Playing freerolls is a great way to build your bankroll without risking any money. They help you gain experience and get used to how tournament poker works. All the major poker websites run daily freerolls on their platforms for the players and you can grind those big fields out and earn a decent payout.
There are no guaranteed strategies that will help you get results while playing tournament poker. But what you can do is approach tournaments, freerolls included, in a manner that gives you the best chance of succeeding. Play your best, avoid the potential pitfalls, and hope Lady Luck is shining down on you.
This article talks about some tips and strategies that can help you make deep runs in such freerolls and help build your bankrolls.
Also Read: A Guide to Bankroll Management : Part One
PLAYING TIGHT EARLY IN THE EARLY STAGES
Freerolls tend to have a bigger playing field as everyone wants to make money without investing their own. This means that you should play fairly simple and adopt a standard ABC playing style. This means that you eliminate almost all of your preflop bluffs and play the strongest hands for value. This doesn’t mean that you must play only the most premium hands. Just simply don’t make unnecessary plays like 3-betting with 9 T offsuit.
In freerolls, in the first 2-5 levels, all you see is people shoving any two cards and getting called off by two even worse cards. All you have to do is stay patient and wait for a big hand to come your way.
You can make big calls against one or two players with hands like Bigslick or big pocket pairs, but when there are multiple all-ins and calls, you should lay down your hand. You will find better spots to get your chips in the middle where you are a substantial favourite.
TIME TO PLAY SOME POKER
After the first few levels, you’ll realize that approximately half the field has already busted. Freerolls do tend to have players who are less skilled and do not understand the game too well. After the first few levels, the remaining field will consist of players who got lucky with their shoves and flips, and those who are actually taking the game seriously and playing properly. Now that you’ve weathered the storm, you can also start playing to the best of your abilities and playing style.
You might want to start taking notes now. Most importantly, start taking notes for two players on your well on your right because they’ll be the blinds when you’ll have the button and vice versa.
Also Read: Understand the Basic Poker Math
Always keep an eye on the effective stacks before making a call with small or medium pairs so that you’re always in a profitable position to set mine because in freerolls, the blind levels change fast and you can become a short stack in a couple of orbits.
Continue to push your strong hands, including top pair, because many of the remaining players will call you down with a plethora of draws and much worse hands. What you’ll realize is freeroll tournaments have massive variance attached to them. Be prepared to bust and try again another day.
Near the bubble, you’ll find a lot of opportunities to gain chips, like in any other tournament. Try to attack the stacks who have the most to lose by busting, i.e. those with similar or smaller stacks to you.
It’ll be very easy for you to spot players that want to simply make the money. Playing more loose and aggressively against these players, you can keep bullying them and continue building your stack.
Freerolls tend to be top heavy, meaning that the short stacked players will start shoving like crazy once the post bubble Bustout Bonanza begins. Now it all comes down to getting dealt good cards and winning the flips.
Once we’re in the money, it’s now about making the biggest payouts. You can keep on putting pressure on short stacks and those who are folding their way to climb higher in the rankings. The chip leader at this stage is either running hot, playing great, or a combination of the two. Only one of the reasons for their big stack is enough for them to call you and potentially decimate your stack.
In summary, you want to:
- Play very tight in the early stages
- Avoid any fancy play completely
- Avoid all-in confrontations without a very strong hand
- Remember that chips saved as precious, if not more so, than chips you win
- Change gears in the middle stages, but still be rather tight
- Take advantage of the bubble dynamics
- Don’t pick unnecessary battles with the chip leader
Hopefully, these tips will help you run deep in freerolls and even ship them!
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