Two common mistakes in bounty tournaments

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bencb says you are approaching bounty tournaments the wrong way and has two tips to get ahead of the field in them.

If you think that you can just apply your standard tournament poker strategy to bounty tournaments and win, you’re wrong!

Bounty tournaments require specific adjustments based on several factors, mainly the value of your bounty, the value of your chip stack, and your position in the tournament.

Mistake #1: Playing too tight early in tournaments


The first mistake players make all the time in bounty tournaments is not calling wider than their default range when a bounty is on the line. It’s important to remember that since the bounty is usually worth a significant portion of your chip stack early on, a bounty on the line can greatly decrease the amount of equity that you need to call an all-in.

If you buy-in to a bounty tournament with $10, let’s assume $5 goes to the bounty on your head and $5 goes towards the prize pool, giving you a 5,000 chip stack. This means that your bounty (and the bounties on other player’s heads) is worth the same as your chips stack (5,000). Whenever a bounty is in play in the early stages of the tournament, it’s an entire starting stack on the line every time!

Most players forget this and tend to play far tighter than they should. Hopefully you can see how we have to call more often with a wider range of hands because of the immense value bounties have compared to our chip stack!

Mistake #2: Playing too loose late in tournaments

ICM is more important than bounties near the end

As the tournament goes on you have to tighten up considerably, since the bounties at play start to become much less valuable in comparison to the chip stacks at stake.

At the start of the tournament the ratio between bounties and stack sizes is fairly similar. However, as the tournament goes on and stack sizes increase, that ratio becomes wider and wider.

While at the start of the tournament you might have had a 5,000 chip stack and a 5,000 chip value bounty (a 1:1 ratio), at the final table things will be very different. In a Classic Bounty Tournament you may have a chip stack of 200,000, while bounties are still worth a measly 5,000 chips.

Most players struggle to make the adjustment from playing very loose early on in the bounty tournament to tightening up and worrying more about ICM and stack preservation later on.

Understanding this shift and being able to adjust correctly will definitely separate you from the pack!

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