Freeroll – Go crazy, triple and nit it up
Today the expression freeroll is widely used as a term describing poker tournament you can enter for free but with real money prices to win. The origin of the term â€˜freerollâ€™ comes from Vegas in the early 1950â€™s where casino guests would receive a â€˜free rollâ€™ of nickels when the checked in. Today the term â€˜freerollâ€™ has changed to cover free poker tournaments primarily online.
Poker Freeroll Tournament vs Real Money Poker Tournament
Even though Freeroll tournaments have the same rules as normal poker tournaments we recommend a different approach. Â The main difference between freeroll tournaments and real money poker tournaments is the buy in. This aspect comes down to optimizing the outcome versus the risk involved. And as there is no risk involved in freeroll tournaments â€“ very unlike real money poker tournaments â€“ we advise that you take this into consideration and adjust your game play to this fact.
Freeroll tournaments may seem more like a lottery than poker. You’re up against hundreds and often times thousands ofÂ opponents who are moving all-in with any two cards in the hopes of quadrupling-up. It’s a fact that most freeroll players play hyper aggressive without any real strategy and luck supersedes skills, but the later rounds of a freeroll tournament start resembling poker and the typical strategies begin to apply.
Remember that a freeroll tournament with 1,000 players can last anywhere from 3 hours to 10 hours, so if you are interested in cashing in freeroll tournaments you better clear your schedule. The majority of online poker sites do not require you to make an initial deposit to play in these tournaments.Â
Two freeroll strategies
We advocate for two strategies when playing freerolls. The second one is by the bookÂ when it comes toÂ general poker theoryÂ but the first one is poker freeroll strategy where you can take full advantage of the poker freeroll list above and is based on a maniac approach.
Go MAD get lucky andÂ double, triple or more – Freeroll strategy #1
This freeroll strategy is based on the fact that freerolls are for free and therefore losing the buy in has no importance. To use this strategy it is important to play many freerolls at a time. This is because you will need to get all in on a lot of marginal hands and you will bust in most of the freeroll tournaments and double or more in a few of them generally. But if you look at the freeroll list above we have listed 25 freeroll tournaments where approximately one third of them are availebel for US-citizens (this differs from time to time as it updates automatically). The thought here is to double, triple or more and then start playing conservative. For example in the first hand you play you look down at Â or Â or similar in small blind not super hands but what happened was thatÂ four players ahead of you went all in and this is now a good spot to join the all in show.Â Either you 5 double or you bust and lose aÂ buyin that was free anyway. Ifyou lose you just find another freeroll to play but ifÂ you 5 double you tighten up and start to play decent poker -Â unlike the most other decent tight aggressive players you now have a very big starting stack of chips. You will probably lose your stack in at least three out of four freerolls. And if there is an actual buy in we do not recommend this approach.Â
Tight is right – Freeroll strategy #2
The early rounds of a freeroll ar just crazy players moving all-in on the first hand with 8â™£3â™ , and suddenly you have a 6 way all-in pot and very fast the field of players have been reduced significantly and two or three players have a stack 4-5 times as large as the other players. During this round you have one of two options: move all-in and hope to win as we advocate for in freeroll strategy #1 or play tight agreessiveÂ and wait for the right spot.
Playing tight during the early rounds is a classical poker tournament approach and skill wise it enables you to learn more about the game. It will also allow you to study the nature of other players; which players are maniacs, who are loose passives and which players actually seem like good players. Getting a feel on this will enable you to play more profitable versus hyper aggressive maniacs meaning only playing solid hands and steal blinds and pots from the better more tight players. This strategy has an ugly back side if you didnâ€™t practice freeroll strategy 1 and that is you will often have to fight your way through the freeroll with a smaller stack, but at the same time you will have noticed which players are playing all kind of crappy hands and who canâ€™t fold bottom pair â€“ you see that often in freeroll tournaments â€“ so you now can double up through these players when you’re dealt premium hands. Instead of getting all-in pre-flop on marginal and semi strong hands and instead focus on your post flop play when you flop the nuts. We recommend that you setmine a lot during the early stages of the game, and when you hit the flop you play it hard!
Once the field has been reduced to a third or a half, the freeroll will begin to resemble a regular tournament. Tournament dynamics change radically and especially in a freeroll. Still you have to remember that you are playing a lot of weak poker players and if they look down at their hand and see an ace no matter kicker or a low pocket pair they are not folding preflop. Â That said the players know they are getting closer to the money and often gets a bit scared of losing their stack. The super aggressive maniac approach which is typical in the beginning of freeroll is getting less common. At this stage poker players do not tend to shove all in on any two cards any more.
Turning up aggression – a bit
As the game gets tighter and players seem to become more scared it is a good time to change your playing style and become a bit more loose aggressive. Especially in late position. Â Adjusting your freeroll tournament strategy will help you building and improving your stack while other players will tend to go status quo.
Freeroll final table
Final table play in a freeroll tournament doesnâ€™t differ much from normal poker tournaments except that you should expect the opposition to be a lot weaker. It is essential that you are aware that when you play in this phase you play a kind of bubble play. This doesnâ€™t mean you should play scared â€“ but in the beginning of a final table in a freeroll tournament it is wise to be careful – some players tend to go back to a sick maniacish approach while others tend to get super scared and just wants to fold them their way to the top. Sit back and find out which player to steal from and which players to only play solid hands versus. As more and more players bust rounds gets shorter and you are more often paying blinds. This means you slowly should increase your hands and decrease the tightness of your hand range.
Heads Up in a freeroll tournament
At this point you should consider wether to pick a push or fold strategy or a more normal approach. The first strategy typically is used when you have effective around 10 big blinds or less. Â By effective I mean that if one of the players have 10 or less big blinds so if the one player has 35 big blinds in his stack and the other player has 3 big blinds then the effective stack is 3 big blinds.
Now go out and take down those Freerolls
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