Freeroll Tournament Strategy
Let’s start by saying that playing in freerolls in very different to playing in real money multi table tournaments. There is of course cash up for grabs however with no buy in fee you’ll quickly discover that the play sometimes does not even feel like real poker, and that there are many people registered who will be playing fast and freely attempting to double up on every hand, no matter what their hole cards may be. Due to the fact that freerolls are of course, free to enter, many players will not take them seriously at all, and although they may not payout huge amounts, getting in the money seats will mean that you can start a small bankroll. There is a strategy to playing in freerolls, and by making a few good decisions early on, you’ll find that you can regularly get in on those money seats.
Early Stages of the Freeroll
During the early stages of a freeroll you will see many players going all in with poor hole cards and these players are clearly just in it for the fun, and basically they are there to be beat. You can take advantage of this and during the early stages, watch out for one or two players at your table who are playing fast and free. Should you receive a decent high pair and see the opportunity to double up, then it is well worth the risk. There is however an alternative and you’ll see other players who like you, want to see a money seat, and they will be playing extremely tight poker. By playing very tight and only raising after the flop you can protect your stack and make it through the early stages without even playing too much poker.
Mid Stages and After the Bubble
You will find that when the players that were there for a little fun, and those who would try just about anything to double up have been eliminated, that the game changes considerably. Even though you have paid nothing to enter, and the fact that there may only be a small prize pool, players attitudes change as soon as they smell the cash. You’ll see that a very loose playing environment will quickly change to a tight game, and players will be taking things a lot more seriously. This is where the tournament will become a lot more like a real money game....after all, once the bubble has burst, it is for all intents and purpose a real money tournament.
It’s here where you can both win a little cash and learn about playing in poker tournaments, and you’ll find that in the money seats there’ll be a few good players too. Change your game up, play only good hands, rarely go big pre flop and you main goal at this point is to make it to the final table. Once at the final table you will probably see a huge variety in the size of stacks and you’ll need to play your game accordingly. If you’re one of the lucky players with a big stack then play aggressively and shove a few small stacks around a little, and should you be the small stack then you may have to take a few chances, but that’s not such a bad thing as you are already in the money seats in a tournament that has cost you nothing to enter.