What are Knockout Tournaments?

Every time you eliminate somebody, you win a cash prize. I chose to not cover some less popular knockout formats here simply to avoid this article ending up too long. Knockouts do not get any softer than those at Poker. Conversely, had you had 6 chips instead of 4, you would have the potential to knock out up to 2 players and therefore would be vying for a larger share of the knockout prize pool. Knockout Bounty Tournaments — Knockout Poker Strategy Tips The main strategy decision for knockout bounty tournaments is whether to adjust your play to actively seek out bounties, or whether to play your standard tournament game and see the bounties as an extra bonus. Level up your tournament poker game right away, satisfaction guaranteed in the Tournament Master Class.

What Are Knockout Tournaments All About?

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Clearly, you have the smallest odds of receiving any knockout prizes here. In the next hand, any player will be able to knock her out. Conversely, had you had 6 chips instead of 4, you would have the potential to knock out up to 2 players and therefore would be vying for a larger share of the knockout prize pool.

To solve this problem mathematically, we used Monte Carlo methods to simulate the poker game and calculate equities in terms of knockout winnings. Compared to most other formulas, Monte Carlo is very slow, but also extremely accurate in determining how players will knock each other out and thus estimating their true equities.

Unfortunately, Monte Carlo takes noticeable time to analyze even a single stack combination. Considering that a typical 9-player hand requires calculating more than 1, stack permutations to arrive at the correct solution, that simulation model is of little practical use for poker players. Very uneven stack sizes. Somewhat uneven stack sizes. For all intents and purposes, our model is very accurate. As I mentioned earlier, Monte Carlo simulations are just too slow for practical use.

Calculating a single stack combination with high accuracy can take seconds, whereas the IKCM model takes only a few milliseconds to do the same. The Chip EV model, by contrast, is not at all suitable for simulating knockouts. Even in simple scenarios like in Table 3, it gives numbers that are not very close to the accurate ones.

However, intuition is not enough to quantify the impact of this knockout effect on final hand ranges. Now that we have IKCM available, we can use it to find optimal strategies in knockout tournaments. Their knockout cash prizes are half of the buy-in, and the regular prize pool is split between the winner and the runner-up.

What is your optimal course of action if the large stack on the button gives you a chance to go all-in first? In this case, if you lose the hand, he will get the knockout reward.

If you beat him though, the BB will still have 1 chip left and you will have to duke it out with the large stack to knock BB out in the next hand s. This means that the potential knockout rewards have much less impact on our strategy. This time we may be able to immediately knock him out, but he cannot do the same to us. This goes to show that even tiny changes in table positions and stack sizes have or should have a big impact on your knockout strategy.

There are several subcategories of knockout tournaments out there. These are 3 common ones nowadays. Does it sound complicated? It seems clear that in a regular knockout, the bounties are almost meaningless and we should barely chase them at all, while in SuperKnockouts we should be taking some risks, since the bounties make for half of the entire prize pool.

Yet arriving at those conclusions is only a tiny part of puzzle. Most players think of bounties in monetary terms. This is the wrong approach. Since we are playing poker tournaments and not cash games, we must do our calculations in tournament chips, not real-world currency. To be able to make the right calls, we must know what each bounty is worth in chips.

Figuring this out is pretty easy. In a SuperKnockout tournament, you get x chips in this example; 3, for 50 percent of your buy-in. One bounty is worth one starting stack in Super Knockout tournaments. Thus, a bounty is worth 3, chips. Similarly, in a regular knockout tournament you would receive 3, chips for 80 percent of your buy-in, meaning the bounty is worth chips. In the Progressive Knockout tournament format it becomes a fair bit more complicated.

Why a little over? Because the winner of the tournament gets to keep their own bounty, and thus you always have some equity of the bounty on yourself. In the early levels of a mass-field tournament, that extra equity is almost worthless, but it can become quite a big deal later on. A good example would be a spot like this:. I could write a book on the myriad common mistakes that people make in bounty tournaments, but this is by far both the most common and expensive one: Not adjusting to the stage of the tournament and failing to understand the chip value of each bounty.

An unbelievably large amount of seasoned bounty hunters are still treating the bounties for their cash value, even though whether the extra chips in the bounty are meaningful or not depends entirely on the stage of the tournament. In this example the 3, chip bounty is only worth one ante ; in other words, basically nothing. In this example, you need to call off additional , chips to win a pot of , total — you need Without the bounty the number would be Yet time after time you see people making loose calls in hopes of getting the bounty — this is because they only see them for their cash value.

We already went through this, but once more for good measure: The other half goes to your own bounty of which you then have some equity as long as you have chips. At least 95 percent of any bounty MTT field will call shoves way too loose in hopes of getting the bounty.

How Knockout Poker works