top of page

About the Newsletter

4k+ subscribers receive one tip to start, improve and accelerate their tournament poker training every Saturday.

Thanks for subscribing!

OTB #043: How Negative Risk Premiums Allow You to Call Wider in PKO Tournaments

One of the most common complaints I hear about bounty or PKO tournaments is that players turn up with all sorts of garbage and there's no skill involved: it's all gamble.

Today I want to dispel that myth by showing you why it's right to go so much wider in a PKO tournament to chase bounties, and why it's not wrong to call a 3-bet jam with J6s sometimes.

We'll start with 3 spots:

  • RFI as a big stack

  • Facing a 3-bet jam

  • Facing a shortstack jam in the big blind

I want you to write down your range (or using something like Equilab or Flopzilla to help).

Q1: RFI as a big stack

75% of the field remaining. You have 125bb in the LJ and you cover everyone left to act. What is your opening range in this spot?

Q2: Facing a 3-bet jam

75% of the field remaining. You open in the spot above and the SB 3-bet jams for 13bb. The BB folds, what's your calling range?

Q3: Facing a shortstack jam in the big blind

75% of the field remaining. You have 69bb in the Big Blind and UTG1 shoves for 13bb. What's your calling range?

Now let's go through the answers...

A1: Raise first in as the big stack

You can open 39.4% of hands here. You're incentivised to play pots against the players behind because you cover all of them and can win their bounties, especially the blinds who both have short stacks.

In a vanilla tournament (without bounties), you can only open 21.1% hands in this same spot, so 39.4% is a huge increase.

When you do raise to 2.1bb in the bounty tournament the players in position mainly VPIP by calling rather than 3-betting.

If they 3-bet, you shouldn't fold many hands, so while they could 3-bet a linear range to get value from your lack of folds, they're then left with fewer hands that can call a jam from one of the blinds, especially if you choose to re-jam from the LJ chooses as well.

By flatting with their entire range they'll have some very easy calls when the players behind decide to jam.

A2: Facing a 3-bet jam

Your risk premium against the SB is -14.4%, which means you get a 14.4% discount on a call. That means you need 14.4% less equity than your pot odds alone.

You're getting such a good price, that you can actually call with your entire opening range.

In the SB's shoes, because you know that the LJ can call with any hand they opened with and you have zero fold equity, you have to shove a linear range. But you also get to flat some hands because you're up against 39% of hands:

Back in the LJ's shoes, in the same spot in a vanilla tournament you could only call 61.9% of your opening range facing the 3-bet jam, which was already much tighter. This means calling 44+, A7s+, KTs+, QJs, JTs, ATo+, KQo - that's a lot tighter than the 39.4% of hands you can call in the bounty spot.

A3: Facing a shortstack jam in the big blind

UTG1 shoves 15.1% of hands here:

Your risk premium against the UTG1 shove is -18.3%.

This huge discount means you can call very wide: 72.9% of hands:

In the same spot in a vanilla tournament you can only call 12.6 of hands or 55+,A7s+,A5s,KTs+,ATo+,KQo,A9o-11%,A6s-57%.

Today's action step

If you're not already, start studying PKOs. They now make up over 50% of the schedule on most online sites so dedicate at least half of your study time working on the adjustments compared to the right strategy in vanilla tournaments.

Negative risk premiums lead to you being able to open a lot wider and call jams a lot lighter.

So study the differences and then get out there and start calling with "garbage".

That's it for this week.

See you next time.


Whenever you're ready, here's how I can help you:

The Final Table: Play your best poker when the most is at stake. Detailed analysis of over 100 hand examples at different stages of play. Learn how to make great decisions every time and set yourself up for daily progress.

Poker On The Mind: Listen to my podcast with Dr Tricia Cardner as we discuss peak poker performance and tournament poker strategy.

Train & Play Like The Pros: Join the next cohort of my flagship program that will take you from amateur to training and playing like the pros in the next 12 weeks.

Purposeful Practice for Poker: Gain a clear theoretical understanding of the science of purposeful practice and how you can apply it to your poker study & training. Includes specific exercises designed to create an infallible plan for poker improvement.


bottom of page