It’s only natural to approach anything new with a sense of trepidation, but the clear focus of much of what we’ve written on PokerStars Blog over the past week is to introduce new players to the wonderful world of Progressive Knockout (PKO) poker.
That’s because Bounty Builder Turbo Series runs for two weeks on PokerStars, offering 184 tournaments played in the PKO format. We’re enormous fans of PKO tournaments and hope you can be too — even if you’ve previously steered clear.
Our coverage of Bounty Builder Turbo Series (let’s call it BBTS) is designed to introduce this format to the many thousands of players who are probably tempted to give it a try, but haven’t yet for one reason or another. We’re intended to erode those reasons one by one. PKO poker is very simple, once you know what’s going on. And BBTS has tournaments at all price points, and times of the day and week, to make sure literally everyone can get involved.
WHAT IS PKO POKER?It’s a fair and obvious question for a new player to ask: What exactly is PKO poker? And we think you’ll get the best idea by reading our explainer titled: “What’s the difference between KO, PKO and TKO poker?”
This article starts by introducing the concept of Knockout poker, a game format that has been around many years, before its newer offspring came along slightly later.
The short answer to the central question is that Knockout poker, though identical in many ways to a standard multi-table tournament (MTT), offers a bonus cash reward to players for eliminating opponents. There’s still a prize pool in the traditional sense, but players also accrue additional payouts when they are able to felt an adversary — an additional sweetener to what is already an exciting moment in the game.
In KO poker, that payment is a fixed amount — something like 25 percent of a player’s buy-in. But in PKO poker, where the “P” stands for “Progressive”, the payment increases as the tournament progresses. Knock someone out in the late stages of a PKO tournament and that bonus payment could be very large indeed.
This format of the game talks a lot about “bounties”, and that additional payment is exactly that: a bounty. Each player has a bounty on their head, and if you knock them out, you claim it. Think Boba Fett cruising through the galaxy looking for bounty payments for adversaries he can eliminate.
WHAT’S THE CORRECT STRATEGY?Everyone claims to be an expert in poker. You only need to hang around a tournament room during a break and hear clusters of mates telling a player grieving for a recently extinguished tournament life how they should have played it.
But in the halls of PokerStars — and in particular behind the door marked “PokerStars School” — there really are a lot of genuine experts in the game, and their very raison d’etre is to improve the play of poker players across the world.
In a recent article “Five Tips You Need Before Playing Bounty Builder Turbo Series“, we enlisted the help of Pete Clark, from PokerStars School, to give you the lowdown on strategy for PKO events.
Many gameplay tips remain true for all tournament poker — and remember, PokerStars School is absolutely full of brilliant courses to brush up your game — but this article focuses tightly on PKO tournaments and the particular ways in which you need to adjust accepted strategies.
You’ll learn things like:
Even the captions to the photos in this article are useful. “There’s a right time to take risks, and a wrong time”, The size of your own bounty makes a big difference to how you should play”, “When you have a big stack be sure to use it”, “If you find yourself becoming a Fallen Giant, you need to adjust your strategy fast”.
Everything in between is super important too.
(Clarke’s full article on PokerStars School is most rewarding too.)
WHAT SHALL I PLAY?Even if you’re desperate to give Bounty Builder Turbo Series a go, you may not be able to jump straight in. We know as well as anybody that everyone has other commitments. However the BBTS schedule has been very well designed to maximise the opportunities for everyone to play, and it we have broken down the full schedule into digestible chunks so you can find the tournament that suits you best.
In this article, we sift through and pick out tournaments with particularly low buy-ins, which might be ideal for players just starting out on their poker careers, as well as the particularly high tournaments, which will be for the bigger bankrolls.
We’ve also pulled out the Freezeouts — i.e., the events where re-entry is not possible. These tournaments absolutely cannot cost any more than the published entry fee to play — and when you’re out, you’re out.
We’ve isolated the hyper-turbos — that is, the tournaments that get done even more quickly than others. And we’ve looked at the events that start and finish on Saturdays and Sunday, allowing just the weekenders to play.
It’s highly unlikely you’re not going to be able to find anything to suit your fancy, so have a good look around and find the tournament for you.
HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?Signing up for any tournament on PokerStars should be fairly self-explanatory, but it never hurts to have someone hold your hand.
Our article titled “A guide for players of all experience levels” offers a very simple “how to” guide for getting involved in BBTS.
This article offers further advice on how to find the tournament that’s right for you, and then how to navigate the PokerStars lobby to find it. We also take a look at the satellite qualification route, which is always the best way to earn a seat for cheap.
This is billed as a Beginner’s Guide, but there’s no harm at all in more experienced players — or, perhaps, players who haven’t been playing as much as they once did — to review a few key steps to getting involved.
WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW?
The one and only thing you ever really need to know when playing poker is that you should enjoy yourself. This is fun.
Obviously, winning is something we always enjoy, but it should never be the be all and end all of playing.
If you’re ever in doubt as to whether poker is for you, or if you find that playing might be causing problems you can’t cope with, then remember there are lots of places you can go to get help.
All players should check out our Responsible Gaming page, and bookmark it in fact. It’s absolutely vital.