|All-in Shootouts||Bounty Tournaments|
|Bubble Rush||Color Scheme|
|Knockouts||6-Max and 4-Max|
|Multi-Stack Tournaments||Multi-Table Tournaments|
|Phased Tournaments||Progressive Knockouts|
|Rebuy Tournaments||Re-entry Tournaments|
|Sit & Go||Spin & Go|
|Spin & Go Max||Splash|
|Win the Button||Zoom|
- Pokerstars Knockout Vs Shootout
- Pokerstars Knockout Animation
- Pokerstars Knockout
- Knockout Poker League
- Pokerstars Knockout Series
- Knockout Poker Usa
We are the world’s biggest online poker room and home of the biggest tournaments, with the biggest fields and the biggest prize pools. We run the most tournaments, in the most poker variants, in the most tournament types. You’ll find links above to explanations of all of our different tournament options, from Sit & Go’s to Multi-Table Tournaments, to Satellites.
How Knockout Poker works. Knockout Poker tournaments are special MTT and Sit & Go tournaments where the prize money is split, with a part going to the overall prize pool, and the other part distributed among players for each opponent they knock out. Unlike traditional MTTs and Sit & Go’s, you don’t need to finish in the money to earn a cash. For example, in a $100+20 buy-in Knockout tournament with $20 bounties, you win $20 for each player you eliminate from the tournament, in addition to the normal payout structure. Another format of this tournament is known as a Progressive Knockout Tournament, where the price on your elimination increases with every player you bust.
Click here to find Tournaments available to play right now.
How Poker Tournaments work
All players start a standard poker tournament with the same amount of chips. As play goes on, the compulsory blinds and antes increase at regular intervals, and when a player loses all of their chips, they are out of the tournament. The last player standing is declared the winner, and is rewarded with the biggest portion of the prize pool.
How to play in one of our tournaments
You can find tournaments listed under the Tourney tab (desktop), or under the Tournament tab accessed via the Lobby (mobile). Other types of tournaments can be found under the relevant tabs, such as Sit & Go or Spin & Go. Selecting any tournament allows you to find out everything you need to know, from the game being played to the buy-in, structure, and also whether registration is open. Click ‘Register’ to play the tournament.
In all of our tournaments, each player is assigned a random seat and table. In games with a rotating dealer, the dealer button will start on seat 1. Players are only given a certain amount of time to act - if you take too long, a reminder will appear and you may also be given the option to activate the ‘Time Bank’ to get some extra time to think.
Clicking on the ‘Info’ tab in the table window allows you to find out up-to-date information about the tournament - such as your current position and the average chip stack. More detailed information about the tournament can be seen in the Tournament Lobby.
Poker Tournament Money (T-Money)
With rare exceptions, if you win a seat to an event via one of our satellite tournaments, you can choose to unregister and receive T-Money instead. T-Money can then be used to register for other tournaments. Please note that T-Money is not the same as real money, because you can’t use it in cash games or withdraw it. You can check your T-Money balances at any time by clicking the ‘Cashier’.
On some occasions, we may need to unregister you from a tournament on your behalf. If you find that you need us to do this, contact our support team using the ‘Help > Contact Support’ option in the desktop lobby, or access the More menu and find support through the mobile app, and we will be happy to assist you. Don’t forget to provide the ID number of the tournament that you want to unregister from.
In an All-in Shootout, every player is automatically put all-in on every hand until there is a winner. Once registered, players do not need to be logged in to take part, as there are no gameplay decisions to be made once the tournament begins.
All-in Shootouts are notably different from all other poker tournaments, as no gameplay takes place – tickets are often distributed as part of promotions, with every participant in an All-in Shootout having identical odds of winning the advertised prizes.
In bounty tournaments, a special cash prize is awarded to the person who eliminates a particular player. For example, if there is a bounty on the head of ‘KidPoker’, whoever eliminates him wins an extra prize, ranging from a couple of bucks to hundreds of dollars, depending on the tournament!
We offer three types of bounty tournament:
- Fixed: There is a bounty on the head of one or more ‘marked’ players. These players are designated in the tournament lobby with a ‘target’ symbol’. Hover over that target symbol with your mouse to see the amount of the bounty. Eliminate the marked player to win the bounty!
- Team Pro: There is a bounty on the head of every member of Team Pro who enters the tournament. Eliminate any pro (marked with a red spade symbol at the table and in the tournament lobby) to claim their bounty!
- Knockout: There is a bounty on the head of every player in the tournament. For more information on Knockouts, see below.
You can quickly find bounty tournaments in the desktop lobby by looking for the appropriate symbol. Those with a black ‘crosshair’ symbol are knockout tournaments, those with a black ‘target’ are fixed bounty tournaments, and those with a red ‘target’ are Team Pro bounty tournaments.
Bubble Rush tournaments are designed to reach the money quickly. Usually in the money in about an hour, Bubble Rush tournaments slow down to deep-stacked play when the prizes are biggest!
The following key describes the colors used to identify different types of tournament on our platform.
- Live Events - Tournaments in purple are generally satellites to a major live poker event, such as the European Poker Tour (EPT).
- Satellites to Online Tourneys - This dark blue color is used to identify satellites to online tournaments, such as the Sunday Million.
- Championship (*COOP) Events / Satellites - Some major online events, like the World Championship Of Online Poker (WCOOP) and SCOOP, and their satellites, are identified in bright orange.
- PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Events / Satellites –Online events for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) are identified in cyan.
- Women's Events – Events open only to female players are identified in magenta.
- Freerolls andPlay Money - If you're looking for an opportunity to play for free while still having a chance to win something, then look for these brown colors in the client.
- Special Tournaments - Bright, bold red is used to identify special events throughout the week, such as the The Daily Bigs.
The color scheme listed above is for information only and subject to change. Some special tournaments may be identified using other colors specific to that event.
‘Fifty50’ is a type of one-table Sit & Go tournament. In a Fifty50 Sit & Go, the event ends when half of the entrants have been eliminated. For example, in a 10-player Fifty50 tournament, 5 will be paid. Half of the prize pool will be distributed equally among the 5 winners, and the other half of the prize pool will be distributed among those same 5 players based on the chip count percentages at the end of the event. The 6th-10th place finishers win nothing. So, in a 10-player $10+$1 Fifty50, the prize pool is $100. Each of the final 5 finishers would receive $10 each, plus a percentage of the remaining $50 in the prize pool. You can find Fifty50 tournaments on desktop under the ‘Sit & Go’ tab. Select ‘Fifty50’ from the Variant filter. On mobile, search for ‘Fifty50’ in the ‘Sit & Go’ tab accessed via the Lobby.
|Example||Chips||Chip %||Chip Prize||+Buy-in||Total Prize|
To calculate the value of Player 1’s chips, multiply half the prize pool ($1500) by Player 1’s portion of the total chips in play (4300/15000), a total of $430. Adding the returned buy-in awarded to each player who cashes results in Player 1’s total prize amount of $730 ($430+$300). As a formula, an individual’s payout would be expresses as:
The Fifty50 tournament lobby displays the approximate amount per 100 chips to be paid out when the tournament ends. The value displayed in the Fifty50 tournament lobby is rounded down to the nearest cent, but payouts are calculated so that the entire prize pool is paid out. Note that the final payouts may experience small rounding differences in order to ensure that the total payouts equal the prize pool.
In many of our cash tournaments, the prize pool is guaranteed to reach a specific amount. Regular guarantees range from $500 to $1,000,000! To see the full range of these tournaments, visit the ‘Tourney’ lobby and enter the word ‘guarantee’ in the tournament filter.
Another form of a shootout tournament is a Heads-Up tournament, also called a 1-on-1 tournament. This is a tournament where players are matched in pairs, and play a ‘bracket’ tournament until there is only one player left. Just as in other shootout tournaments late registration is not allowed in Heads-Up tournaments. For most heads-up multi-table tournaments, the time limit for unregistration is five minutes (as opposed to two minutes in most other tournaments). Please check the Tournament Info window for details regarding unregistration from any one specific tournament.
There may not always be a number divisible by the power of two (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64) registered for a particular Heads-Up tournament, which is necessary to fill a heads-up bracket. When this happens, not all players will be able to play the first round – they will receive ‘byes’.
For example, if 10 players enter a Heads-Up tournament, there would be more than 8 but fewer than 16 players. In order to play the tournament out properly, the tournament will first need to be brought down to 8 players. In order to get the number down from 10 to 8 players, 4 players will play (thus eliminating two) and 6 players will get a ‘bye’ and are automatically in the quarter-finals.
We offer Heads-Up tournaments with byes and without byes. This is clearly marked if you click the ‘Tournament Info’ button in the tournament lobby. If a tournament does not allow ‘byes’, the last players to register may have their buy-ins returned in order to get the event to a starting total of players which is a power of two (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 etc). In the above example (with 10 players entered) the last two players to register would not get to play, as 8 is the nearest power of two which is less than 10.
Many Heads-Up tournaments have a ‘Show Bracket’ button in the lobby where you can see a visual representation of how the matches will play out.
A hyper-turbo event is one in which the blind levels increase extremely quickly – even faster than in a turbo tournament. The length of each round (before the blinds/antes increase) in a hyper-turbo tournament is usually 3 minutes.
Hyper-Turbo satellites are a great way to quickly win your seat in an event just a few minutes before it begins!
In Knockout tournaments, a cash bounty is placed on every entrant in the tournament. Every time you eliminate somebody, you win a cash prize! The winner of a knockout tournament wins their own bounty.
In a knockout tournament, every player pays an extra buy-in, which serves as that player’s bounty. For example, a knockout tournament might have a total buy-in of $20+$5+$2, of which $20 goes into the regular prize pool, $5 is each player’s bounty, and $2 is the tournament fee.
You can find knockout tournaments in the lobby, marked with a black ‘crosshair’ symbol – or type ‘knockout’ into the tournament filter to quickly find what you’re looking for!
6-Max and 4-Max
Pokerstars Knockout Vs Shootout
‘6-Max’ in the tournament's title indicates that at each table there will be 6 seats, instead of the usual 7 to 10 (depending on the game). We also offer '4-Max' events with 4 seats at each table.
Some poker variations are always played with 6 or fewer seats at the table. Examples are 8-Game Mix and Deuce to Seven (2-7) Triple Draw.
Please note that in 4-Max tournaments, the final table will form when 5 players remain. This is done to remove the inequity of having one table play 3-handed and the other one heads-up.
An interesting, fun variant of rebuy tournaments, in Multi-Stack tournaments each player’s starting chips are divided into equal-sized smaller stacks. Each player then decides how many of the available stacks they want to start with, and how many to keep in reserve for later. A player can reload (add available remaining stacks) later. The total number of available stacks for each player is posted in the tournament lobby and is the same for all players in that event. There is no additional cost for adding an available stack.
For example, a participant in a Multi-Stack tournament may have five stacks of 1,000 chips available, for a total of 5,000 chips. At the start of the tournament, that player may choose to play with the minimum of one stack (1,000 chips), or can choose to add any or all of their four remaining stacks at that time. During the tournament, a player can choose to add remaining stacks at any time by clicking the ‘Add Stacks’ button on the table, or ‘Add Chips’ in the dealer tray or ‘Options’ menu. These buttons will only be visible if stacks are still available. Note: Stacks will be added at the end of the current hand; they will not be in play during the current hand.
If a player loses all of their chips in play, they will be offered the option to add any remaining stacks, and will be required to add at least one stack. If only one stack remains, it will be automatically added. Once a player loses all of the chips available in all of their available stacks, they are eliminated from the tournament.
A limited amount of time will be available for players to add available stacks, as specified in the tournament lobby. Any stacks which have not been added by the end of that time will automatically be added to each player’s chip total.
You can see how many stacks a player has available by scrolling over their name in the lobby player list, or by scrolling over the ‘stack’ symbol by their seat at the table. If no symbol appears by a player’s seat, they have used all of their available stacks.
In a multi-table tournament (MTT), players start with an equal, fixed number of chips. Players at numerous tables compete for one another's chips as the blinds and/or antes increase incrementally. When you run out of chips, you are eliminated from the tournament. As players are eliminated, tables are ‘broken’, meaning players are moved to keep tables full, or evenly ‘balanced’. Eventually, the last few surviving players with chips are brought together at the final table, where the winner is the individual who wins all the chips from his or her opponents. Cash prizes are awarded to top finishers on the basis of number of tournament entries.
Pokerstars Knockout Animation
A Phased tournament is one in which some number of levels at the beginning of the tournament are played non-concurrently from the end of the tournament, for different groups of players. Players can chose from different starting phases that begin at different times. Each starting phase will play the same amount of time, and then all remaining players will later combine in a single, larger tournament. Phased tournaments allow the schedule flexibility normally associated with smaller-field tournaments, while still enjoying the large prize pools associated with larger-field tournaments. Chip counts at the end of Phase 1 will be carried over into the next round.
For example, a tournament might have Phase 1 on Friday at 12:00, another Phase 1 on Saturday at 12:00, and then conclude with a Phase 2 tournament on Sunday at 12:00. Entrants would play for a specified number of levels (or until elimination) on Friday and/or Saturday, and all players that survive would combine to finish the tournament at 12:00 on Sunday.
When you enter a Phased tournament you must ensure that you will be available to play in the future phases, as you cannot unregister from Phase 2 (or beyond) in Phased tournaments.
Phased tournaments allow for multiple entries into the first phases. For example, if you play Phase 1 and are eliminated, you may enter another Phase 1 and start again at the beginning. You cannot qualify for the next round more than once, so if you survive Phase 1, you will then be unable to enter another Phase 1 leading to the same Phase 2. Note that if you survive Phase 1 with even one chip, you will still advance to Phase 2, and will not be able to play another Phase 1.
Most of the high-profile tournaments seen on TV are essentially phased tournaments, with the entry phases usually referred to as Day 1A, Day 1B, Day 1C, etc.
Progressive Knockout tournaments are an exciting variant of KO Poker. Like a standard KO tournament, you win cash every time you knock out an opponent, but there’s a twist: you win part of the eliminated player’s bounty immediately, but some of it is added to YOUR bounty (usually 50%). As you eliminate more players, your own bounty becomes bigger and bigger, making you a preferred target for other bounty hunters.
Most Progressive Knockout tournaments put half of your buy-in into the prize pool, with the other half as your own starting bounty. There are exceptions to this, most notably in the ‘Saturday Special’ editions of the Bounty Builders tournaments, where 25% of your buy-in goes into the prize pool and 75% is your starting bounty.
Most Progressive KOs work like this:
- 50% of the buy-in goes to the prize pool
- 50% of the buy-in funds each player’s initial bounty
- 50% of the bounty is progressive, meaning that when you knock a player out, you pocket half of their bounty value, with the other half added to your own bounty value.
A rebuy tournament is one in which you have the opportunity to buy more chips during the event. In a standard ‘freezeout’ tournament, when you run out of chips, you're out of the tournament. In a rebuy tournament, you can (with some restrictions) buy more chips.
Here are some facts about rebuy tournaments:
- There is a ‘rebuy period’ at the beginning of the tournament. A typical rebuy period might be the first hour of the event (until the first break starts). Once that period is over, no more rebuys are permitted.
- During the rebuy period, there may be a fixed number of rebuys available, or an unlimited number.
- If you run completely out of chips, you will automatically be offered a rebuy (if one is available). At any time when you have chips, you can click on the dealer tray and select the ‘Add More Chips’ option to rebuy. If you're not eligible for a rebuy (because you've reached the maximum number of rebuys, or because there is a maximum number of chips where rebuys are allowed), you'll get a message to that effect.
In general, you may rebuy using the ‘Add More Chips’ button in the dealer tray any time your stack is less than or equal to the starting chip stack. This means you can rebuy once before the tournament even starts!
The rebuy may cost any amount, but generally costs the same as the original buy-in, and gets you the same number of chips that you got for your original buy-in.
- There may also be an ‘add-on’ available at the end of the rebuy period. Typically this will be during the first break. An add-on is just one extra rebuy. The add-on will not be automatically offered to you. To take the add-on, wait for the message that ‘Players are now on break’. Click on the dealer tray and select the ‘Add More Chips’ option. In general, the add-on is available no matter how many chips you have.
The add-on may cost any amount, but generally costs the same as the original buy-in, and gets you the same, or higher number of chips that you got for your original buy-in. The prize pool and payoffs will not be announced until the rebuy period ends, since the prize pool increases with each rebuy.
Note that many of the rules described above are ‘typical’ or ‘normal.’ We will make every effort to clearly state any deviations from typical rules, but the exact details for each tournament will always be posted in the tournament's lobby or under the ‘Tournament Info’ tab in that lobby.
A re-entry tournament is one in which you have the opportunity to enter an event again after you have already been eliminated from that event. In re-entry tournaments, when you lose all your chips you will be offered the ability to re-enter immediately. If you choose not to re-enter at that time, you can still register normally from the tournament lobby any time during the late registration period. Multiple entries at the same time are not allowed.
Re-entry tournaments are similar to rebuy tournaments, but are different in a few ways:
- When you lose all your chips in a re-entry tournament, you are eliminated from the event and receive a place in the finishing order.
- In a rebuy tournament, when you rebuy you keep your seat. In a re-entry tournament, you will receive a new seat, and will be seated like any other new player, usually ending up at a different table.
- Tournaments sometimes allow players the opportunity to re-enter more than once. To find out how many re-entries are available in a tournament, navigate to the ‘Home’ tab in the tournament lobby.
Re-entries will show in the tournament standings with the number of that entry next to the ID of the player. For example, if KidPoker enters an event three times, his entries would show in the finishing list as KidPoker, KidPoker , KidPoker .
Note that a re-entry tournament may limit the number of times you can re-enter. This number will be noted in the tournament lobby. Once you have used up the allowed number of re-entries, you will not be allowed to play again in that event.
A satellite is a tournament in which the prize is an entry into a larger tournament. It can be less expensive to enter a satellite than it would be to enter the main tournament directly. We run one-table and multi-table Sit & Go satellites, which you can find under the ‘Sit & Go’ tab. Multi-table satellites also are scheduled as regular tournaments, and the sign-up details and play are identical to other multi-table tournaments, with one important difference – the tournament will only play down to the number required to award all of the equal-value seats. You can find these MTT events under the ‘Tourney’ tab (mobile) or by selecting ‘Satellite’ from the ‘Type’ filter in the ‘Tournaments’ desktop lobby. An example of how a satellite works:
The buy-in for the larger tournament is $200. The buy-in for the satellite is $20. If there are 10 entrants (into the satellite), first place will get a $200 entry to the larger tournament. If there are 20 entrants, then 1st and 2nd places will both receive a $200 entry to the larger tournament. If there is any leftover prize money, it will be distributed to the runners up as per the satellite’s payout structure, which is available through the tournament lobby.
If there is a fee to enter either a tournament or satellite, it will be denoted by stating the buy-in amount and the entry fee. A cost of ‘$30+$3’ indicates that the buy-in is $30, and the entry fee is $3. The $30 goes to the prize pool which the players compete for, while the $3 entry fee is taken as compensation for hosting the tournament. In most tournaments which are named, the buy-in and fee is combined for the sake of brevity in the title. For example, the above mentioned tournament, if it is a satellite to the Sunday Million (for example), would likely be named ‘Sunday Million: $33 satellite’. Detailed information on the breakdown of buy-in plus entry fee is shown in the tournament lobby.
A shootout is a special kind of multi-table tournament. Normally, when you play in a multi-table tournament, players are moved from table to table to balance the number of players at each table. Eventually, the last remaining players end up at the ‘final table.’ In a shootout, no such table balancing is done. You remain at your original table until only one player is left standing. If you win that table, you advance to another table and repeat the process against players who each won their first table.
In a DOUBLE SHOOTOUT, you need to win two tables to win the event, although often there is some money for everybody who reaches the final table. Each starting table is played to its conclusion; the final table is formed of the winners of the first round matches. For example, a full Stud Double Shootout might start with 8 full tables, a total of 64 players, in Round 1. Each of those 8 tables would play down to one winner, and the 8 winners would then be brought to a second table for Round 2, where they would play until there is one winner.
In a TRIPLE SHOOTOUT, you must win three tables to win the entire event (again, there may well be some prize money distributed along the way). For example, assuming a standard (9 players per table) triple shootout is full, in Round 1 the 729 players will be placed, 9 per table, at 81 tables within the tournament. Each table will play until there is one player remaining with all of the chips from that table. The 81 remaining players will then be moved to 9 tables for Round 2. As in Round 1, each table will play until one player has all of the chips from their table. Finally, the 9 remaining players will advance to the final table for Round 3, where the winner of the tournament shall be determined.
Note that this whole process could be extended to quadruple shootouts and on up. Also, the tables don't necessarily have to start at nine players each. For instance, in the past we have offered triple shootouts with four-player tables (a total of 64 players in each event). Also note that if a shootout is not filled to capacity when it begins, some of the tables in Round 1 could have more players than others. Late registration is not available in shootout tournaments.
Sit & Go
A Sit & Go (S&G or SNG) is a tournament which does not have a pre-assigned start time; it simply begins when all the seats are filled. There are many types of Sit & Go, ranging in size from heads-up to 990 players, in both satellite and cash tournament form. These tournaments can be found by clicking on the ‘Sit & Go’ tab in the main client lobby window.
Spin & Go
A Spin & Go tournament is a type of Hyper-Turbo Sit & Go that gives players a chance to play for a prize pool that is much bigger than a tournament buy-in would indicate. Each tournament has only three players, and before a Spin & Go begins, there is a random draw to determine what the prize pool will be. Spin & Go’s are available in a range of different buy-ins. You will find these tournaments under the ‘Spin & Go’ tab in the lobby (desktop) or the ‘Spin & Go’ tab accessed via the Lobby (mobile). Learn more about Spin & Go tournaments.
Spin & Go Max
This variation on Spin & Go tournaments (see above) adds more players, more variety and more ways to maximise your winnings. As with traditional Spin & Go’s, these tournaments have a hyper-turbo structure and a randomised prize pool, but introduce a couple of other exciting variables. Spin & Go Max tournaments use a randomiser to set the number of players in the tournament, as well as (in most cases) a choice of three first-place prizes; the eventual winner chooses their prize blindly from the three available. Tournaments with more players and higher prize pools will pay more places, and if you’re playing for the top prize (up to 10,000 times the buy-in) you won’t need to pick it from the three available - the winner will receive it in full automatically. Finally, after a set number of hands the tournament will enter ‘All-in Mode’, where every player is automatically put all-in until there’s a winner. Learn more about Spin & Go Max tournaments.
A Splash tournament is a special kind of turbo rebuy tournament (usually a satellite) in which the levels increase at turbo speed, but the rebuy time is 90 minutes in length. The available chips – including the starting stack, rebuy, and add-on – are tailored to each event. Be sure to check under the ‘Tournament Info’ button for detailed structure info.
A Time Tourney is a special kind of tournament which has a pre-set duration. The time for the event is indicated in the tournament name and in the tournament lobby. At the end of the set amount of playing time, the event will stop and all remaining players will receive a distribution of the prize pool based on their ending chip count. Time Tourneys are indicated by a ‘clock’ symbol in the tournament lobby.
Time Tourneys are offered throughout the day in durations of 15, 25 and 45 minutes of playing time.
A turbo event is one in which the blind levels increase much faster than in standard play. The length of each round (before the blinds/antes increase) in a turbo tournament is usually 5 minutes (as opposed to the standard 10 or 15), though there are some turbo events with 6-minute rounds.
Turbo rebuy events usually go on break at 30 minutes, as opposed to 60 minutes in a standard rebuy event.
Win the Button
Win the Button is a tournament format that awards the winner of each pot with the dealer button. Some Win the Button tournaments switch to normal button movement in the later stages of the tournament. Be sure to check the tournament lobby for more information.
In a Zoom tournament, you can fold your hand and immediately move to a new table with new opponents (selected randomly from the entire pool of players who have entered the tournament). You can even use the ‘Fast Fold’ button to fold before it’s your turn to act. This makes it a fast poker format, as you don’t have to wait around for each hand to play out before playing the next one. See the Zoom page for more on how it works.
Note that in Zoom tournaments, when the player pool gets small, with only the last few tables remaining, the tournament reverts back to a normal freezeout format.
Find out more information on playing in PokerStars tournaments.
All players making their first deposit qualify for the PokerStars 100% deposit bonus of up to $600.
PokerStars has tournaments with giant prize pools running every day. Take your shot at the Daily Bigs!
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The growth of no-limit holdem tournaments over the last decade spawned a variety of new formats as organizers and players searched for new ways to keep the game fresh. While many have not caught on, knockout tournaments have been successful in being elevated from gimmick status as a format that players routinely enjoy.
In every bounty tournament, the prize pool is subdivided into two sections. There’s the normal prizepool you have in a freeze-out and a knockout one, which is simply the sum of all bounties in the tournament. Though this simple format shift can causes many intricacies in play, they fundamentally boil down to figuring out how much a bounty is worth.
Figure Out How Much A Bounty Is Worth In Chips
The best way to navigate these tournaments is to convert the value of winning a bounty into tournament chips. This allows you to calculate the actual worth of all-in calls along a single axis instead of trying to weigh whether winning cold, hard cash is worth risking tournament chips on a loose call.
In order to figure this out, you only need to know three things – how much of the entry fee goes to the normal prize pool, how much the bounty pays, and what the starting stack is. A knockout is equivalent to the bounty in dollars divided by the amount that goes to the regular prize pool multiplied by the starting stack.
For instance, in a knockout tournament featuring a $1,000 buy-in + $1,000 bounty, where starting stack is 5,000 in chips, eliminating a player is roughly equal to adding 5,000 to your stack. 2017 nit tournament bracket. However, if the same tournament were a $1,000 + $500, this number falls to 2,500. In actuality, the number is a bit bigger because vig is paid on entering the tournament as well.
When I was primarily a mixed game player learning to play no-limit holdem, I often joked that I really enjoyed bounty tournaments, because despite my mediocre big-bet skills, my, “add 7,500 in chips to the pot,” skills were elite.
Apply This Number To All-In Hands and Other Pots You Play In
Now that we have calculated how much the value of a bounty is, we can use this number to augment any pot where we’re setting up or calling an all-in. In an example where the bounty is worth 5,000 in chips, any time we have the chance to win a bounty, we can simply recalculate our pot odds as if there were an extra 5,000 in the pot.
Let’s say a player jams for 11,000 at 500-1,000 ante 100. In a normal tournament, our call in the big blind would be risking 10,000 to win 13,500, meaning we need 42.6 percent against his range to make a profitable call. Returning to our bounty example, we get to sweeten the pot with an extra 5,000 in chips. Now we’re risking the same 10,000 to essentially win 18,500 and only need 35 percent equity to get it in, even though some of that is paid out in cash instead of tournament equity.
This doesn’t just apply to hands where we are imminently all-in. Anytime we tangle with another player we cover, the bounty is potentially in play and we can to make more speculative preflop calls because of it.
For instance, if a player open-raises on a 20 big blind stack, and it folds to us in the big blind, we can defend looser than we normally would if we cover her. While we shouldn’t pretend that her 5,000 chip bounty will always be available to us, a stack-to-pot ratio of five on the flop means that it would not be absurd to assume we get all-in with her 15 percent of the time. As such, it would not be unreasonable to estimate that seeing a flop has an additional 750 chip worth of implied odds.
Knockout Poker League
However, if the same player has 50 big blinds, we are significantly less likely to reap the reward of a knockout, but it is still notable and can play a nudge looser. A reasonable guess is that we are only all in against this opponent three percent of the time now. If the player has 200 big blinds, it is very unlikely for us to stack her, and I would defend a similar range as if the bounty did not exist.
Don’t Late Register
One of the implications of bounty tournaments is that money is removed from the prizepool much earlier than in a freezeout. In a normal tournament, cash only leaves as players are eliminated in the money. You wouldn’t mind being able to enter the tournament after some of the prizepool is removed in this scenario as you’d be guaranteed a cash.
However, the same is not the case for a bounty tournaments. If you register the tournament when one bounty has been eliminated, that amount is not available to you to win and you start laying odds for competing in the tournament.
The costs to a late entrant don’t just end there – the eliminated chips have to go somewhere, and they go to the remaining players in the field. As such, it makes it much harder to score the few knockouts that are left. Let’s say we had an awesome date or sweet musical festival to attend and took our seat in the tournament once half the field has been eliminated. The average remaining stacks in the tournament have twice as many chips as you do. It’s reasonable to estimate that the remaining bounties will be 33 percent harder to win.
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In this scenario we’re missing out on 50 percent of the bounties that have been paid out and an additional 16.5 percent in equity because the remaining bounties will be difficult to win. In a scenario where the bounty is equal to the buy-in such as a $1,000+$1,000 tournament, we’re essentially paying 33 percent rake just by showing up late.
While these are the fundamentals I use for every knockout tournament I enter, so far I have neglected most of the strategy that involves interacting with your opponents who are eager to snatch the bounties for themselves. These battles, which will be covered next artcile, are interesting because correct play can deviate significantly from normal strategy and sometimes even be collusive in nature. ♠
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Ben Yu discovered poker while at Stanford University where he developed his prowess for mixed games. He has lived for the WSOP ever since 2010 when he broke out with a 2nd place finish in the World Series of Poker $1500 limit holdem shootout. His poker-induced adventures have included living abroad in Rosarito, Mexico and Toronto, Canada to continue playing online and traveling the European Poker Tour circuit in search of the most delicious schnitzels and pierogies.