Bounty Poker Tournament Basics and Strategy Tips


Bounty Poker Tournaments are a fun way to add variety to your poker tournament schedule. The real money bounty awarded for knocking out each player creates extra action plus it gives every poker player a chance to win some cash in most cases without needing to finish inside the bubble.

If you are wondering how you should adjust your strategy for playing bounty poker tournaments...

Your friends at LearnWPT, The Official Poker Education Platform of The World Poker Tour, are here with expert tips to help you adjust poker strategy for each of the 3 types of bounty poker tournaments:

Traditional Bounty Poker Tournaments

Take a deep dive into the traditional bounty poker tournament format and learn how professional poker players adjust their play to account for the bounties when making decisions at the table.

Binger’s Bounty Equity Shortcut for Calling All-Ins:

  • Convert the bounty to tournament chips based on percentage of buy-in
    • $1,000 buy-in tournament, $250 of each buy-in is the bounty (bounty is 25% of buy-in)
    • 10,000 in starting chips x 25% = 2500 in tournament chips
    • Therefore 1 bounty = 2500 in tournament chips
  • Add the value of the bounty in terms of chips to the total pot
    • Ex: Pot size 17,500 + 2,500 = 20,000 bounty adjusted pot size
  • Calculate your equity based on the bounty adjusted pot size
  • Your calling range will naturally be wider based on the increased pot size

Progressive Knockout (PKO) Tournaments

Progressive Knockouts, or PKO’s have become very popular in online poker because of the escalating values for each player’s bounty as they eliminate others from the tournament. While this style of tournament is not common in live poker, it’s incredibly popular online and you need to be aware of the strategic adjustments involved.

The buy-in structure for a Progressive Knockout splits the buy-in in half and assigns half to the prize pool and half to the player’s individual bounty. As the tournament progresses you knock players out, half of their bounty is yours to keep, while the other half is added to your bounty.

Remembers these tips when playing in a PKO Tournament:

  • Because bounty values change based on each player's number of knockouts, some players are worth much more than others to knock out
  • Players are incentivized to widen their ranges and go after opponents when they have a high bounty value
  • Start PKO Tournaments on time and avoiding late registration is critical to maximize your chances of winning the most bounties
  • It's often profitable to call with any 2 cards in PKO Tournaments when your opponent's bounty value is high
  • This style of tournament has become extremely popular over the last year because it encourages so much action!

Make sure you download your free PKO Equity Reduction chart ↓ ↓ after you watch the Strategy Episode!


The PKO Equity Reduction Reference Guide is an easy and quick way to determine your equity in PKO Tournaments

Lottery Style Bounty Poker Tournaments

The most recent innovation in tournament bounty poker that has caused great excitement among poker players is the Lottery Style Bounty Tournament.

In this type of event (more commonly known as a Mystery Bounty or Bounty Confidential) players who make Day 2 and eliminate a player draw an envelope with the bounty amount hidden inside. Bounty amounts range from slightly less than a buy-in, all the way to 50 times the buy-in based on the total number of tournament entries.


Bounty Confidential Tournament at Thunder Valley Casino Resort

To maximize your chances at grabbing a massive bounty there are specific strategy reminders you should be conscious of during your next Lottery Style bounty event. Check out LearnWPT Instructor and Poker Legend Andrew “LuckyChewy” Lichtenberger’s key lessons for Lottery Style Bounty Tournaments below:


3 Lessons from LuckyChewy on Lottery Style Bounty Tournaments:

➧ Lesson #1: Making Day 2 in a Lottery Style Bounty Tournament is very important, but getting there with a big stack is critical to maximizing return on investment. Take thinner edges on Day 1 and focus on spots to accumulate chips before you reach the money so that you can have a better shot at accumulating bounties once you are in the money.

➧ Lesson #2: Bounties usually make up roughly one third of the prize pool. They are of most value when the average bounty amount in dollars is larger than the minimum cash and quite a bit larger than any pay jumps. Keeping track of which larger bounties have been won already is essential to making the highest expected value decisions in these types of events.

➧ Lesson #3: As the average bounty value decreases and you get deeper in the tournament where the prize money and associated pay jumps in the actual prize pool are larger than the average bounty amount, winning a bounty should be much less of an important factor in your decision making. Where previously you might have made a thin call to potentially win a huge bounty, you should instead evaluate this spot in terms of your overall tournament.

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