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  • What is a Mystery Bounty Poker Tournament?

What is a Mystery Bounty Poker Tournament?

Posted By KKPoker | 2024-05-10

What is a Mystery Bounty Poker Tournament?

Mystery Bounty has recently become a popular poker tournament format, but the real mystery is, what is it? 

Learn the basics of online poker Mystery Bounty tournaments, including strategy tips for the early & middle tournament stages, the important money bubble, and the post-bubble action when big bounty prizes are ready to be won!




Mystery Bounty poker tournaments combine elements from traditional poker tournaments and bounty prize tournaments

In a traditional poker tournament format, all the collected entry fees contribute to one prize pool, with the prizes distributed to a percentage of the player pool, typically the top 15%, and weighted more for the top 3 players. 

In a bounty poker tournament, the collected entry fees are split into two prize pools. The normal prize pool and the bounty prize pool. For example, in a $10 buy-in online poker tournament, $4.50 would be for the standard prize pool, $4.50 would be a bounty prize placed on the player, and $1 would be the operator fee.

When you eliminate an opponent from the tournament, you will instantly win their $4.50 bounty. The more players you eliminate, the more $4.50 prizes you win. 

In PKO format, the amount won when eliminating an opponent will differ based on other factors. You can learn about PKO poker tournaments here.

Mystery Bounty tournaments combine the two elements. 

A Mystery Bounty tournament is typically played like a traditional poker tournament until enough players are eliminated to reach the 'In the Money' stage. For example, in a 100-player tournament with a 15% prize pool allocation, when 15 players remain, they are all guaranteed a prize. 

The Mystery Bounty part of the tournament will then begin. Now, whenever you eliminate an opponent, you will draw for a random cash prize bounty reward. In live poker, you will be required to draw an envelope from a box physically, and in online poker, the draw will occur automatically in the form of an onscreen pop-up animation that reveals your reward. 

The top bounty prize typically equals 10% of the total prize pool. So, in a $100,000 prize pool tournament, one lucky player will win an instant $10,000 Mystery Bounty reward.

The 'Mystery' element has created a lot of excitement in the poker world, as players can win big cash prizes without reaching the final table, where typically all the big poker tournament rewards are given.


Combining two poker formats has created a new opportunity for poker players to study. 

With the rise of Progressive Knockout poker tournaments, poker players needed to adapt their strategy to win prizes optimally. 

Mystery Bounty tournaments are played like traditional No-Limit Texas Hold'em tournaments until the money bubble bursts. 

Therefore, your strategy should be based on how you would play a regular NLH MTT, as no bounty prizes will yet be awarded. 

If you are new to NLH MTT, read our detailed beginner's strategy

Key points to consider: 
Opening Ranges
Noticing Opponent Playing Patterns

In the middle stages of the tournament, especially as the Money Bubble approaches, you may wish to consider how to accumulate more chips aggressively. 

Once the money bubble bursts and all remaining players are ITM (In the money), the Mystery Bounties will be active. Therefore, players with big stacks will have a much greater advantage and opportunity to win bounty rewards.


Playing as a Short Stack: 
You should play your typical short-stack bubble strategy if you are an experienced tournament poker player. As there are no bounties currently in play, you can only win a prize by surviving into the money. 

However, you should also consider that once ITM, you will still be able to win a Mystery Bounty prize if you eliminate an opponent. So, having as many chips as possible is important. 

Playing as a Big Stack: 
Players with larger chip stacks are generally the most aggressive during the money bubble. They can put pressure on their opponents and force them to fold to remain in the tournament. Chip leaders can use this as an opportunity to gain vital chips for the post-bubble bounty stage. 

Playing as a Middle Stack:
You should aim to preserve your chip stack. Playing against opponents with bigger chip stacks is not advised, as they can bully you and force you to make tough decisions. You will also want to ensure you have a good chip stack for the bounty stage and enough opportunities to eliminate an opponent. 


Congratulations, you have made it into the money spots and are now playing for those exciting Mystery Bounty rewards. But how do you win them?

You can consider playing exactly how you would in a PKO tournament. For example, if a short stack with a big bounty prize moves all in, you will call with a wider hand range due to the possibility of winning a high bounty prize. The only difference in Mystery Bounty tournaments is that the reward you win is unknown. Will you want to take the risk? 

One important factor to consider is the remaining MB prizes. You can see if the biggest bounties prizes have been drawn already via the KKPoker Game Page. If they have, you may play tighter. If they have not, you may play more loose in an attempt to win big!

Ultimately, each player will have their own thoughts on this, but with a % of the prize pool dedicated to winning the Mystery Bounty prizes, it is important to understand your goals. 


KKPoker is excited to have included Mystery Bounty tournaments in our special events. 

During our first-ever $2,000,000 MARCH MILLIONS, we held a massive $300,000 GTD MYSTERY BOUNTY tournament with a $30,000 top bounty prize

You can now participate in the $100,000 GTD MYSTERY GLORY on the third Sunday of every month. 

Good luck in the Mystery Bounty battles! 

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