August is set to be an action-packed month in the gaming industry with a host of major shows taking place.However, while conferences such as the XLIVE eSports Summit will draw in the crowds, one of the competitive gaming world’s most hotly anticipated dates will be another major attraction. The Dota 2 International is one of the biggest esports tournaments in the world and has become a global phenomenon in the years since it was first held by the game’s developer Valve Corporation in Cologne, Germany back in 2011 for a prize pool of around $1.6 million (£1.2m).Since then, however, the competition has not only found a natural home in Seattle, where every tournament has been held since 2012, but also grown to be the most lucrative competition held anywhere across the globe. The Dota 2 International 2016 was held at the 17,000-capacity KeyArena and boasted a prize pool of more than $20 million – the largest in esports history – with Chinese team Wings Gaming securing $9,139,002 for winning the best-of-five final against the US-based side Digital Chaos.The biggest ever?With the largest prize pool of any esports event at stake, thousands of fans flock to attend. Many major bookmakers like Bet Way have been turning their attention to esports betting, offering enthusiasts the chance to bet on who will win. The Dota 2 International 2017 is sure to be the biggest of the events so far.Being held from August 7th to 12th, the competition will once again take place at the Key Arena in Seattle with a prize pool which, as of July 27th, stands at more than $22.5 million (£17.2m). The pool tends to be started by a contribution from Valve – this year $1.6 million, with 25% of proceeds from the sale of the International Battle Pass then being added to the pot. By purchasing the pass, fans of the game get access to a host of special features such as a Battle Point Tribute, Team Quests, Prestige Towers and a trivia game.The International itself is the culmination of a larger tournament and comes after a series of single elimination Open Qualifiers, Main Qualifiers, a Wild Card Series and a Group Stage. 18 teams have made it through to the main event and the excitement around the competition is building fast.Ones to watchWith the Dota 2 International 2017 now only a few days away, it is unsurprising that much attention is now turning to which sides are the most likely to enjoy a strong competition. Many eyes will be on Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses this year since the break-up of Wings Gaming and the failure of the finalists from Digital Chaos, who jumped to Planet Odd afterwards, to qualify – but there are plenty of other teams who may well have what it takes to challenge for victory this time around.Evil Geniuses finished third last year but took home more than $6 million when they won the International 2015. Their recent form has also been good, with the US-based side winning the Manila Masters and also reaching the final of the recent Epicenter 2017 tournament held in Moscow. They were beaten by Team Liquid on that occasion and it is fair to say that the European side will also be looking for a strong showing at the International after finishing 7th last year. It’s still an open field however, as so many players have changed teams since the last competition.Despite winning four out of the five Valve Majors, one team which has not enjoyed the best form since their last Major victory, however, has been OG. The side usually has a good pedigree in Dota 2 tournaments but was eliminated at the group stage of the Epicenter tournament, so the jury will be out as to whether they can come up with the goods on the big stage in August.A global gaming eventRegardless of which team ultimately wins outright at the International, it is going to be the biggest esports event ever held. With its ever-increasing prize pot, thousands of fans looking to attend in person and millions more set to watch online via streaming services such as Twitch, it is a true phenomenon of the 21st century.The competition is only a matter of days away and we simply cannot wait for it to get started.