What is PKO Poker?


If you’ve been in the poker scene for a little while, you may ask – what is PKO Poker? Progressive knockout poker tournaments, also known as PKO Poker, is a high-stakes and often-dramatic form of elimination poker. 

What is PKO Poker?

For every knockout you win in this style of poker, the more money you’ll win. Not only can you achieve a cash prize for achieving such a feat, but your own bounty will increase, meaning that other players have a vested interest in knocking you out.

It sounds intense, but PKO poker has been described as some of the most fun you can have in a poker tournament. All of a sudden the niceties of prolonged, gentlemanly play are subverted by aggressive bluff-calling and more impressive raises as players get knocked out and the bounties switch heads. As you’re incentivised to knock other players out, we tend to see higher risk-taking strategies which are a marvel to watch, and truly enjoyable to take part in.

Through this alternate view of how to engage with opponents, you gain a deeper tactical understanding of the game.

How do you play PKO Poker?

Most PKO poker events will require half of your buy-in to populate the prize pool. The rest will go to the individual bounty of each player at the table. If knocking someone out with a £500 bounty, £250 of that would be given to you, while £250 would go to the bounty on your head.

This means that the game increases in spectacular intensity and each player is incentivised to apply their best possible skill set as the game nears its conclusion. Furthermore, the more successful you are in the game, the more other players will play aggressively towards you, or may try to starve your chips in a game of careful attrition. 

If you end up winning the tournament, you will win the prize pool as well as the number of bounties you have collected. This means that while there can only be one winner, that winner will accumulate a great prize draw and come away with a golden jackpot. The ‘battle royale’ sportsman’s logic applied to poker provides an entertaining game where people can let off steam after playing more conventional poker setups. 



Now we’ve answered the question ‘what is PKO poker’ – it’s worth considering who this game is for. Many players report that they have the most fun when playing PKO poker, and most online websites and provider will schedule events for this form of the game.

Those willing to utilize the correct PKO strategy and manage risk will be able to spend time with a wide array of both recreational and regular players adopting a full range of strategies. Because of the pressure-cooker competitiveness of this form of the game, we tend to see an exponential effect regarding the consequences of each player’s strategic weaknesses and strengths. This is especially true when the highest bounty holder defends against other players at the table, as others tend to enact high-risk, high-aggression tactics in an attempt to get there first.

PKO poker can also be an excuse to learn the alternate strategies involved with the most mature card game, much like playing Chess with various rules and under tournament conditions can give you a deeper love and understanding for and of the game. Thanks to this MTT format providing excellent televised tournaments, the popularity of this variant has exploded over the years. As such, you’ll never be short of players to compete with.



1. What is a knockout bounty?

The knockout bounty of PKO poker is the bounty you receive when knocking out another player via conventional poker logic. Half of their bounty is added to yours, and half goes to the ever-expanding prize pool.

2. How does a bounty prize pool work?

Roughly 50% of each knockout bounty will be applied to the prize pool. This means that everyone has a chance of winning a high prize pool even if they had little chance to knock out others during the course of the game. It also means that there are more strategies involved in terms of playing others at the table instead of hyper-fixating on one player and their current sizeable bounty. 

It balances the game a little more, and makes the tactics a little less concentrated in one direction. This also means the player with the highest bounty at the moment is able to enjoy a clear, more comfortable game going forward. 

Now we’ve answered your question ‘what is PKO poker?’ we wish you the best of luck in future games.

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