Knockout (KO) Poker Tournament

In the wonderful world of poker, you can do so many things. Some players enjoy going to card rooms and playing live poker, whereas others like to sit at home and play online poker from the comfort of their couch. However, the players that seek a thrill and like playing a bigger game, generally go for poker tournaments. These days, the poker industry has boomed to the extent that several real money poker tournaments are held everywhere around the world, and even online on various platforms. Droves of people flock to these tournaments and play against the best players around the world. One such tournament is a knockout tournament.

If you’ve never heard the term knockout tournament, then don’t worry. We’ll bring you all the information so that you can know everything there is to know about this game. So, read on, and you never know, you might find yourself at the next tournament, giving the other players a run for their money.

What is a Knockout (KO) Tournament?

So, the first question that might pop into your head is; what is a knockout tournament? It is a type of multi-table tournament. It’s a variant of regular poker tournaments, in the sense its rules are slightly different from what you expect. Essentially, when you enter any tournament, you have to pay a buy-in, like an entry fee. And while, in regular tournaments, this entry fee goes towards the pool and the rake, in a knockout tournament a certain portion of the buy-in is put towards a bounty. This bounty is the amount of money that is on a player’s head and is awarded to anyone who takes him down. So, you’re given some cash before you’ve even won.

Advantages of Knockout Poker Tournament

A real advantage of these tournaments and a factor that acts as a huge draw is that they provide more of an opportunity to win. While, in most tournaments players have to slog and grind to reach the final round if they want a shot at winning, in a knockout tournament, players win a prize even if they don’t reach the final round of the game. And to top it all off, it’s extremely satisfying to be given some cash for taking down an opponent, right?


On the other hand, Knockout Poker Tournaments have spawned their own variants. In a game of Progressive Knockout Poker Tournament, players play in a way that the bounties they have collected, by taking down other players, get added to their own bounties. For instance, if in a game, the starting bounty for all players is $2, then if A takes down B, he gets to collect the bounty on B’s head which is $2. Now, A’s bounty is his own bounty plus the one he collected, so it is $4. If C takes down A, then he scoops up the entirety of A’s bounty, which is $4, and his own bounty will be $6. While Knockout Poker Tournaments sound entertaining and exciting, players need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of such games before they invest their time and money into them. So, let’s check out the advantages of Knockout Poker Tournaments and their disadvantages as well.


  • Even if players don’t play for a long time, and make it very far in the game, they have an opportunity to win some cash. If they collect enough bounties, they can not only recover the amount of their buy-ins, but also make a decent profit.
  • You don’t need to wait for the later stages of the game for the players to start playing. The game is high stakes right from the beginning, so players can enjoy and partake in the action from the start to the end.
  • Despite not being a traditional tournament format, and incorporating some tweaks, this kind of tournament is really popular and available online.


  • Tournaments do come along with variance, which is huge. So, because of this flaw, sometimes it is possible for players to go for a long time without making any profit.
  • Tournaments tend to be a little rigid. They don’t allow for as much flexibility as cash games. Even the time taken to complete a tournament and see it through, is much more than that of the completion of a cash game.
  • In tournaments, the pattern is to play with shorter stacks. This changes how the game is played and affect the strategies and moves that can be played. This is also a put off for players who enjoy playing with deeper stacks. It can also make the game a little less exciting to play.  

After listing out the pros and cons, we can now decide if this tournament type is for you. Honestly, this kind of tournament is great if you are looking for a huge payout in a single day. Players need to make a very small investment and have the chance of collecting relatively larger returns. The bounties awarded also give the players a chance to make up the price paid for their buy-in. However, this also means that a huge section of the prize pool is set aside for bounties, so the chances of a big upswing are low.

Knockout Poker Tournament Strategy

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of Knockout Poker Tournaments, and also made a go at listing the pros and cons of such games, we can take a look at some strategic points. These pointers will help, should you choose to sit for one such tournament. They are as follows:

  • Target Shorter Stacks: every decision that you make in this poker tournament can have an increased value. The reason is that with a decision, you could cover your opponent and have a shot at eliminating him or her. This allows you to collect their bounty. So, even small decisions can be of huge value. 
  • Use ICM: even in a tournament like this, you should use an ICM (Independent chip modelling) calculator. This calculator will calculate the profitability of your decisions.
  • Aim for the Pool: even if it’s tempting to be led by the chances of getting a bounty, players should keep their eyes on the pool. It’s better to create a balanced stack, and reach the final round than to aggressively pursue bounties.

As we conclude, you can say that you have enough information to venture out, and try playing a knockout tournament, yourself. So, come join us at Spartan, find a tournament, and play poker online!