How To Win More From PKO Tournaments

Learn how to be more successful in online PKO tournaments

Bounty and Progressive Knockout (PKO) tournaments are some of the most popular events you can play online. They add a fresh dynamic to online poker tournaments, keeping them fresh and appealing to professional and recreational players alike.

Rules for bounty and PKO tournaments are the exact same as a standard poker tournament. Hand rankings remain the same, but a change of strategy is required to be successful in this format. We’ll show you some cool bounty and PKO concepts in this article, arming you with the tools for success.

What is PKO Tournament?

There are three main types of bounty tournament. You have your standard bounty tournament where everyone has a set bounty on their heads. For example, a $100 bounty tournament sees $80 of your buy-in do to the main prize pool, which is paid out in a traditional manner. The remaining $20 goes onto your head and that of your opponents.

You win this money when you eliminate a player. Live bounty tournaments tend to adopt this format because it’s easier to keep track of who’s won what.

Another, much rarer type, is where the tournament doesn’t have a main prize pool. The full buy-in goes onto each player’s head. Busting opponents is the only way to win money from this format.

PKO tournaments are prevalent online and are the best bounty tournaments by far. A $100 PKO tournament sees $50 go into the main prize pool and $50 on your head. Your opponents are doing the same, obviously.

If you bust someone with a $50 bounty on their head, you instantly bank $25 of it. The remaining $25 is added to the bounty on your head, making you a more attractive target! This continues until a champion is crowned, which leads to some massive bounty payments late on. Oh, you also win your own bounty if you take down a PKO event.

Think of PKO Bounties in Terms of Chips

Start thinking of bounties in terms of chips instead of money if you want to become a solid PKO player. This is one key area where so many bounty tournament players go wrong. Thinking in terms of chips helps make crucial all-in confrontations easier to calculate.

Each starting bounty in a PKO tournament is worth 50% if the starting stack. Starting bounties are, therefore, worth 5,000 chips in a tournament with a 10,000 starting stack.

Try Not To Register For PKO MTTs Late

Tournament players love to turn up late to the party, often missing several of the early levels. They do this for many reasons, including the fact blinds and antes are small at this stage.

Things are different in a PKO tournament because half the prize pool is on the heads of players. Buying in after 45-minutes could see almost half the field eliminated. That means half the available prize money is gone for good.

You think you’re paying, for example, $100 for a $50,000 prize pool. It’s more like $100 for a $25,000 tournament, which isn’t as appealing.

Don’t Go Out Of Your Way To Bag Bounties In the Early Stages

Accumulating bounties is great because each one boosts your bankroll. It’s tempting to go hell for leather and try to suck up as many bounties as possible. Players often make the mistake of calling all-in bets far too lightly just to scoop the bounty. You can call lighter, but the size of the bounties in the early stages means they shouldn’t be your priority.

Bounties Influence Your Shove Calling Ranges

Remember how we said you should think of PKO bounties in terms of chips? Here’s why.

Imagine you’re in a PKO where every started with 5,000 chips. Blinds are 250/500/50a and the small blind moves all-in for 5,000 chips. You’re in the big blind and cover this all-in player. How loose do you call?

First, the pot here is actually 10,950 chips because there’s 5,000 from the small blind and his bounty is worth that too. Throw into the mix your 500 big blind and nine 50-antes to get to the 10,950 total. You need to call 4,700 to potentially win 15,150 (the pot plus your call). This leads to 31% equity needed.

There are 5,000 fewer chips if there’s no bounty in play, meaning you’d need 44.1% equity to call. This difference is massive.

You’ll notice, using this system, that smaller bounties are insignificant later in PKO tournaments. Someone with the starting bounty in our example tournament when the blinds are 25,000/50,000/5,000a, has a bounty worth a single ante. This makes the bounty completely insignificant when calculating your calling ranges as it makes less than 0.5% difference in equity.

Try some PKO tournaments at these online poker sites this weekend and see if you can give your bankroll a boost.

Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.

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