PokerStars Kicks Off $30M Bounty Builder Series

Just a few weeks ago, PokerStars wrapped its 2020 edition of the World Championship of Online Poker. That WCOOP series set records, complete with 225 tournaments and more than 1.1 million entries among them. Players from 223 countries competed for nearly $100 million in prize money.

It was kind of a big deal.

PokerStars gave players a few weeks to rest, but they got back in action today. The latest edition of the Bounty Builder Series is underway as of October 11, and there are more than 200 tournaments on the schedule with $30 million in guarantees.

Did Someone Say Bounties?

As poker trends go, there have been quite a few of them, but this one has been sticking around. Bounty tournaments are very popular. They can take several forms, progressive knockout (PKO) and total knockout (TKO) being the most popular amongst PokerStars players.

There’s a series for that.

The Bounty Builder Series isn’t but a couple of years old and keeps going strong. The latest one is this month, kicking off on October 11 and running through October 25.

Every one of the 213 tournaments is a bounty tournament, and there are more than $30 million in prize pool guarantees across the schedule. Here are a few other facts about the series:

  • Four events will guarantee $1M or more in their respective prize pools.
  • Eight tournaments offer buy-ins of only $1.10.
  • Twelve events offer hyper-turbo structures.
  • Twenty-three tournaments offer non-NLHE variations, including PLO, NLO8, 6+ Hold’em, HORSE, 8-Game, and 5-Card PLO.
  • Two Main Event tournaments will highlight and wrap the series on October 25.

Highlights of Bounty Builder Schedule

Speaking of the Main Event action, there are two of them for players with different buy-in abilities.

  • Event 204: $530 NLHE PKO 8-Max Main Event ($2.5M GTD)
  • Event 205: $55 NLHE PKO 8-Max Main Event ($1M GTD)

One of the other tournaments with a $1 million-plus guarantee is a high-roller option on the opening day, but the forthcoming one is:

  • Event 105: $109 NLHE PKO Sunday Million Special Edition ($1.5M GTD)

Check out the PokerStars blog page with the complete schedule for all of the details. It will also be updated with winners and other tournament results daily.

Making the Most of Bounties

The first thing to know about a standard PKO tournament is that there are two ways to win money. The first is to make it past the bubble and into the money, ideally winning it. The second is to accumulate bounties. This happens by knocking other players out of the tournament.

In a regular progressive knockout event, half of the players’ buy-ins go to the prize pool, and the other half becomes the bounties on each player. The progressive part is the increasing bounties. For example, when you knock another player out of the tournament, you receive half of that player’s bounty, and the other half is placed on your head and added to the bounty that another player receives if they bust you.

The total knockout variation simply means that the only prizes in the tournament are bounties; there is no prize pool. The only way to make money is to eliminate opponents.

PokerStars explains how the odds change in a PKO tournament. What changes is that the starting bounty equals half of a starting stack.

PokerStars bounty odds

The overall key to accumulating bounties is aggression. Of course, it is still important to pick your spots and not be totally loose-aggressive, to understand how the odds change in a knockout event. It’s a high-risk, high-reward situation, more so than in a normal tournament, but the excitement level increases, too.

Satellites Available

As always, PokerStars offers numerous qualifiers throughout the series. Players can win their seats into any of the Bounty Builder tournaments for a fraction of the buy-in. The satellites available start at just $0.11.

Players can also get in on the special Bounty Builder Spin & Go action. Tournament seats will be awarded for players in $4 Spin & Gos.

There were some exceptional stories from the Bounty Builder Series that PokerStars hosted at the beginning of this year. A player with the screen name “Wolldroppow” earned a sat into an event for $7.50 and won the tournament for $26,087 (including bounties). And Canadian player “Meitz4” finished third in that event, turning a $2.85 satellite into $16,402 in winnings.



Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


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