Freerolls are the first experience that many players have with poker tournaments. They are free, as the name suggests, and they are also a lot of fun. But they don’t play out like a traditional real money poker tournament and are usually much more aggressive.
Whether you’re completely new to poker freerolls or you’re just looking for a few extra freebies, the following guide will help.
What are Poker Freerolls?
Poker freerolls are poker tournaments that you can enter for free and win real prizes.
The biggest freerolls are offered as an incentive for new players. Typically, you’ll be given one or more tickets to big prize freerolls where you can win anywhere up to £200 for finishing first. There are also many prizes on offer for other placers.
Freerolls are available around-the-clock for all other players. However, these tend to be much less generous, with prizes usually limited to less than £50.
As with all other poker tournaments, the bigger the site and the more active players it has, the bigger the freeroll prizes will be.
What Happens in a Poker Freeroll?
A poker freeroll works just like any other poker tournament, with one key exception.
In a traditional poker tournament, players pay a buy-in, and that money goes toward the prize pool. It means that the prize pools tend to be much higher, but it also means that players have a vested interest. They paid to enter and they’ll do everything to get a return.
As a result, they tend to play quite tight, especially around the bubble.
In a poker freeroll, it’s usually a free-for-all in the first couple of rounds. Players throw everything they have at the table, going all-in with the most basic of hands and only taking things seriously when they have doubled up two or three times.
It’s chaos, and if you’re taking things seriously and looking for some respectable placings, you’ll either need to bite the bullet and take your chances with a few all-ins, or just wait for the chaos to end.
Are Freerolls The Only Bonuses Offered to New Players?
Freerolls are some of the most common new player promotions found at online poker sites, but they are rarely the only bonus on offer.
Poker sites typically offer matched deposit bonuses that are released steadily as you accumulate more rake. There are also a few no deposit poker bonuses, although these are much rarer than the no deposit bonuses found on casinos and betting sites.
See below for the best no deposit poker bonuses available right now.
[NO DEPOSIT POKER BONUSES]
What’s the Secret to Winning a Freeroll Tournament?
There is no secret to winning a freeroll, nor is there a way to guarantee success in these tournaments.
However, if you know what you’re doing and have a lot of patience, you can swing things to your advantage and consistently make it to the final table.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Play Tight Before the Bubble and Loose When it Hits
To understand how to beat novice poker players, you need to know how they think and play.
Typically, a novice freeroll player only cares about two outcomes. They either want to blow everything in the first round and leave with nothing or finish in the money.
As noted above, they usually begin very recklessly, going all-in with every hand and waiting for double-up. When that happens, they rein it in a little, but still play somewhat recklessly.
As soon as the bubble hits (the moments before the prizes are paid), they tighten up and start to waste time. They don’t want to be one of the last players to leave without a prize, so they do everything they can to make it to those finishing positions.
Once they make it, they go crazy again for a few hands and then settle down, only to repeat the process for the final table bubble.
To beat them, you need to do the opposite.
Don’t go crazy for those first few hands and only play when you have a strong hand. If everyone is shoving, and you suddenly pull a pair of Aces, you can gladly call and take their money.
When the bubble hits, play aggressively. You have been playing so cautiously until that point that if you start playing aggressively, they’ll assume you have good hands. By the time they realise what you’re doing, it’ll either be too late, or they’ll be so worried about getting knocked out that they won’t do anything.
After the bubble, it’s time to play tight again and let them knock each other out.
Focus on the Bigger Picture
Most freeroll players are desperate to get a return, no matter how small it is. They didn’t pay anything to join the tournament, so if they win just £1, it’s a £1 profit and they can feel good about themselves.
But you don’t want to waste 3 hours of your time just for £1.
Forget about those small prizes and think big.
It’s the final table or nothing!
Adopting that mindset will prevent you from playing overly cautiously around the bubble, as so many novice players do.
Did you lose 90% of your stack to a reckless shove? Did you suffer a bad beat to a player who clearly didn’t know what they were doing? These things happen, and when you’re playing against novice players, they will happen more often.
If you suffer a bad beat, don’t get angry and start making reckless calls. Stay calm, return to your strategy, and wait for a good opportunity to come along before you shove.
Getting frustrated and letting your emotions get the better of you is known as “tilting”. We’re all a little prone to this, but it’s never a good thing and should be avoided at all costs.
Remember That You Won’t Win Them All
Poker is a game of patience, skill, and knowledge, but there is also a little luck involved. You can’t expect to make it to the final table every time, and you shouldn’t get angry when you fall short.
Take a leaf out of a professional poker player’s book and as soon as one tournament finishes, just move on to the next. Your time will come if you stick to your strategy and don’t let the defeats get the better of you.
Where Can I Find Poker Freerolls?
You can find poker freerolls on all of the best poker rooms, many of which we have reviewed on this site. Check out these reviews to learn more about the sites in question, including bonuses, promotions, poker variants, banking options, customer support, and everything else you need to know.
FAQs About Poker Freerolls
You don’t need to pay anything to join a poker freeroll. However, you will need to join the site and you may also be asked to meet certain deposit requirements.
Poker freerolls usually give away small monetary prizes, but you’ll also find occasional rewards in their place. For instance, many big freerolls swap cash prizes for tournament tickets, so instead of winning £10, you might be given a £10 tournament ticket.
You can then use that ticket to play a real money tournament, where the prizes will be a lot higher.
Promotional freerolls also give away tickets and retail vouchers..
Poker freerolls are free and the poker site has very little to gain from them, especially if they are offered to active players. As a result, it’s rare to find a freeroll that has thousands of pounds in the prize pool.
When there are big prizes, they usually come at the expense of huge player numbers, making it very difficult to get through to the final stages.
Poker freerolls shouldn’t be seen as a way to turn £0 into £10,000 and nudge you on your way to becoming a pro player. Instead, see them as a way to earn a few quid while gaining some poker experience..
PokerStars has some of the biggest and best freerolls. It has the player numbers and the demand to make these tournaments work. It’s also one of the few places where you can regularly play freerolls with over 5,000 players..
It’s all about doing the opposite of what most players do, which means playing tight when they are loose and then going crazy during the bubble when they all tighten up..
Poker sites can afford to offer these tournaments as they generate millions of pounds and poker freerolls rarely give away more than a few hundred quid.
They also keep new players active and could encourage them to transition to big-money buy-ins at some point..