Who is ‘Bugha’? Kyle Giersdorf, 16-year-old Fortnite winner, is $3 million richer

Kyle Giersdorf, who goes by his gamer tag “Bugha,” won $3 million at the inaugural Fortnite World Cup this weekend.

That’s a lot of money for one afternoon’s work. Obviously, Giersdorf had logged plenty of practice hours and established himself as one of the top players in the world prior to Sunday’s finale. 

Here’s what we know about the champion.

1. He is 16 years old

That’s right, Giersdorf may not be eligible to drive in some states, but he is now a multi-millionaire. 

“I know that this could pretty much change my life forever,” he told ESPN. “It’s just absolutely unreal.”

Most of the competitors this weekend were between 13 and 24, which lines up with the game’s primary demographic. 

Kyle Bugha Giersdorf celebrates after winning the Fortnite World Cup solo final at Arthur Ashe Stadium on July 28, 2019 in New York City. (Photo: Mike Stobe, Getty Images)

2. That prize money will be spent wisely 

The tournament was held at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, where the U.S. Open will take place next month. The winners of the tennis tournament will take home a slightly bigger purse ($3.85 million). 

“I’m just going to save the money and invest it and not do anything dumb with it,” Giersdorf said on ESPN on Monday. “I want to get a new desk, that’s about it.” 

3. He was ready to win it all 

Hours before the tournament, Giersdorf was feeling confident on Twitter. 

Today’s the day

— SEN Bugha ✈️ NY (@bugha) July 28, 2019

“I think the moment I knew I won it all was when I got to one of the zones that played in my favor,” he later said on ESPN. “I pretty much just had a big smile on my face because I knew with the potential I have I can bring it home.” 

Today was indeed the day… ?

— SEN Bugha ✈️ NY (@bugha) July 28, 2019

Giersdorf said he was chilling at his hotel when his social media accounts got hacked after the victory. Luckily, he and his team got the situation under control. 

Bugha’s phone and social media accounts have been compromised. We are aware of the situation and are working to regain control.

– Sentinels Management

— SEN Bugha ✈️ NY (@bugha) July 29, 2019

4. His family was pumped to see the win

Giersdorf hails from Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, which is about an hour from Philadelphia. His family made the trip to watch history.


— Chip Skylark (@MyShinyTweets) July 28, 2019

5. Bugha is represented by Sentinels

Sentinels is an esports organization based in Los Angeles that fields competitive teams in not just Fortnite, but Apex Legends and the Overwatch League as well. 


— Sentinels (@Sentinels) July 28, 2019

They also represent certain top players, such as Giersdorf, who was the first player to qualify for World Cup Finals in North American East Region in April. 

6. He has a set routine

When Giersdorf first logs on, he said he’ll work on his hands during the first 30 minutes or so. He’ll then connect with his friends to discuss strategy before joining professional scrimmages and competing against the top players in the world. He estimates that all takes about six or seven hours a day. 

Congrats to the best solo player in the world, and it’s not even close @bughapic.twitter.com/TNZ9nbOO8h

— Ninja (@Ninja) July 28, 2019

That may seem like a lot of time, and Fortnite — along with gaming culture in general — has come under fire for being “addictive.” Giersdorf doesn’t see it that way.

“I think addiction is terrible for anyone that’s going through it. You should definitely see professional help. But I see Fortnite as a way of creating friendships and bonds.

“From here on out, this is pretty much just the beginning,” Giersdorf said. “I’m going to go to any tournament I can and keep improving.” 

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