If you have read my blogs or any of my articles over the years, you probably know that when it comes to No Limit Texas Holdem, I love Bounty Tournaments! Bounty tournaments afford you the opportunity to make money, even when you aren’t making money so to speak. Collecting a bounty is a nice addition to your potential equity and profitability in tournament but more than that, most players play differently in a bounty tournament and it can be very easy to exploit those tendencies.
Don’t get me wrong, good poker players adjust their game to whatever type of game they are in and whatever type of table they are at, it’s a necessary part of poker. But what you find in bounty tournaments is that many amateur players get completely wrapped up in collecting bounties and they end up making very poor plays that they wouldn’t normally make. I’m talking about getting into hands with crap holdings out of position because they think a short stack will push all-in. I’m talking about making calls for the same reason. The first is worse than the 2nd because if you get into hands from out of position just because you are trying to collect a bounty, a good player is going to come along and punish you for doing so. You will see a lot of dead money dumped into pots as players chase that elusive chip, as they have to fold to a legitimate (or is it?) hand down the line by somebody in position. I have seen otherwise solid players make calls with hands like 6-3 suited just because there is a bounty on the line. This is a good way to leak chips.
Conversely, you will find many times in bounty tournaments where it IS correct to play much more loose than you normally would in order to go after that bounty chip. Collecting bounty chips when you have the opportunity to do so can make a huge increase in your profit and potentially even make the tourney profitable when you don’t make the money. However, you have to know the right times to do so. Much like every other tournament, everything is dependent upon your position, chip stack, point in the tournament as well as any particular table dynamics you may have to take into account. There is a fine line between dumping chips and collecting bounties in tournaments like these. It is my feeling that many players don’t know where this line it and that gives me an advantage. Since poker is a game of exploiting advantages, I want to exploit this one as much as possible, which is why I am going to play in the $1500 NLH Bounty tournament at this year’s WSOP.
There are many examples of situational hands that may occur in bounty tournaments that are easy to capitalize on. Once you have played in a few and noticed the different rhythm I think you will like them too. Any time you can find an exploit an advantage simply based on the format of the game being played it is a good thing. I’m glad they have instituted this format at this year’s WSOP.
Contact Chris Wilcox at: firstname.lastname@example.org