Every so often, the online poker industry witnesses the launch of a new innovative format that captures the attention of professionals and recreational players alike. Especially the lottery-style jackpot Sit and Go and Progressive Bounty Knockout (PKO) tournaments that fall into that category and have gained a lot of popularity throughout the last few years.
The newest trend that appears to be here to stay is the Mystery Bounty tournament, in which potentially life-changing prizes are awarded randomly for knocking out opponents. The GGPoker Network has become the first online poker operator to host this new and exciting format in the last two weeks. Among the big winners in the first two online poker Mystery Bounty events were Natural8 Team Hot ambassador, Bryan Paris, and online poker superstar, Niklas Astedt.
Let’s have a closer look at the origin and the results of the first two online editions of poker’s latest hype.
The Origin of the Mystery Bounty Tournament
In 2021, the Wynn Poker Room in Las Vegas hosted a $1,600 Mystery Bounty Event on the live poker scene for the first time. About one-third of the accumulated prize pool was awarded in mystery bounties where the participants could draw for a random envelope. All those making it through to the final day had a shot at a minimum bounty of $500 for knocking out an opponent.
Eleven five-figure bounties were up for grabs and the top bounty of $100,000 was won by Jay Kovoor, who was eliminated in 55th place for $5,210 but drew the golden envelope. The event created a lot of attention on social media and it didn’t take long for other casinos and operators to include the Mystery Bounty format in their schedules.
Not even one full year later, the latest craze has also reached the online poker scene as well. During the recent World Series of Poker Spring Circuit from March 24 until April 17, 2022, the GGPoker Network hosted two Mystery Bounty Events with buy-ins of $210 and $2,100 respectively. Multiple flights were available to poker enthusiasts from all over the world to qualify for the final stage on Saturday, April 9, 2022.
Event #11 $210 Mystery Bounty
Event #11 $210 Mystery Bounty came with a guaranteed prize pool of $1,000,000 and drew a huge field of 8,905 entries, of which 1,326 players reached Day 2. Brazil’s “morgota” earned the coveted WSOP Circuit gold ring and a total prize worth $94,843.71. That included $2,120 in bounty prizes. However, it wasn’t the biggest overall prize awarded in the inaugural online poker mystery bounty event.
To put things into perspective, the cash prizes on the final table were impressive, with the top nine finishers all banking five-figure paydays. Just outside of the top ten, Brazil’s “Ovomaltine” earned a total of $41,310 in bounties, which was the third biggest tally of its kind.
Russia’s Pikhasso claimed two bounties in the same hand when pocket nines held versus pocket sevens and ace-trey. One prize was worth $240 while the other came at an astonishing $40,000 for a major bankroll boost.
For knocking out Ravid Garbi with ace-five versus king-queen, Natural8 Team Hot ambassador Bryan Paris scored an incredible bounty prize worth $96,630. It was the second-highest bounty up for grabs and made for the lion’s share of the $101,598.35 payday the poker pro collected during the event.
This was only topped by the $160,000 collected by Israel’s “Dalida” when they looked up the shove by Austria’s “FRIGOBAR” for just over three blinds in a battle of the blinds. It was eight-trey versus king-four and an eight on the flop sealed the huge bounty prize. “Dalida” finished in 85th place for $163,100.16 total and will be remembered as the biggest winner of the first Mystery Bounty Event in online poker history.
Event #17: $2,100 Mystery Bounty High Roller
Event #17: $2,100 Mystery Bounty High Roller also convinced with 1,565 entries, which created a prize pool of $3,130,000 and surpassed the guarantee by more than 50%. Only 231 players reached the final day and some of the biggest names in poker battled for five and six-figure paydays.
“sutem” ($93,000), Pablo Navarro ($271,100), and Niklas Astedt ($347,000) collected the top three total bounty prizes. All of them reached the final table and poker superstar Astedt was denied a second WSOP Circuit ring on GGPoker when he finished runner-up to Alex “FutureofMe” Kulev.
For his efforts, Astedt received $524,284.99 of which more than half came from the accumulated bounties along the way. Kulev pulled a different kind of rabbit out of the hat as he won the tournament while also grinding the 2022 Irish Poker Open Main Event in Dublin at the same time. The Bulgarian who calls Ireland his home for several years received the WSOP Circuit Ring, a spot in the 2022 WSOP Circuit Tournament of Champions, and a total prize of $285,413.97 (incl. $49,000 in bounties).
Both events were such a success that the GGPoker network decided to make the Mystery Bounty Event a weekly phased tournament with a buy-in of $210 and a $1,000,000 guarantee. Will you be the next player to become part of online poker history and unlock a six-figure prize by knocking out a single opponent?
Satellites for as little as $15 award seats for the various phases and players can enter multiple starting days on Asia’s leading online poker site Natural8. All qualifying stacks will be combined and carried forward to the final day, on which the exciting bounty hunt takes place. The final stage in which the $500,000 in total bounties are awarded takes place every Saturday at 20:30 UTC. Prizes up to $100,000 will be awarded for knocking out opponents on the final day, and the amount is totally random every time a player is eliminated.