Freeroll strategy

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Jeffrey | Poker Articles, Poker Freeroll, Poker Tournament

Submitted by Adam, this article belongs to the Poker Tournament series.

Many poker players look down on freerolls because they feel they’re above it.  They view them as meaningless repositories for poor players who can’t afford the buy-in for proper tournaments or cash games. The truth is though that many of the world’s best players exercise games in freerolls because they provide a means of earning cash with zero risk.  Annette Obrestad, winner of the WSOPE 2007, and Tom Durrrr Dwan both built up their monumental bankrolls from freerolls.  With the standard level in these games very low, freeroll tournaments provide an excellent way of making coinage with large guaranteed prizepools.

Freeroll Tournament Strategy
Freerolls encumber poor competition by nature. Because of this, regular MTT strategy is not necessarily the best approach.  With weak players, you should aim to play more aggressive than usual with limited players in the pot, however at the beginning stages of a tournament your starting hand range should only include premium hands such as AK, JJ etc.

The reason freerolls are so easy is because accumulating chips is so easy in the beginning and middle stages of a freeroll tournament. Blind stealing, value shoving and pure bluffs will all work for you.  Accumulating chips at the middle stage in any tournament is one of the most important factors for succeeding.  It affords you the ability to play pure poker and control the table and bluff blinds.  Because of the weakness of players generally in freerolls, you should always bet a flop with 2 opponents or less.  Chances are a half-pot or pot-sized bet will fold any player who’s missed the pot.  In terms of differences between freeroll strategy and regular cash tournaments, I’d also recommend no squeeze play for the sake of a bluff.  Players won’t be at a high enough level to read a strong hand, so faking one will do more bad than good at this level.

The most important feature of winning freeroll players is to be particular where you bluff.  Because many new poker players are curious and will like to call hands down till the river, you’ll find bluffing a player off the pot quite difficult if they’ve managed to hit anything or on a flush draw.  I recommend only bluffing in the early stages of a pot and trying to steal the blinds.  Here you’ll find plenty of value to accumulate chips faster than your opponents.

Final Table Strategy
Most of the players who reach the final table of large freerolls (100 players +) are generally a higher standard than average in the tournament.  Because of this, you should stick to basic MTT strategy with respect to your starting hand range.  When the game becomes short-handed, you should open your range to include suited connectors, any pockets, and any two high cards.  You’ll also notice that most the action at the final table of any tournament occurs preflop.  Players rarely pay to see the flop without shoving their chips all in.  This is basically because the blinds are so high, that anyone with a top starting hand is happy to take the pot down there.  This also happens because of the variance and price of paying to see the flop and missing.

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5 Comments to Freeroll strategy

Bankroll Challenge
January 14, 2010

I agree, freerolls are great. I have build my bankroll from zero using the freerolls and aim to get to $300,000 before cashing out.
I play on PKR which i believe is the only site to offer freeroll 10 seat S&Gs. A win in one of these tounaments gives you $0.06c and second $0.04c. It may not sound like much but you lose nothing for losing so you can quickly build enough to play the real money tournaments which start at $0.12.
.-= Bankroll Challenge´s last blog ..Poker Goals for 2010 =-.

January 14, 2010

Very good article, I play in freeroll tournaments a lot and it takes much more luck and way less strategy to get to the top. Good job with the blog!
.-= Marius´s last blog ..Microgaming, cel mai mare furnizor de software-uri pentru jocurile online, lansează astăzi cel mai recent flagship video slot, HELLBOY. =-.

January 16, 2010

Great article on freerolls. I love them, and I started my whole bankroll on them. They are great for beginning players or people who want to jump start their bankroll with no risk.

Rush Poker
January 25, 2010

The best strategy to a freeroll… “To Not Play It” :)
.-= Rush Poker´s last blog ..PokerStars Reacts to Rush Poker and Full Tilt Buy-In Changes =-.

February 24, 2010

Very good article – but think that no matter where you are in the tournament you should never give your opponents more credit than they are purely playing their card (- no meta game) – Freerollers are in general just learning the game imo – and to be honest I think it is the most profitable way to learn the game :-)

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