Last week 888poker announced their Early Bird Rakeback promotion. Players who register for MTTs on time get an extra 10% cashback up to $500 per month. Poker players are not known for turning up for anything on time. So, it makes sense to dangle a cash carrot to get them to the tournament before it begins.

If you play PKOs on 888poker, then there is another reason to register on time. It is unprofitable to register late for Progressive Knockout tournaments.

Doing so actually costs you money and the later you register, the more it costs.

Why Buying in Late to PKOs Costs You

Why Buying in Late to PKOs Costs You

Buying in a few minutes after the start is no big deal. Buying in before late registration closes is burning money. 

This thinking might go against your instincts. Late registering is profitable in normal MTTs. Those games are about making it to the money. It doesn’t take a genius to recognise that the later you register, the closer you start to the money, especially as half the field has gone.

In my 2019 book Poker Satellite Strategy, we gave detailed equity calculations on how profitable late regging satellites and MTTs are.

In my new book PKO Poker Strategy, we cover Progressive Knockout tournaments which are in many ways the complete opposite to satellites. In a PKO, it is not about the payouts but also winning bounties.

When you late-register a PKO, it is impossible to win the bounties that have already been taken. 

More Bounties in Play Mean More Opportunities

More Bounties in Play Mean More Opportunities

People wrongly assume because they can only win the bounties on their table at any one time that this doesn’t affect them. The reality is that you are playing for a smaller share of the prize pool when you turn up late.

As my co-author, Dara O’Kearney says, “If this was a live event with a table with all the bounty cash on it, and every time a bounty is won it gets removed from the table, people would soon see how damaging it is to register late.” 

Another error people make is they think that by registering late there is a better spread of short stacks and bounties you can win right away. In reality, you need to cover somebody to win their bounty, and the juicy bounties tend to have big stacks.

So, you are starting at a chip disadvantage as well as an equity disadvantage. 

The Later You Register, the Smaller the Prize Pool

The Later You Register, the Smaller the Prize Pool

Every elimination sees at least 25% of a buy-in removed from the prize pool. So, the later you register, the smaller the prize pool. Think of that 25% as more rake you have to pay.

In a 100 runner $215 PKO, every player eliminated is like an extra $0.50 in rake you have to pay (the $50 bounty divided by 100 players). Late registering after five people bust a $215 PKO with 500 runners is not so bad. That’s only an additional rake of $0.50.

Late registering that same PKO right before registration ends and 100 players have been eliminated is much worse. It’s like adding an extra rake of at least $10 before you even start. 

To frame it a different way: if you register on time for a PKO, you gain equity from all the players who are going to register late

So, it’s a no-brainer if you are going to play PKOs on 888poker. You get the extra equity from the players who turn up late and an additional 10% cashback from the Early Bird Rakeback. 

Barry Carter is the editor of and the co-author of PKO Poker Strategy, the first book to be written about Progressive Knockout tournaments. 

About the Author

Barry Carter is the editor of, the world’s largest poker community. He is also the co-author of Poker Satellite Strategy, which he co-wrote with Dara O’Kearney, who is widely considered to be the best satellite specialist in poker.

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