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How to Succeed at Progressive Knockout Tournaments

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Replay Poker has Progressive Knockout Tournaments (PKO). But what do you need to think about when playing one?

Prize pool and your starting bounty

The prize pool in a PKO event is half of what it would be in a standard MTT for the same stake with the same number of players. The other half of the prize pool is divided equally amongst the players as their initial bounty.

Until you are familiar with the format, you may want to stick to your routine tournament strategy. Plan to pick up knockouts in the late stages when other players’ bounties have grown, or simply aim to finish high and collect a healthy prize.


A high percentage, usually 30% or more, of players in a PKO will earn a chip prize of some sort — either a bounty or a prize. 

The age-old poker tournament strategy conundrum is: should you try to grind out regular small wins, or go big and try to dominate your table?  

  • Playing carefully may appear to limit your chances of making a KO. A relatively patient player will not find themselves with a stack larger than many opponents in the early stages, unless they receive a spell of good cards. On the other hand, every chip counts and having a few extra chips at the right time might be the difference between covering someone’s stack to win their bounty or falling a few chips short. 
  • More aggressive players may build up their chip stack, as well as accumulate some bounties by instigating action, but run the risk of busting out themselves if any of their first few all-in ventures fail.

replay pkos

Observation is important. You should be aware of other players’ stack sizes and might consider making riskier-than-usual calls if a shorty moves all-in — especially if you are closing the action and have a moderate-to-strong hand. That doesn’t mean call every all-in you cover, though. Ask yourself if there may be better spots later.

Polish up your shorthanded play. The outright winner of the tournament usually wins a lucrative payout because they collect a piece of the initial bounty for every player in the tournament. 

The rewards for having a strong Heads Up game for the later stages are many. Taking out Final Table opponents with bigger bounties than your own is obviously beneficial. Being able to outplay larger stacks when the game gets shorthanded means you will build your chips and have a shot at first place. 

Bottom line: Learn as you go!

Adopt the strategy which suits you (and your bankroll!).

With the high chance of return of some sort, PKO’s offer a different dimension to poker tournaments. 

As Tom McEvoy famously said, “No Limit Hold’em — hours of boredom followed by moments of sheer terror.” PKO appears to fit the bill exactly. MTT after MTT will fall short of expectations, then one will come along where you send opponents flying and carry off the Big One.

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