategies.

Keeping up to date with the latest gameplay strategies is a great way of identifying betting value. Why? Simply because typical eSports bettors are placing bets without conducting this depth of research and bookmakers are framing eSports odds mostly based on what they think the average eSports bettor is going to bet on. If you have a clear understanding of the latest evolution in gameplay strategy you will be well ahead of the pack.

Further Reading

For more information on betting odds, value bets and staking strategies, please read these articles:

How To Convert Odds
How To Find Value Bets
How To Calculate The Kelly Criterion
How To Manage Your Bankroll
How To Calculate Bookmaker Margins

5. eSports Betting: DotA 2

Dota 2 is an online multi-player free to play game developed and published by Valve corporation. The game was initially released for Windows but later in July 2013, it was released for both, Linux and Mac OS. The game is based on Warcraft III: Frozen Thrones’ interactive map known as Defence of the Ancients. At the moment, Dota 2 is the most played game in Steam with the highest concurrent players in the game.

How is Dota 2 played?

Dota 2 is like a game of futsal with five players in each game. The main objective is to destroy the enemy's main building which is called Ancient. One player can control one hero at a time and during the game, every player creates items for his/her hero. This is usually known as Course time in the game. A player in a game can earn gold, which is used to create items, by killing off some enemy heroes or by killing enemy creeps.

Normally, DotA 2 competitions comprise of best-of-three series. Originally, most bookmakers would offer only a single alternative for betting which was for the entire series, yet now with the increasing interest in eSports, bookmakers offer a person to wager even on a single match in the whole tournament, regardless of whether it is best-of-three or best-of-five format.

How To Bet On Dota2 Tournaments

Dota 2 is a very popular game among professional players. The tournaments and events in Dota 2 have a very large prize pool and it is continuously increasing each year. The International 5, which was the fifth international tournament organised by Valve, had a prize pool of over $18 million. The International is the biggest prize pool in eSports.

If you're looking for analysis and the latest news, GosuGamers is considered to be the best eSports website. It provides latest news related to eSports upcoming tournaments and it includes an eSports event calendar which is very helpful for those people who want to bet on a daily basis. For Dota 2 news and information you can also check out JoinDota.com and Dota2Lounge.com.

Bet on Dota 2 at Betway Now


6. eSports Betting:  Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is one of the most interesting online first person shooter game developed by Path Entertainment and Valve Corporation. It includes classical content of Counter Strike 1.6, such as remodelled versions of maps as well as new maps and gameplay modes.

How is CS:GO Played?

In CS:GO, each player joins either the Terrorist or Counter-Terrorist team. He/she then attempts to complete the basic goal and eliminate all the players in the opposing team. Each round in the game will end either when all the players are dead or the objective is completed. For almost all the gameplay modes, once a player dies, they must wait for their character to re-spawn in the next round of the game.

How To Bet On CS:GO Tournaments

In the beginning, each organisation that sponsored CS:GO tournaments, would conduct only one map series between two teams. Once a team achieves a specific score on the board with the passage of rounds, it will be declared victorious against the opposing team. But with the rapid growth in the Esports industry, many organisations decided to conduct the series in the best-of-three matches between the two teams.

With these changes to CS:GO competitive tournaments, bookmakers likewise began to offer a broader menu of bet types. As of now, top sites like 188bet, Matchbook and so on give safe and secure wagering alternatives as well as eSports calendars for their clients so that they can bet on matches according to the schedule.

If you're looking to try betting on CS:GO tournaments, the best way is to analyse and watch the expert groups with accuracy. Conduct detailed analysis on every player in every team in the CS:GO professional league. Again, sites such as GosuGamers will help you determine which teams are performing well, which are capable of improved performance and which teams are continually poor performers.

Bet on CS:GO at Matchbook Now


7. eSports Betting: Smite

Smite is a third-person multi-player online battle arena (MOBA) game developed and published by Hi-Rez Studios for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. In Smite, players take on different forms of god or other mythological heroes and take part in an arena combat where they use skills and team play strategies against other player-controlled gods and non-player-controlled minions.

How is SMITE Played?

SMITE features many different game modes, with the most popular known as Conquest. The players are divided into two teams, with five players in each team. All players begin at opposite sides of a map at their team's 'fountain'. Before the players join the map, they are given an amount of gold (usually 1,500) to buy starting items. These items grant special abilities that increase the player's god. There are three 'lanes' running from one side of the map to the other. Each lane is guarded by a 'Phoenix' along with a pair of extra defensive towers. Phoenixes and towers deal a large amount of damage to any enemies that come too close to them.

The objective of each game is to destroy the opposing team's Phoenixes and the Titan, a giant warrior who must be taken down to win the game. The players are supported by 'minions', small soldiers with a weak attack; these minions spawn at the Phoenixes every thirty seconds and run along their lane.

How To Bet on SMITE tournaments

Unlike other games, the only betting option that SMITE offers is the real money betting. Therefore, if you’re planning to bet on any SMITE tournament, then you should consider real money instead of in-game items.

Currently, there are many bookmakers that offer real money betting on SMITE tournaments with the most popular bookmakers being 188bet and Betway . These bookmakers provide a high quality service to users wanting to bet real money on current and upcoming SMITE tournaments.

Bet on SMITE at Ladbrokes Now


8. eSports Betting: Call of Duty

Call of Duty: Black Ops III is a science fiction first-person shooter game developed by Treyarch and published by Activision. It was released on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on November 6, 2015. A feature-limited version developed by Beenox and Mercenary Technology that only supports multi-player modes was released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

How is Call Of Duty played?

The multi-player mode introduces thruster packs that allow players to perform slow boosts into the air, as well as perform wall running and sliding, along with complete gun and machinery control. Additionally, Treyarch implemented a character system called "Specialists", where players can pick from 9 different soldiers, each with either a special weapon or unique ability. A new "Gunsmith" feature offers different variations in weapons system which basically allows various weapon customisation combinations. The Paintshop feature allows players to create their own custom prints on a gun.

How To Bet On Call Of Duty

There are many betting websites that offer betting on the Call of Duty tournaments. In Call of Duty, you are betting on the players you think will perform best in the matches. The basic format of Call of Duty tournaments is a bit different from other eSports games. For example in Vulcun, you get a $10,000 budget with each player worth a different value. You pick 8 players with a maximum of 3 per team. The players’ scores are based upon kills and objective play. You can compete against others and see how your bets compared to theirs.

Bet on Call of Duty at William Hill Now


9. eSports Betting: Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm (HotS) is a Multi-player Online Battle Arena video game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. The game includes heroes from the main franchises of Blizzard including Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft etc. The game is free-to-play however, the players who want to purchase hero models, can do so by purchasing in-game currency. This in-game currency will unlock different heroes, visual effects in the game and various mounts. Blizzard doesn’t call their game as MOBA or ARTS but instead, they named it as hero brawler.

How To Bet On Heroes Of the Storm

Unlike other eSports games, the main betting system that HotS offers is the placement of genuine cash on competitions. At present, there are various bookmakers that offer real money betting on HotS tournaments. However the most popular bookmakers are 188bet and William Hill. These bookmakers offer first rate services to customers looking to bet real money on the current and upcoming HotS tournaments.

Bet on Heroes Of The Storm at Unibet Now


10. eSports Betting: League of Legends

League of Legends (LoL) is a free-to-play Multi-player Online Battle Arena game developed and published by Riot Games.

 

How is League Of Legends played?

In the gameplay of LoL, players are assigned a specific summoner which controls the main character in the game known as champion. The champion possess unique skills and he/she competes against the other players’ or computer oriented champions. The main objective of the game is to destroy the main building of the opposing team known as nexus. This structure is located at the middle of the each team’s base and it is protected by multiple defensive structures.

In the early phases of the game, each player’s champion is quite weak but with the passage of time, the champion gains strength through items and experience level.

There are three available modes in the game that anyone can play. However, the most famous of them is Summoner’s Rift. There are two teams in the game, each consists of five players which battle against each other to take down the nexus.

How To Bet On League Of Legends

While other eSports games offering wagering on in-game items and prizes, the only option for League of Legends betting is the wagering of real money at bookmakers such as 188bet and William Hill.

Bet on League Of Legends at Pinnacle Now


11. eSports Betting: Starcraft II

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is a science fiction real-time strategy game developed and released by Blizzard Entertainment for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is a sequel of the award-winning 1998 video game StarCraft and its expansion set Brood War. It is split into three parts: the base game with the subtitle Wings of Liberty, an expansion pack Heart of the Swarm, and another expansion pack Legacy of the Void.

How is Starcraft II played?

The game includes three units: the Terrans, the Zerg, and the Protoss. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty focuses on the Terrans, while the expansions Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void include on the Zerg and Protoss, respectively.

The first StarCraft II tournament took place during the beta testing phase, HDH Invitational and Day's King of the Beta. Currently the largest professional tournament in StarCraft II is the GSL (GomTV Star League) which is a monthly tournament in South Korea. The tournament has prize pools of over $100,000.

A new North American StarCraft League is scheduled for an initial run of three seasons including $400,000 in prize money. The first season of the North American Star League started on April 12, 2011, with 50 players divided into 5 divisions. It ended on July 10, 2011, and the total prize pool money was $100,000. The North American Star League has since decided to run additional seasons.

How To Bet On Starcraft II

Esports tournaments have attracted the attention of online bookmakers. But if you don't wish to bet real money, GosuBet keeps the fun of betting in StarCraft II without the risk of losing real cash. No money is involved, so it’s a nice and safer way to bet on StarCraft II tournaments. Virtual gamblers start off with 50 StarCraft minerals which are distributed evenly across matches in each game. Odds affect how much you win or lose, and at the end of each season, the overall winner may even be awarded prize money.

But if you do want to bet on Starcraft II for real money, we recommend Skybet, 888sport, Ladbrokes and 10bet. Each of these bookmakers offer a range of betting markets and bet types for Starcraft II including Match Winner, Map handicaps as well as Map winner odds.

Bet on Starcraft II at Pinnacle Now


12. eSports Tournaments & Leagues To Bet On

Esports tournaments are happening everywhere around the world due to the rapid growth in the esports industry. Teams and organisations collaborate with each to schedule tournaments various eSports games. Most tournaments do not clash with the scheduling of other tournaments.

Battle.net World Championship Series

Founded 2012, played Worldwide

The Battle.net World Championship Series (BWCS) is a series of video game competitions organised by Blizzard Entertainment for their eSports games like StarCraft II (SC2), World of Warcraft (WoW), and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The tournament is played on the latest version of each game.

Capcom Cup

Founded 2013, played in the USA.

Capcom Cup is a yearly games tournament held in California, specifically for Street Fighter IV series. The first Capcom Cup was held in 2013 which featured Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition version 2012, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and Street Fighter X Tekken version 2013.

Dreamhack

Founded 1994, played in Sweden.

DreamHack is the world's largest eSports gaming competition, a LAN based event including live concerts and competitions in digital form.

Electronic Sports World Cup

Founded 2003, played in France

The Electronic Sports World Cup (ESWC) is an international professional eSports gaming tournament. Every year, winners of national qualifiers around the world represent their country in the ESWC Finals.

European Gaming League

Founded 2007, played in the UK

European Gaming League (EGL), formerly European Console League (ECL), is an esports tournament that organises tournaments in Europe and primarily in the United Kingdom.

Intel Extreme Masters

Founded 2007, played Worldwide

The Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) are a series of international eSports competitions held in countries all around in the world. The showdown eSports tournaments are sponsored by Intel and includes tournaments for Starcraft II, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Quake Live, League of Legends and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

Major League Gaming

Founded 2002, played in the USA

Major League Gaming Inc. (MLG) is a professional esports organisation. MLG is head quartered in New York City, New York and was founded in 2002. MLG has held official esports games tournaments throughout United States and Canada.

SMITE World Championship

Founded 2014, played in the USA

The Smite World Championship is the annual championship tournament for the multi-player online battle arena video game called Smite. It also features tournaments for both the PC and Xbox One versions of the game.

UMG Gaming

Founded 2012, played in the USA

UMG Gaming has been holding eSports gaming tournaments especially for the Call of Duty franchise since 2012, it has become an international event for the teams and professional teams from all around the world compete in this tournament.

The International

Founded 2011, played in the USA.

The International (TI) is an annual Dota 2 championship tournament hosted by Valve Corporation and it is considered to be the biggest esports tournament. In this largest esports event, sixteen teams are given invitations to compete in the tournament in which there four of teams make their spot through qualifiers.


13. Where to watch eSports online

With the speedy growth of the eSports industry, many organisations decided to arrange eSports tournaments on both a national as well as international level. Until now, thousands of tournaments have been arranged by the organisations.

When tournaments are being held increasingly on an international scale, it becomes very difficult for ans and spectators to attend tournaments. As a result some companies decided to create a platform where viewers and players can watch their favourite eSports matches live, replays of past tournaments and as well as the ability to follow eSports live scores.

Currently, spectators can watch their favourite tournaments within the game client. For example, in DotA 2, there is an in-game tab, known as ‘Watch’ available through which, players can watch on-going matches and tournaments in DotA 2.

Besides in-game clients, players can also watch their favourite matches via live streaming websites.

Watching eSports on Twitch

Twitch is a live and online streaming video platform which is the production of Twitch Interactive and a subsidiary of Amazon. Announced in 2011, the main focus of Twitch was on video gaming, broadcasting of eSports tournaments and the creation of unique content related to eSports gaming.

The popularity of Twitch is due to the fact that it offers a great menu of options for users. In October, 2013, the Twitch website had 45 million unique visitors and by February, 2014, it became the fourth largest source of internet traffic in the United States.

Visit the Twitch website here

Watch eSports on Hitbox

Hitbox is a next level generation live video streaming and communication platform for gamers as well as the eSports community. Hitbox includes many features such as gaming-related entertainment video content, interactive video streaming, availability of watching VODs etc.

The best thing about hitbox is that it sends you a notification whenever your favourite streamer is online. You can also communicate with the streamer using built-in chat system. It also provides an esports live stream option through which, a user can watch any on-going esports tournament via PC or laptop.

Visit the Hitbox website here

Watch eSports on Azubu

Azubu is a global streaming network, which provides both a premium live streaming platform as well as eSports news and analysis. The extraordinary features in Azubu’s video player provide high definition and a lag-free environment through which, users can access the live streaming without any problem.

The Azubu user experience has further been accelerated due to the in-depth editors as well as developers behind this project. You can watch League of Legends, DotA 2 and CS:GO on-going tournaments on it.

Visit the Azubu website here

Watch eSports on MLG

MLG.tv is a free to watch live streaming video platform through which, various esports tournaments are being broadcast. The premium enabled video streaming option is the best supported feature making MLG the fastest growing digital networks all around in the world.

MLG.tv provides instant access to the esports tournaments as well as the MLG’s premier tournaments all around in the world. You can always watch esports live tournaments via MLG.tv without any kind of lag or disruption.

Visit the MLG website here

Watch eSports on Steam Broadcasting

Valve has added a built-in live streaming option in Steam, known as Steam Broadcasting. With Steam Broadcasting, users will be able to broadcast and watch their favourite games using the built-in Steam video player. According to Valve, the Steam Broadcasting feature is “designed for ease of use, allowing anyone to view a friend's game by simply clicking on 'Watch Game' on their Friend's profile or Friend's List to open a window into their gameplay - no game ownership, special fees, or additional apps required.”

Visit the Steam Broadcasting website here


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