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Home / Poker / Magic feelings and lots of jumping around: How it feels to win the biggest Mystery Bounty prize

We speak to big Mystery Bounty prize winners from the recent Mystery Bounty Series about their experiences.


If you’ve ever won a poker tournament, you know just how good it feels. The pride in knowing you’re the last person standing. The euphoria in knowing you’ve won big.

It’s unlike anything else.

But now, with Mystery Bounty tournaments running regularly on PokerStars AND even an entire series dedicated to the fun format, players can enjoy a similar feeling even with hundreds of players remaining.

But what’s it like to win the biggest Mystery Bounty prize? How do you celebrate while still playing? Moreover, how do you keep your composure and continue to focus on the rest of the tournament?

To find out, we spoke with several big bounty winners from the recent Mystery Bounty Series on PokerStars. Here are their stories.

MYSTERY BOUNTY PRIZE WINNERS

LASSE JAGD “WISTERN” LAURITSEN

Lasse Jagd Lauritsen mystery bounty

Wistern loved Mystery Bounty events before. Now he REALLY loves them.

PokerStars Team Pro Lasse Jagd Lauritsen, better known as “Wistern” on PokerStars, captured the largest mystery bounty prize in Event #44 of the Mystery Bounty Series: a $55 6-Max Hyper.

Lauritsen picked the sole $2,640 prize on offer and ultimately finished in 22nd place out of 672 entries for $121.

Here’s his story and advice for others playing Mystery Bounty events on PokerStars.

Lasse Jagd “Wistern” Lauritsen: I remember the player in the big blind just got into a huge pot and was left with only two or three big blinds, so I was praying to get a good hand as I knew a lot of the good bounties were still in and there were only 50-60 players left. 

I woke up with pocket jacks and ended up getting it in vs both the big blind and another player and I busted both.

It was unreal — I was screaming and jumping around! I had had a very unfortunate session up until this tournament and I was just hoping to make a little bit back so I could break even, but seeing that animation pop-up and the amount felt so good! I remember waking up the day after and wanting to play even more Mystery Bounties!

“Seeing that animation pop-up and the amount… it felt so good! It was unreal. I was screaming and jumping around!” – Lasse Jagd “Wistern” Lauritsen

With the adrenaline rush you get from these situations you sometimes lose focus, but I have been in these spots a lot of times and I also knew that I had a chance to make it an even greater score with only 50 players left.

I think many pros will say that Mystery Bounty events can be quite annoying at times given the randomness of needing to go super wide for bounties – it creates so much variance. But if it brings in new people and they like them, then I am all for it!

Lasse Jagd Lauritsen

Mystery Bounty events are perfect for streamers like Wistern

As a streamer I love them. They create these interesting sweats and epic moments that you just don’t get before the final few tables in other tournaments.

So one of the things I loved most about the Mystery Bounty Series was they changed the formats up. It was a pretty genius move to have some of the tournaments with 10% of the player pool for bounties, 40 left before bounties came into play or even the final table before bounties came into play. It meant you had to make a new game plan for the different formats, whilst PokerStars also got the chance to see what works the best.

WISTERN’S MYSTERY BOUNTY TIPS

The thing to notice is that, because bounties come into play so late, they are super valuable and you can go extremely wide for them when people jam. You also want to just play more hands in general as a big stack to be in for a chance of the bounties especially if the top ones are still in play. 

Often ICM is not as big around the money bubble given there are mystery bounties that take up a fair bit of the prize pool, so be a little less tight than normal around money bubbles and instead focus on stacking up a little more. This way you can play for those bounties as soon as they come into play and make the most out of it!

mystery bounty

A player wins big at the Belgian Poker Challenge

JOSIEL “JOSIELAIRESD” DIAS

Josiel “josielairesd” Dias is a 32-year-old, seven-year poker pro from Porto, Portugal who now lives and plays from Brazil. 

Dias not only captured the most mystery bounty prizes in Event #44 – a $55 Fabulous Forty event in which huge bounties come into play with 16 players remaining – but he went on to win it too, topping the 1,797-entry field and banking $8,799 plus $6,739 in bounties.

Josiel “josielairesd” Dias: The hand that made me the mystery bounty champion was ace-jack offsuit versus ace-ten offsuit, all in pre-flop.

This victory was incredible, and it was very emotional. I felt very peaceful after the bounty victory. It was a mixture of feelings, but mainly gratitude for the incredible feat. 

I’ve played Mystery Bounty tournaments a few times and they’re certainly very cool. I like having the feeling that at any moment you can draw the biggest envelope, it’s exciting!

mystery bounty

In live Mystery Bounty tournaments players get a token they then exchange for a mystery envelope

David “pcs1980” Botty

When his pocket queens held against an opponent’s pocket sixes in a pre-flop all-in, David “pcs1980” Botty – a 43-year-old poker manager from Liège, Belgium – became the first big bounty winner of the series.

Botty has been playing on PokerStars for over 20 years, winning many live packages and even opening his own cardroom in that time. Now he has a big Mystery Bounty Series win on his résumé too.

He finished 15th out of a massive 7,122-entry field in Event #1 – $11 NLHE Deep Stack, earning himself $111. But it was the single $3,489 bounty that everyone in the event wanted, and Botty managed to find it.

David “pcs1980” Botty: I had won seven envelopes before the big one, all of them worth $5.14, so in my head, I was sure that it was going to be the same. I was happy to have slowly seen the bonus arrive – it was just magical! I couldn’t believe it, what a joy.

The euphoria of the mystery bounty is not easy to manage, but I still finished 15th out of more than 7,000 players as I knew how to keep my cool to try to win other bounties.

I love this format. It’s very dynamic and very fun, whether it’s live or online.

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