888poker is the virtual home of online Mystery Bounty tournaments, and ambassador Vivian Saliba shares five top tips to help you elevate your game in the format.
And it’s worth taking note of what Saliba has to say as every Sunday, the $100,000 guaranteed Mystery Bounty Main Event takes place. So get the kettle on, settle down, and take in these pieces of advice.
Preserve Your Stack
Stack preservation is very important in Mystery Bounty tournaments. The prize pool is split between the regular prize pool and bounty prizes. For this reason, having a big stack when the bounties kick can generate a lot of value.
You might want to approach some spots more conservatively when close to the bounty stage in order to preserve your chips. By having a big stack, you’re going to cover more opponents, and with that, you have more opportunities to eliminate them and further your chances of locking up mystery bounty prizes.
It’d be wise to remove the bottom of your range when calling all-ins or even jamming yourself.
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Label Your Opponents
Being able to categorize your opponents is really important in this format. Saliba notes from her experience then many players will act very aggressively and looser than in usual tournaments. So, make a note on these players.
Take advantage of this by betting bigger with your value hands than you normally would. If you see that your opponents are calling wider, you’ll also want to limit your bluffs.
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Adjust to Different Stages of the Tournament
Understanding the stages of mystery bounty tournaments is key to performing well. You will have to adjust if you really want to succeed. Once the bounties come into play, your fold equity will be smaller as opponents are incentivized to call all-ins.
You will often see players calling you down they never would in other tournaments. For this reason, move all in with a tighter range, so cut out some suited connectors and give priority to high cards and pairs.
Pay Attention to the Remaining Bounties
You should always be keeping your eye on the bounty prize list as you need to know which bounties are still up for grabs. The average value of a bounty will vary according to those that are still available.
Let’s say all the major bounties have already been claimed — in this situation, the chips will probably have a higher value than a bounty. If the big bounties are still in play when just a few players remain, then it’s likely the bounty value will be greater than the chip value, incentivizing you to call a bit wider.
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Don’t Forget About the Prize Pool
Don’t forget that Mystery Bounty tournaments still have a prize pool, and it’s not always just about winning the bounty. Don’t overvalue knocking out an opponent just for the bounty. Saliba has seen plenty of blunders from others, who compromise a majority of their stack to just win a bounty.
Most of the time, you’ll still need a strong hand to call shoves; don’t just gamble for the sake of it. Evaluate the risk and reward — if you bust out with a bad hand trying to take a bounty, you miss out on the rest of the tournament.
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Calum has been a part of the PokerNews team since September 2021 after working in the UK energy sector. He played his first hand of poker in 2017 and immediately fell in love with the game. Calum’s proudest poker achievement is winning the only tournament he has ever played in Las Vegas, the prestigious $60 Flamingo evening event.