Knockout Poker Tournaments Guide

What can make tournament poker even more exciting? How about awarding a cash prize for each player you eliminate? That’s the idea behind knockout poker tournaments, and it’s proved to be a smash hit with our players here at Bovada Poker. Knockout poker has quickly become one of the most popular formats of the game in just a few short years. It might even be the start of the next poker boom.

If you’ve played any poker at all in your life, getting the hang of knockout tournaments should be a cinch – but these are great games to try even if you’re brand-new to tournament poker. This guide will show you the different kinds of knockout tournaments you can play at Bovada Poker; we’ll also take a closer look at the format itself, what makes it tick, and how you can get the most value out of your next poker session.

Pros and Cons of Knockout Poker Tournaments

As with any type of poker, there are things about knockout tournaments that will appeal to some players more than others. It really depends on what you’re looking for. Want to win some serious cash? The knockout format lets you collect prizes in the middle of a tournament – you don’t even have to finish “in the money” to make a profit. Want to have even more fun playing tournies? These knockout events add an extra level of excitement to the game, with players ramping up their aggression level as they try to felt their opponents.

Having said that, knockout tournaments are still tournaments, so if you’re going to play, you need to be prepared. These events take some time to complete, which means you have to carve out some time in your schedule to play them. Tournaments are also “high-variance” compared to cash poker, which means you can expect bigger upswings and downswings in your results. And lastly, if you’ve already become comfortable with your tournament poker strategy, you’ll need to make a few adjustments to account for the new format. 

Types of Knockout Poker Tournaments

None of those challenges are too big to overcome. Strategy-wise, most of the changes you’ll be making are relatively subtle; treat these knockout tournaments as you would any other tourney where players are throwing their chips around, by bluffing a lot less often and value betting a lot more. As for the high variance and the scheduling, you can make your life easier on both fronts by choosing the right type of knockout tournament for your needs.

Here are the three different ways you can play knockout tournaments at Bovada Poker:

Multi-Table Knockout Tournaments

The multi-table tournament (MTT) has become the industry standard for tournament poker – and it’s the basis for the original knockout events. With MTTs, players buy their seats in advance and start playing at a designated time. The buy-ins are collected and pooled together to be awarded as prizes to those who last the longest, with the prizes going up the longer you survive.

The difference with knockout MTTs is that some of the prize pool is kept separate, and awarded as bounties for each player that gets eliminated. A typical knockout MTT will see 20% of your buy-in go toward bounties; for example, if you enter a tournament with a $10 buy-in, you’ll receive $2 for every player you knock out. With the Super Knockout format, the bounties usually climb to 50% of your buy-in, or $5 in this case.

Generally speaking, the bigger the bounties, the more aggressively you should be going for the knockout – and the more you have to protect your own neck. Make sure you’re aware of everyone’s chip counts at all times; you can’t knock out someone if they have more chips than you. There will be times when it will be worth making a riskier play than usual so you can build your stack big enough to knock out more people.

Sit & Go Knockout Tournaments

If your schedule doesn’t leave you enough room to play MTTs, the Sit and Go format (SNG) is the right choice for you. SNGs don’t start at a designated time – they start as soon as enough players have entered. These are also smaller events than most tournaments, with as few as two players in the SNG field. They’re a great way to add volume to your tournament schedule, which will lower your variance in turn.

Knockout SNGs are also tremendous fun. It usually doesn’t take long for the punches to start flying; in regular SNGs, you don’t necessarily want to go after the smaller stacks, but that changes when there are bounties on the line. Make a note of the prize structure before you enter, then adjust your normal SNG strategy accordingly.

Progressive Knockout Tournaments

Now we’re getting into some serious bounties. With the progressive knockout format, instead of receiving the full amount when you eliminate someone, you only get half the bounty up front; the other half is added to the bounty on your own head. As the tournament progresses, these bounties get bigger and bigger, so players get even more aggressive trying to knock each other out.

Just like regular knockout tournaments, you’ll find both Progressives (featuring 20% bounties) and Super Progressives (50% bounties) on the schedule at Bovada Poker. You’ll have to adjust your tournament strategy even more to account for these gigantic bounties, but it will be worth it – and you’ll have a lot more fun playing, too.

Now that you know all about knockout tournaments, visit our poker lobby today and see what’s on the schedule, and don’t forget to check out our archive of poker strategy articles here at Bovada. No matter what level of player you are, you’ll find something you can add to your repertoire that will help you dominate those knockout tournament tables.