Freeroll poker tournaments are a great way to get into the game without having to take much risk. Most online poker sites have them readily available as they are a great marketing exercise for their brand.
You are generally up against thousands of players trying to win a small prize, but don’t let that deflate your confidence. There are ways to increase your chances of winning freerolls, and we’ll go through some basic strategy points.
Don’t take freerolls too seriously
A lot of the players registered in a freeroll tournament aren’t taking it seriously, so you shouldn’t either. They are playing for free, and might even have another 3 tables going. If they get knocked out of the freeroll, then no harm has been done.
If you start to take them too seriously, you will get angry, and even go on tilt. Doing this might mean you lose on your other tables too. See our tilt management guide for advice on managing tilt.
Play tight poker
You need to play ABC poker in freerolls, and playing tight is rule number one. Early on in a freeroll, you may see hands where 6 players are all-in. This is not uncommon. Players want to chip up early to see if they have a legitimate chance of winning. If they bust in the first hand, they just move on and forget about it.
Playing tight in these situations is the only way to go. If 2 people before you move all-in and you have been dealt pocked aces, you are in a great position to double up.
Also consider throwing away big hands pre-flop early on in the freeroll. Let’s say you are dealt pocket kings and 5 people have moved all-in before you can act. Throw it away. While you are most likely entering the hand as a favourite, so many different hands can easily beat you and knock you out of the freeroll. Remember rul number one of tournament poker; play to survive.
Play to come first
While this may seem like an obvious point, many freeroll players (and even cash tournament players), play to make the bare minimum they can (make it into the money). While in bigger tournaments you are making some return on investment, in a freeroll you will barely make anything worth your time.
Many freerolls only pay a few of the top positions, so it’s important you don’t regularly get into a situation where you are fighting for survival with 500 players left to be knocked out.
Be prepared for bad beats
If there is one place you will be susceptible to bad beats on a regular basis, it’s a freeroll tournament. So many players play hands they shouldn’t be, and that just increases the chances that you will get a bad beat somewhere down the line.
Keeping to your tight strategy will ensure you are exposed to the fewest risky situations as possible.