Professional poker star Fedor Holz has made his entry into esports, as the 24 year-old multi-millionaire invests into Envy Gaming, Inc., the parent company of Team EnvyUs and their associated Overwatch League brand, the Dallas Fuel.
Fedor has accrued winnings totalling $26.7 million (£19.9m) over a stunning five-year poker career. That figure places him as the highest-earning German poker player of all-time, and the fifth-highest internationally, according to poker database The Hendon Mob. In a conversation with ESPN on Saturday, Fedor revealed that he had made an undisclosed financial investment into Envy in the second quarter of 2017’s fiscal calendar.
“I like to invest in things that I’m emotionally connected to, because I feel that I contribute the most but I also get the most out of it,” Fedor said. “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.”
According to the report, Fedor’s infatuation with Envy began when he met former CS:GO player Nathan “NBK” Schmitt. That friendship led to an introduction with Envy’s CEO, Mike “Hastro” Rufail, in 2016.
The poker prodigy’s fascination with the organisation was on public display at the final table of a World Series of Poker high-roller tournament, where he wore a Team EnvyUs shirt. He went on to win the entire competition, along with a cool cash prize amounting to almost $5 million.
2/8 in the #1drop with 16M chips. Much love for @TeamEnVyUs! 5M$ up top, let's go get them! pic.twitter.com/kCI5gu6qxA
— Fedor Holz (@CrownUpGuy) July 11, 2016
The undisclosed buy-in from Fedor Holz follows a “multi eight-figure investment” Envy received from Hersh Interactive Group in return for a sizeable minority stake in its company in August this year. That deal was estimated to involve a figure of around $35,000,000 (£25.9m), which made it comfortably one of the largest investments in an esports team to date.
This latest investment ensures that EnvyUs end the year on a positive note, after being denied a franchise slot in Riot Games’ revamped North American LCS system. The organisation had originally purchased a spot for nearly $1.4 million (£1m) in 2016, although its forced exit a year later entitled Envy to $2.57 million (£1.92) in compensation. Riot has, thus far, not disclosed the specific reasoning behind its decision.
Esports Insider says: Exciting to see a professional from yet another competitive scene invest in esports. It looks like it might be a shrewd investment from the young German, as the organisation looks towards a promising 2018 on the back of the Overwatch League.