Confessions of a professional gamer

GR: What's the biggest misconception people have about what you do for a living?

Laurent Keoula: The one that stands out the most right now is that people think gaming is what I do for a living. I don't look at it that way really. I'm a college student and once I graduate I won't have time for competitive gaming anymore.

Garett Bambrough: The biggest misconception is that I play with four other small Asian nerds with glasses. People don't realize that in gaming the range of races, ages, and gender is huge. And it's a great thing.
Chad Neil: People like to think that gamers are people with no lives. The funny thing is that no gamer I know in the CGS is boring at all. They're all very fun to be around and we all like to do things outdoors.

Yazan Ammari: When I tell people that I am a professional gamer, the first assumption is that I test games for companies or I create games. False! I don't have any involvement in the creation. I just played the game, caught on faster than most, and am able to perform better than everyone else. If Counter-Strike was Mario Bros., I could beat the level faster than everyone else while shooting fireballs.

Chris Harris: That we are all lazy people and don't want to do anything but play games. Most people don't realize that this is just as competitive as anything else.

Above: Garett "Grt" Bambrough doesn't play with four small Asian nerds. They're too busy playing StarCraft

GR: Is a professional gamer's salary really enough to live on? Do you have a day job?

Laurent Keoula: At the moment, I'm still living with my parents and this salary is enough to live on while I'm going to school.

Mike Stanowski:
For me it is, but it depends on your lifestyle. I plan to hold a job or another source of income along with what I get from pro gaming in the near future.

Yazan Ammari: Right now with placing 2nd in world, it is enough. On the off-season we still collect salaried checks monthly, and it gives us time to get day jobs. I normally work for my father in the off-season. He is a private business owner.

Moe Assad: It's more than enough if you're living at home. But it might get hard if you're living on your own.

Garett Bambrough: If I was done with school and had to run my life on what I get right now, then no. For now, it is great and is getting me through school, and for that, I am grateful. I play hockey on the side and get paid for it. I am a goalie and I rent myself out to people who need one for when they play. It's good money.

Chad Neil: You can live on a gamer's salary. Some games make more money than others. I'm about to get a day job so that I can save my money in the bank.

Chris Harris: The salary really isn't enough to live on. It's more of a side thing you would do if you were in school. I had a day job, but now a friend is letting me stay with him. We practice games and just chill.

Alessandro Avallone: I do not have a day job, I've been a professional gamer and lived from gaming since I was 16. Personally, gaming has its up and downs when it comes to salary, payments and so forth. But if you are a top gamer you can definitely make a living of it.

Kevin Uribe: It's definitely not for CGS pros unless you place 1st. We placed 2nd, and it's definitely not enough. The money is good for two or three months of work, but then you have to have other sources of income.
GR: We understand that Optx raked in about $150,000 at the last CGS tournament. How are winnings split up amongst the team?

Mike "paradox" Stanowski: Ten percent went to our manager, Kat, while the remainder was split 10 ways equally between us. Do the math and you get $13,500 per player, which includes me!

Above: For most of the team, pro gaming is a part-time gig