Freeroll tournaments are online poker games which have no buy-ins but still pay out actual cash prizes. In other words, you do not have to pay money upfront to join in – but you gain a better than even chance of getting some money with which to bankroll your entry into actual money games.
Many poker rooms offer freeroll poker tournaments as a way to reward active players (especially those who’ve been betting real money). It is also a way to attract or entice new players to become members of the online poker rooms. For some poker sites, playing a certain number of hands with real money could result in the poker site offering to ‘bankroll’ you (in a sense) to a tournament they sponsor; other sites offer points that can be redeemed in cash value after you play with these.
Advantages of Playing at Freerolls
To a large extent, you can look at freeroll tournaments as promotional tools by the online poker sites– a way to entice you to play and stay there rather than go somewhere else. After all, what is there to lose? You get a bankroll, lose yourself in the game for a few hours, and you either walk away with some earnings – or walk away with nothing, which was where you started from in the first place.
On the other hand, joining freeroll tournaments is also a great way to both practice and start building up a bankroll – or even use this as leverage to get into the big-time games.
If you’re a newbie who is just starting to learn the game, a freeroll tournament would be the best way to get your feet wet: you do not need to outlay any cash to get in on a game; most of the players will be at your level; and you can practice your skills using the casino’s money (whether real, playing points or play money) until you’re confident enough to start betting your own.
Others see freeroll tournaments as a way of getting into the big time – especially if the sponsoring poker rooms offer you an invitation to a freeroll tournament that is the ‘opening card’ (in a way) to the main event: if you can win enough at the freeroll, you can use the money to join an actual play for money game or tournament.
Don’t go in thinking that you’ll come out a big winner though. It is a free game so why expect big returns? At the same time, the fact remains that less than 10 percent of players get a substantial payoff when playing freeroll poker; in other words, you would probably hit it big a time or two out of the ten freeroll tournaments you play in, if you’re good enough.
Some Tips When Playing Freeroll Tournaments
You should play freeroll poker as if it were a real game with your cash in the ring.
Play real tight poker at the start – chances are that the others at the table are simply there for the hell of it and wouldn’t be playing too seriously – which means that you’ll get the chance to bluff and grab some money. Play only your good hands and don’t get caught in the mood of “it’s free, anyway”. Loosen up a bit when you’re in the middle of the tournament – your objective is to hold on to your chips and gather more chips at the same time. This means you should be willing to make a call once in a while.
Near the tournament’s close, start playing loose, aggressive poker – if you’re short stacked, find a hand you like pre-flop and push all-in.
Most poker sites offer freerolls, try one for size.