If you aren’t familiar with PKO games yet, then where have you been!? These games are a great form of Poker.
PKO standing for Progressive Knock Out means that everyone starts with a bounty on their head, as each player collects bounties from knocking other players out, they will be rewarded with half that player’s bounty, but then the other half will be added to that player’s bounty.
So if for instance, we win a $4.50 bounty, we immediately pocket $2.25 of that money and then the other $2.25 will be added to our bounty and eventually rewarded to the player who knocks us out of the tournament. The one small twist is that if you win one of these tournaments, not only will you collect the huge bounty from your last opponent, but you will keep your own bounties. This makes for huge swings in the heads up battles at the end of these tournaments, so be sure to check out our other articles on heads up play, because it’s never been more important.
Now that we know how these games work. Let’s check out our top tips for crushing this format of Poker game…
Know the Bounty’s Worth
It’s always important to know how much a bounty is worth in these tournaments. Because we will need to alter our ranges to allow for the extra value in the pot.
Let’s say we start with a tournament that pays a bounty of 20% of your entry, so for a $20 buy-in, we will gain $4 each time we knock out a player with a single bounty. That means if we started with starting stacks of 10,000 chips, we can add in an extra 2,000 chips anytime there is a bounty on the line.
So lets say our opponent got short stacked and moved all-in for just 3,000 chips, well we would be getting a better price than normal on a call here, because we can convert our extra equity in this pot into chips by adding the extra 2,000 chips for the value of the bounty.
Meaning to call 3,000 chips we will be winning a total value of 8,000 chips. So we will only need 37.5% equity to be getting the right price here. Which means we will want to be calling with a fairly wide range, as it’s hard to not have decent equity like that.
Which Hands will We Want to Use to Gamble?
So when it comes to fishing for bounties we already know we are going to have a wide range, but the thing is we don’t want to be gambling with hands that have us dominated because if we do this too often we are going to be in poor shape with our equity and end up busting the tournament.
We will want to pick our spots well and use lucrative hands that are hard to have crushed, like suited connectors and broadways hands over hands like low offsuit ace highs and small pocket pairs.
Protect Your Stack Against Other Gamblers
As we will be hunting bounties so will other aggressive players, so be sure to not risk large stacks against good players without premium holdings.
Try flat calling all-ins of short stacks when you have players behind, we can do this in a balanced way by sometimes having huge hands that will easily call re-shoves with and we will, of course, have some folds in our range too.
Some tables will play pretty honestly and not look to go too crazy when it comes to hunting for bounties, whereas in other spots you will find yourself facing an all-in wager anytime there is a bounty on the line, try and pick your spots wisely.
Don’t be Scared of Multi-way Pots
Usually, in regular tournament Poker, more than one all-in means that the ranges are pretty airtight, however, this just isn’t the case with bounty tournaments, you can see the initial all-in player have a weak range and the isolating all-in turn up with a weaker range in most cases.
So make sure to add the extra chips in the middle in your mind and consider calling with your holding as you will be getting a huge price to win a massive pot, multiple bounties and having the added value of being able to win more bounties in the tournament if you scoop this particular pot.
All of these tips come from my personal growth within the knockout tournaments. I used to play them so tight and not really understand the concept of gambling it up for the added value.
Then once I learnt I needed to widen my ranges, I started picking poor spots to do so where my equity was small. It’s all about making your stack do the work, you are only going to want to gamble for big bounties and with high equity hands.
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