Paid to play: gamer goes pro and wins over $250,000 - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Paid to play: gamer goes pro and wins over $250,000

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Justin Deese playing "Halo." Justin Deese playing "Halo."
A screen capture from the video game "Halo." A screen capture from the video game "Halo."

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Justin Deese gets paid to play video games.

Yes. Let that sink in for a moment. Real, honest-to-God hard currency.

It's a fact that even Justin's father, Jim Deese, has had to come to grips with as well.

"Who would ever think people would get paid to play video games," said Jim. "But it has been very, very fun and exciting to watch him grow up, mature-wise."

So as you sit at your 9-to-5 desk job and wonder where it all went wrong, let's tell you Justin's story and maybe you'll feel a little better.

He began playing Microsoft's "Halo", the hit first person shooter and alien massacre extravaganza, when he was 14-years-old. Over time, he got good at the game. Really good.

"It's definitely a weird experience," said Justin. "It's weird to want to get better at a video game and be the best at it. I eventually got to the point where I was really good, but can I be the best?"

Over the past few years, Justin has been to around 40 different tournaments. He won his biggest purse, $75,000 and a second place finish at the World Halo Championships, just a few weeks ago.

In all, the 20-year-old student has made around $250,000 playing the video game competitively.

Read more at WIS' website.

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