PokerStars, partypoker Launching Dueling Bounty Tourney Series on Super Bowl Sunday
The year 2020 is already one-twelfth gone. It seems like just yesterday that Larry David was arguing that it was too late to wish people Happy New Year and now here we are, entering February already. And for whatever reason, February appears to be Bounty Tournament Month in the online poker world. No idea how that happened, but both PokerStars and partypoker are running bounty tournament series starting this weekend.
For the uninitiated, in a bounty tournament, part of the buy-in goes to the prize pool and part of it is used as a bounty on each player’s head. When someone is eliminated, the player that knocked them out receives the busted player’s bounty as a prize.
Bounty events can be appealing for a couple reasons. First, the bounties amp up the action, as players get more aggressive, trying to knock each other out to win bounties. Second, it is possible to make a profit – or at least break even – without making the money.
The World Series of Poker is making things interesting this summer with a Mystery Bounty tournament in which most players will have a $100 on their head, but one player – unknown to the field – will have a $250,000 bounty.
Some tournaments, such as the Bay 101 Shooting Star, are limited bounty tournaments in which only a few players have bounties. This could seem unfair at first, but I can tell you from experience that it is a lot of fun to be one of the bounties. I used to organize an online poker tournament series and I put a bounty on my head and the heads of my colleagues to make things more interesting for the participants. It was actually really enjoyable. Just from a fun perspective, it made the game more social – people noticed me at their table and chatted me up. On the strategy side, I was sometimes able to use people’s over-aggression against them.
PokerStars Bounty Builder Series
PokerStars’ entry, the Bounty Builder Series, is scheduled for February 2nd through February 16th. It consists of 60 three-tiered events for 180 tournaments in total. There are $25 million in guaranteed prize pools spread across the Series.
The Bounty Builder Series uses the Progressive Knockout (PKO) format, which differs slightly from a vanilla bounty format. In PokerStars’ PKO, when you knockout a player, you are only awarded half of their bounty. That money goes directly into your poker account. The other half of the bounty gets added to your own bounty, making you a juicier target for your opponents.
For example, in the $109 tournaments, $50 of the buy-in goes to the prize pool, $50 goes to the bounty, and $9 is the house fee. If you eliminate a player, you will win $25, half of their bounty. The other $25 is added to your bounty, so now you are worth $75 to your opponents.
If you are, in turn, knocked out, the person that got you will receive $37.50 in cash and will have $37.50 added to their bounty.
The winner of the tournament not only wins the first-place prize money, but also keepshis own bounty.
As is often the case at PokerStars, the site is also running special $4 Bounty Builder Series Spin & Go’s that give players the chance to win Bounty Builder Series tickets, including to the $530 Main Event.
partypoker KO Series
Spanning the exact same period of time is the partypoker KO Series. It consists of 230 tournaments with $10 million in guaranteed prize pools. Buy-ins range from $2.20 to $2,100.
All of the tournaments in the KO Series are of the Progressive Knockout, just like in the Bounty Builder Series. Eliminate a player, take half their bounty and have the other half of the bounty added on your head.
One different at partypoker is that the rake is lower. There is no rake on the bounty portion of the buy-in. Using the $109 tournaments as an example again, $50 goes to the regular tournament prize pool, $54 goes to the KO bounty, and $5 goes to the rake. As you can see, that’s a better deal than at PokerStars, where the prize pool and bounty are split $50 each, with $9 going to the house’s fee.
partypoker has special $5 SPINS tournaments with varieties of KO Series tickets available as prizes. The top prize is a $2,100 KO Series ticket.
There are eight KO Series Main Events, guaranteeing $1.4 million combined. They will all be held on February 16th. Four of the tournaments are No-Limit Hold’em 8-Max and four are Pot-Limit Omaha 6-Max. Buy-ins for the four events of each game type are $5.50, $55, $320, and $2,100.