If you are thinking of playing the Unibet SuperNova PKO this weekend, Dara O’Kearney has the quickest of primers for you.
At the start of my new book PKO Poker Strategy we have a section called PKOs in 30 Minutes. We don’t really share much theory but give a quick paint-by-numbers rundown of what you can do to improve your PKO game instantly. We did this simply so the reader might be able to see the benefits at the tables right away, before finishing the book.
This weekend my sponsor Unibet have made their flagship tournament, The SuperNova, a PKO (details below). I realise this doesn’t give people much time at all, so today I have condensed that priming chapter even more, to give you a fighting chance. PKOs are getting very popular and are the least solved form of poker, so don’t use this as an excuse not to learn them, think of it as a springboard for future learning.
Play more pots against people you cover
When you can eliminate another player and win their bounty, the focus should be on how you can keep them in the pot for long enough that a chance to get all their chips comes up.
First and foremost, play more pots against them. That means defending your big blind wider than normal when they are in the pot and opening more hands when they are acting behind you. “You have to be in it to win it” is usually terrible poker advice, but it applies here.
When you do have the potential to win a bounty and you have made a hand or massive draw, a cardinal sin of PKOs would be leaving chips on the table. If you get cute making small inducing bets in the hopes the bounty will reshove, you not only lose those extra chips when your strategy doesn’t work out you also miss a bounty. Be prepared to bet big when you think you have a good enough hand to win a bounty. If you have a hand that could win a bounty make sure you, in the words of Doyle Brunson, “put your opponent to a decision for all their chips”.
Fold equity is not that important
Bluffing really isn’t much of a thing in PKOs. Yes, there are spots and players where you can take down a pot knowing you have the worst hand, but as a general rule, you should play with the expectation that people are looking to call against you, especially when they can win a big bounty. When your bounty is big enough it will sometimes be correct for your opponents to call you with 100% of their range; don’t complain if you try to steal a pot and it goes terribly, your opponent has a much bigger incentive to call you than usual.
That said, this doesn’t mean you should be shoving and raising with a tight range, quite the opposite. Knowing that you will get called lighter than usual, you can sometimes shove wider correctly knowing you will get called by a lot of weaker hands that would never normally call you. Plus, now and then, you will take down the pot uncontested.
For this reason, you will have to adjust your shoving range to be weighted more towards hands that do well at showdown. Hands which don’t need to improve against a wide range. Small pairs do worse in PKOs because they get called by a very wide range that is usually flipping against them. High broadway hands do better in PKOs than regular MTTs, not because they contain blockers, but because they get called by hands they dominate more often. Shoving from the cutoff with K3 suited might get a call from JT offsuit and hold, for example. This is something that you would never see in a regular tournament.
The above advice barely scratches the surface in PKOs but it covers the biggest mistakes the regulars make in them. Join us this weekend in the SuperNova and you will no doubt see lots of players making the fundamental error of treating it like a regular ‘Vanilla’ MTT.
The SuperNova is a PKO this week
While Unibet are inbetween their online tournament series they are trying something a little different on September 13.
On that day their flagship SuperNova Main Events are going to be played as Progressive Knockout tournaments.
These tournaments are already great value because they have been overlaying every weekend, now they will pack a punch with bounties. On top of that the usual €20,000 guarantee for the €100 SuperNova will that week be €25,000.
For the first time there will also be a €10 SuperNova Mini with a €2,500 guarantee and the €1 SuperNova Nano with a €250 guarantee.
You can expect these events to be soft as all the regulars adjust to the changing dynamics of PKOs.
Increased guarantee and free books
Unibet is also the home of Ambassador and PokerStrategy.com contributor Dara O’Kearney, the co-author of PKO Poker Strategy. As such there will be some added value prizes in these events*:
- Anyone who cashes in the €25,000 Guaranteed SuperNova gets a digital copy of PKO Poker Strategy
- Anyone who makes the final table of the €2,500 Guaranteed Mini SuperNova gets a digital copy of PKO Poker Strategy
- The winner of the €250 Guaranteed Nano SuperNova gets a digital copy of PKO Poker Strategy
Qualifiers will be running around the clock at Unibet.
*Players from Belgium and Sweden are not eligible for the added value books promotion.
Dara O’Kearney’s new book PKO Poker Strategy is available on kindle or paperback at Amazon right now.