PKO strategy article from ACR Pro, Jon Van Fleet

PKO strategy article from ACR Pro, Jon Van Fleet

Editor’s Note: With the $5 Million Venom PKO starting this Friday, we asked our ACR Pros to weigh in with some tips on how to maximize profits when playing PKO tourneys. Jon Van Fleet (Apestyles) was kind enough to share some of his rules.

1. Start the tourney on time. One way of representing your $equity in the bounty prize pool is just your stack/remaining chips in play x the bounty pool. For example, if 50% of the field is missing, 25% of the bounty prize pool is now gone. You put those two together and it means you get hit with a bit of a rake for registering too late.

2. In the beginning stages until the money of a 50/50 Progressive Knock-out Tournament, add 25% of a starting stack for each starting bounty a player has if you have them all in. This is a good rule of thumb for accounting for the bounty until you hit the money.

Example: Blinds: 100/200/25, 8 max tables – 500 in the pot, 3000 in starting chips

CO shoves 2000 total, the BB needs to call 1800 to win 2300.

How much equity do we actually need to make this call?

Regular Pot Odds: 1800/(1800+2300) = .439 -> multiply by 100

-> We require ~44% equity to call just for chips

Bounty Adjusted: Add ¼ starting stack to pot – 1800/(1800+2300+750) = .371 -> multiply by 100

-> We require ~37% equity to call, roughly a 7% equity drop.

CO Shoving Range: 22+,A2s+,K6s+,Q8s+,J8s+,T8s+,98s,87s,A2o+,KTo+,QTo+,JTo

BB Calling Range: 22+,A2s+,K9s+,JTs+, KTo+, QJo

Bottom hands like KTo,K9s and QJo have around 44% equity versus the CO shoving range. In contrast, we’d have to expand our calling range much wider to account for the equity drop. 9To and T7s would both be calls in that same circumstance with around 37%-38% equity each.

3. ITM knockout bounties are worth more chips, roughly 40% of a starting stack per starting bounty. Once the bubble has burst, a significant amount of the prize money in the regular tournament has been distributed, making our chips worth less and the bounty worth more. This number could be even bigger at final tables.

As with most rules, this is an oversimplification but close enough to give you a better idea. The true answer is a bit more complicated.

4. Stay Away From Covering Stacks At Final Tables and Vice Versa: Being in a situation where someone can play super aggressively versus us because they bubble us and we have to play defensively because of ICM strategies is no fun. Avoid marginal calls preflop. On the reverse of that, if someone has a ton of bounties and we have a good chance of getting all in or they’re shallow, I’ll play very aggressively versus them.

5. Starting Bounties Won/Starting Stacks Risks = Bounty Power. Another way to calculate the equity drop is use Bounty Power. If you have to risk a bunch of starting stacks for not much bounty, it’s not a good deal.

Simplified Bounty Power (BP) Chart:

BP .5 = 2-3% equity drop
BP 1 = 5-6% equity drop
BP 1.5 = 7-8% equity drop
BP 2 = 9-10% equity drop
BP 2.5+ = Don’t fold

These rules of thumb have served me quite well in playing bounty tournaments. I hope that you get the same value from them.


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