Mystery Bounty tournaments: All you need to know
The main poker tournament novelty of recent years is Mystery Bounty MTTs. Having appeared in Vegas casinos, they quickly spread to other regions and became available in online poker rooms. What are the features of the mechanics, strategies, and schedules of Mystery Bounty? You will learn from this article.
What are Mystery Bounty tournaments?
Mystery Bounty is a multi–table tournament in which the payout amount for knocking out an opponent is random.
This payment is called a “bounty". Until recently, there were only two types of bounties in online poker sites:
- Fixed KnockOut tournaments (KO): A prize of half the buy-in is immediately paid for the opponent's “head.”
- Progressive KnockOut tournaments PKO: When a player knocks out an opponent, 50% of the amount assigned to him (half of the buy-in without rake) goes to the account of the winner of the hand. The second 50% is added to the reward for the remaining players. Bounty amounts gradually increase. In the later stages, those become more valuable.
Mystery bounty tournaments have added a third type of knockout payment - random. The first event under this format on a live series was played as part of The Wynn Fall Classic series in Las Vegas in October 2021 and online at the WSOP Circuit Online in April 2022.
How does Mystery Bounty work?
The tournament consists of two parts: several qualifying flights and the final stage. The buy-ins of the players are divided in half. One part goes to the general prize pool, the other to the knockout fund.
During the flights, players receive nothing for knocked-out opponents. The "Mystery Bounty" and knockout payments began only at the Final Stage. Their size is determined randomly.
The bigger the bounty, the less likely it is to fall out. There is only one "top bounty," which is highly promoted. It can be up to 20% of the total knockout fund.
For example, in a tournament with a $100,000 prize pool, the total bounty amount will be $50K. Of these, ten thousand will be for the largest payout, and the remaining amount will be divided into several payout levels depending on the number of players.
Where can I play Mystery Bounty online?
Mystery bounty tournaments are now available across the best online poker rooms:
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GGPoker (and other GGNetwork skins) offer Mystery Bounty tournaments on its regular MTT grid, as well as Secret Bounty. One-day tournaments in which the bounty stage begins after the completion of late registration. Mystery bounty with many flights always becomes one of the main events within the series in GGPoker.
PokerKing (and other skins of the Winning Poker Network) have been holding Mystery Bounty since the fall of 2023. The format is represented by two multi-stage MTTs running for a month: $250,000 GTD Sunday Squeeze for $16.5, $75,000 The Dime for $2.5. During the series, the prize pool of tournaments increases.
888Poker has the largest Mystery Bounty tournament grid. The tournament is divided into two parts: late registration and bounty-less, with bounty and already in ITM. In total, about 15 MTTs are planned at 888 Poker schedule every day with buy-ins of $1-$55 and guarantees from $300 to $12,000. Multiflight tournaments are held only during the series.
In PokerBros, Mystery Bounty tournaments are created by individual clubs, usually within a series, not only on NLH but also on Omaha.
Mystery Bounty strategy
The main factor that affects the Mystery Bounty strategy is the presence of two stages: without payouts for the "head" and with them in the format of a regular knockout, with the possibility of occasionally receiving increased payouts.
- The main goal of the game in the early stage is to finish the game with an above-average stack to cover the majority of opponents from the very beginning of the bounty stage. If you are left with a short stack at the end of Day 1, then it makes sense to take risks more often. In essence, this tournament stage is a satellite on the second day of the knockout tournament.
- The late stage should be played as a regular knockout tournament based on the number of chips and opponents' chips.
Perhaps the biggest mistake in the Mystery Bounty format will be overestimating the impact of the bounty with many players when the maximum bounty has not yet been paid. Here, it is good to exploit "too loose" opponents in attempts to break a big jackpot early.
At any stage of the tournament, the KQ / KJs / QJ broadways have greater strength than in conventional MTTs, because, with them, you can not only collect straight or flush, but also these cards block strong hands.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
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