Those who attended BlizzCon 2015 were treated to an interesting sight: Daniel Negreanu and Bertrand Grospellier battling each other in Hearthstone. The Blizzard Entertainment-created card game has been catching on with poker pros in recent months. And, Negreanu and Grospellier are admittedly “addicted” to playing Hearthstone when they’re away from the felt.
“Some poker players at the table were talking about [Hearthstone] and they were talking about the complexity of it and how it’s similar to poker,” said Negreanu, who took the game up in May. “So I just downloaded it. The first time I downloaded it, I spent the next 11 hours straight playing it.”
For Grospellier, a former professional StarCraft player, the transition to Hearthstone was pretty seamless. The French poker player now streams his Hearthstone sessions via Twitch along with online poker sessions. But despite his love for this collectible card game, you won’t see Grospellier leaving the poker tables any time soon.
“I hope I could compete [for the world championship],” he told Forbes. “I’m not sure about the time commitment though.”
Negreanu agrees with this thought, adding that Hearthstone just isn’t as lucrative as poker right now – especially because of the time commitment to play in the big tournaments.
“I certainly don’t think any professional poker players will leave their income to just play hearthstone,” Negreanu explained. “But in addition to their already extensive poker play, it’s just a fun alternative thing to do. I don’t think they would look to do it as a career move, financially.”
Hearthstone is definitely a rising game, attracting over 30 million players in just a year and a half. Compare this to poker, which has been around much longer and has around 100 million players worldwide. But it appears that the main things holding people like Negreanu and Grospellier back from becoming Hearthstone pros are time commitment and finances.