Cashing In Freeroll Tournaments

Content: Poker > Poker Strategy

Cashing In Freeroll Tournaments

Freeroll tournaments may seem more like a lottery than poker. You're up against hundreds and often times thousands of players who are moving all-in with any two cards in the hopes of quadrupling-up. It's a fact that most freeroll players play hyper aggressive without any real strategy and luck supersedes skills, but the later rounds of a freeroll tournament start resembling poker and the typical strategies begin to apply.

Remember that a freeroll tournament with 1,000 players can last anywhere from 3 hours to 10 hours, so if you are interested in cashing in freeroll tournaments you better clear your schedule. The majority of online poker sites do not require you to make an initial deposit to play in these tournaments.

The Types Of Freerolls

There are two basic types of freeroll tournaments: cash prizes and satellites.


These types of freerolls will often attract less players and therefore increase your chances of winning. The downside to satellite freerolls is the number of paid places is very limited and often times only the top finisher will win the satellite. If you think you have what it takes to outlast 600 players and finish first to win a seat into a $10 buy-in tournament, this type of freeroll will be right up your alley.

Cash Prizes

Cash prize satellites will obviously attract more players because you're playing for a chance to win free money. Depending on the time of day you will often be up against 1,000-2,000 players. Several online poker sites offer prize pools of $500-$1,000 with a 1st place finish paying $100 which is not a shabby return considering you didn't pay a dime to enter the tournament. If you are just starting out and you do not have a bankroll, playing cash prize freerolls can be a great way to build one and practice your play at the same time.

Early Rounds

The early rounds of a freeroll is just reckless, players moving all-in on the first hand with 4♣3♠, and suddenly you have a 6 way all-in pot and within 30 seconds 5% of the registered players have been eliminated and two or three players have a stack 4-5 times as large as the other players. During this round you have one of two options: move all-in and hope to win or play tight and wait for your spot.

Moving All-In

Because you're playing in a free tournament, you have nothing to lose by putting all your chips in the middle, and if you win then you could very well cruise to the final table. Because there are always simultaneous freerolls you could register for a few and move all-in in on the first or second hand and if you win focus your efforts on that tournament. This of course boils down to pure luck and while there is no strategy involved it doesn't mean you should go in with 7♦ 2♠ either. You will always find callers to match your all-in after several hands, so you can wait until you're dealt A-x to make your move.

Play Tight/Aggressive

Playing tight during the early rounds allows you to avoid the reckless all-ins that are bound to occur if you so much as raise twice the big blind. Additionally it will also allow you to study the other players; who's playing to win and who's playing for fun. Once you have this information it will allow you to avoid pots with hyper aggressive maniacs but steal blinds and pots from the more conservative players. This strategy has the drawback that you will be faced with opponents that have you covered 20x, but at the same time you can easily double up through these players when you're dealt a premium hand. Avoid all-in confrontations pre-flop and instead focus on your post flop play when you flop the nuts.

Middle and Late Rounds

Once the field has been reduced to a third or a half, the freeroll will begin to resemble a regular tournament. Now players can start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and the remaining survivors are much less likely to push all their chips in with a marginal hand after putting so much effort into lasting this long.

This is a good time to change your style of play. If up to this point you've been playing aggressively and pushing your chips in the middle, start playing ultra conservative. Similarly if you've been playing tight now is a good time to use your tight image to steal blinds and pots and start building your stack to make it to the final table. Changing your freeroll tournament strategy will confuse your opponents who will have a harder time getting a read on you and this is exactly what you want.

The Final Table

After playing for hours, the blinds are in the thousands, the antes have been introduced, and only 8 or 9 players stand between you and first place. The most common mistake made by players here is to tighten up and wait for other players to knock out your opponents. The problem with this strategy is the blinds and antes will eat you up while one or two player continues to build their chip stacks. The key here is to take advantage of this conservative playing by most players, don't be afraid to push all-in against players who have less chips than you. This will allow you to make it to the final 3 and eventually heads up.

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