Poker is a game that has a huge following across the globe. Most people think that poker is played in small card rooms, where players gather around a table and play poker games. Or, it’s a game played from the comfort of your own home, using online poker services. But, poker has become much more serious. Poker has evolved into a spectator sport, just like any other game. There are huge tournaments held every year, in different parts of the world. There are contests like the World Series of Poker Tournaments, or the European Poker Tour or even the Knockout Poker Tournaments.  

These poker tournaments are huge events, with thousands of people filling up arenas just to watch some people play cards. Such events give the industry a boost, but they also promote the best players. All the players that participate have to up their game and come armed with their best strategy. Out of all the exciting tournaments on offer, we’ll be taking a look at the Knockout tournaments, and the strategic thinking it requires. So read on, and find out.

What is Knockout poker?

Knockout tournaments or ‘bounty’ tournaments are new on the poker scene, but they’re getting pretty popular in the world of online poker. But what are they?

Essentially, they are like every other tournament and require a buy-in, which is like an entry fee. This fee has to be paid if any player wants to participate in the game. But, what sets them apart from other games is how this buy-in is divvied up. Similar to other games, parts of the buy-in are allocated to the prize pool and the rake. However, a portion of it is also put aside as ‘bounty’.

A ‘bounty’ is the amount that is set on your head. In essence, it is the amount that will be rewarded to any player who defeats and removes you from the game. So, just the satisfaction of winning is not enough, and you’re even given an extra prize.

For example, out of the $ 25 buy-in, $20 is used for the prize pool and rake, whereas the remaining $5 is the bounty. Anyone who takes you out wins the $5, and you win the same if you defeat someone else. If you win the entire game, you get all the bounty that has been collected by the runner up.

This change-up in how the cash is distributed, and the prizes at stake, requires some adjustment in strategy. If you’re worried, then don’t be. I’ve got all the strategic tips for you, and I’ll be sharing them, below.

Knockout Tournament Strategy:

With the added element of the bounty, the strategy for playing the game has to undergo some alteration. These strategic tips for playing knockout poker can really step up your game.

In Knockout tournaments, most players tend to play with added pressure because of the bounty. They make their decisions, keeping the bounty in mind. So, for example, if a player goes all-in, another player will try to call them, even if they have marginal holdings. They do so, because they want that player to fold so that they can scoop up their bounty. However, such players forget that the pot at the end is larger than the bounties. It is important to continue playing the game like a regular poker game, with your eyes on the prize.

Another important aspect is your ‘expected value’. In the initial stages of any Knockout tournament, the value of defeating someone and getting that bounty is very important and has more value, but later in the tournament, such value diminishes.

This is where your expected value comes in. If you are playing in a tournament where the buy-in was $25, and you expect to make a profit of $10 in each game, you’ll be worth $35 at the end of one such game. Now, if you play 10,000 games, then your expected value will be $350,000, including the bounties.

But, your expected value changes as you play the game. If your value was $35 when you first joined the game, your value would change, if you doubled-up. It will jump up to $70. As the game progresses, your value increases. When you reach the final stages of the tournament, your value will be much higher than the initial $35.

As your worth increases, you’re less likely to be induced by the bounty. Your cash prize amount is high enough that you don’t feel tempted by the bounty. You’re also less likely to make riskier moves to take a player out because you want to protect your own game and expected value.

But how do you know when to allow bounties to affect your decisions and when not to? There’s an easy formula for that, as well. You need to consider how many chips a bounty is worth. If you start the game with 6000 chips and the bounty is 1/6th of the buy-in, then you can say that a bounty is worth 1000 chips. You can use the following formula to calculate the worth of the bounties, in a tournament:

Total number of starting chips x ratio of bounty: total buy-in

So, if your buy-in is of $100, out of which $80 goes towards the pool and $20 towards the bounty, and your starting chips are 6000, then the math will be:

6000 x 20: 100

This will give you an idea of how much a bounty is worth, in terms of chips. It’s really important for you to know the worth of a bounty in terms of your own game. It can help you decide when the bounty is worth taking a risk for, and when it is better to play a safer game.

As the game progress, the worth of a bounty does not matter, as much. The size of the pot grows to an extent where adding a bounty to it, is a small matter.

You’ve been introduced to Knockout tournaments and the concept of bounties. You can say that you have the strategy to play a decent game, in a Knockout tournament. Now you can join us at Spartan and play poker online to test out your skills!