Fedor Holz Invests in Esports Company
German poker star Fedor Holz has announced he is to invest in an esport team. As an accomplished poker player, he is also hoping to pass on help with mindset training.
When Fedor Holz announced his retirement from professional poker we weren’t quite sure how serious he was. He’s certainly been busy, that’s for sure. His latest venture is an investment in an esports company. Envy Gaming, Inc is the parent company of Team Envy and Dallas Fuel.
We’re not sure exactly how much Holz has committed to investing here, but it has been made clear he will be a minority partner. So, how did this come about?
In 2016 Holz was introduced to eSports Star Nathan "NBK" Schmitt by Envy Gaming, Inc’s CEO Mike “Hastr0” Rufail. In actual fact, during the final table period of the $111,111 One Drop that he won for almost $5 million, Holz was wearing a "Team EnVyUs" jersey, but it’s doubtful many people noticed this until Holz pointed it out in December 2017.
“I wore an @TeamEnVyUs jersey when I won my bracelet and then invested in them earlier this year. I love what they do. I'm excited to see what's next!”
Who Are They?
Founded in 2007, Team Envy is a large group that is comprised of many different teams that play games such as Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, and Overwatch. In the 11 years since forming they have grown from a simple two-man team playing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare into something that resembles a serious organisation with massive financial backing.
In 2008 and 2009 the team finished runner up in the Call of Duty section at the MLG Pro Circuit - National Championship, collecting $4,000 each time. This kind of prize is almost laughable compared to what is on offer today.
Holz spoke to ESPN about what edged him towards investing in this industry.
"I like to invest in things that I'm emotionally connected to it, because I feel that I contribute the most but I also get the most out of it. I like Envy, I like to watch, I like the way they build their infrastructure and team, take care of their players. And it was just a corporation I wanted to be a part of in some way."
Much has been made about Holz’s mindset training over his short career. The 24-year-old always looks totally unflappable during his live poker appearances. He is known to have taken many sessions with professional mindset coach Elliot Roe over the years, and the pair of them have put together their Primed Mind product. All of this points towards Holz intending to use his skills in this area to help the young team cope with the demands of performing at their very best every time they are in a competition.
"Talking to these players and seeing them myself, a lot of them still struggle with their mindset because they're really young and the pressure starts really early. I feel that the mindset or the way you approach the game has very low importance so far compared to more seen sports. I think we can bring some of that into the game, and I'd love to tackle more of that in the next year."
Holz’s abilty to function at his peak performance, regardless of the level of pressure, has always been amazing, but so have all the other aspects of his professionalism, if we look closely. The Primed Mind app has more than 200 courses and recordings designed around niches such as business, public speaking, and even athletics. Elliot Row has put together some amazing content according to the reviews. Now, Holz and Roe are consulting with esports stars to develop course specifically designed for that niche.
In August 2017, Envy Gaming, Inc sold a minority share of the company for an amazing $35 million to Hersh Family Investments and its Interactive group. This goes to show how far they have come since their days as just a pair of guys playing Call of Duty.
The company then relocated to Dallas from Charlotte, North Carolina where they bought a slot in the Overwatch League and launched Dallas Fuel to compete in it.
Esports and Poker: How Similar?
Forbes Magazine did a thorough investigation into the new esports phenomenon back in 2016. One shocking conclusion mentioned was that it is expected that the esports industry will be worth $1.1 billion by 2019. Online gambling on the other hand is worth more than $40 billion, but it wasn’t clear exactly how much of this is attributed to poker.
Another interesting statistic is that there are 600 million smartphone users in China, and 40% of these have indicated that they have attended, in person, an esports event. For sure, the industry still has quite a way to go before it is comparable money wise to what poker has backing it, but it will get there it seems.
“Esports is similar to poker in that it has developed a culture that seems to accept the fact that spectators will place bets based on the outcomes of matches and possibly engage in fantasy sports-style play surrounding events. The industry has even started to see the development of competitors placing wagers on themselves prior to entering battle with controllers in hand.”
“While poker may still be supreme, esports is quickly catching up and displaying many positive signs that in some ways mimic poker's successful attributes. It is only a matter of time until the esports industry hits a total value of over $1 billion.”
The poker boom came at a time when many in developed countries did not have access to the internet, let alone in other countries. The world is a much better connected place in 2018. Smartphones and tablets have taken things even further as well, when you consider that free wifi is absolutely everywhere now.
None of this is to say that poker is at risk because of esports. Quite the opposite in fact. Both industries can feed off of each other to secure both of their futures.