Strategy Articles

1ยช Tip -How to play a freeroll

Freerolls are tournaments that are free to enter. That's the good news. The bad news is that you usually can't win much money. They are still worth playing, however.

* Freerolls help you lay the foundation for your bankroll. Many players have already illustrated that it is possible to move up in the game without having to spend a single penny.
* Freerolls are a free opportunity to gain experience. It is very hard to gain the necessary experience of playing at the final table, simply because you very rarely get to see it. How often do you enter a tournament and how often do you see the final table in the end? Freerolls give you a cost free chance to train playing a final table.
* Freerolls are fun. You're not risking a loss and a large variety of people enter these tournaments, some of whom are worth getting to know.

The fact that this type of tournament is free to enter also means it has a number of special features, you might even say peculiarities. This article explains what these peculiarities are and what strategy to use when entering a freeroll.
What are your opponents like?

Although there are players who take every type of poker very seriously, freerolls tend to predominantly attract the following two types of people:

* The type of person that hasn't got a clue about poker.
* The type of person that couldn't care less about the tournament.

The players either don't know what they're doing or just want to have a laugh. And once you've played a table full of these types of players, you'll know what this means: A good game of poker is another thing entirely.

* Your bets and raises are not respected.
* It's hard to guess what cards your opponents are holding.
* Complex moves are generally "too complex" and useless.

A freeroll sometimes comes across as a kind of private poker event. Someone always blows a fuse somewhere along the line and throws all their chips into the pot without being able to say why.
Playing poker with a big hammer

If you aim to win a freeroll, then your opponents dictate the strategy you need to use: you have to play with a big hammer - rough and simple.

* Only play good starting hands.
* Make big raises and bet large. Bigger than in a normal game.
* If you've got a good hand, then go on the attack.
* If you have nothing, leave it. Don't bluff.

That's it basically. Wait for the good cards and then you're on your way. A detailed look reveals there are three distinct stages:

* The early stage: The chip stacks are pretty high compared to the blinds. You have more than 25 big blinds worth of chips.
* The late stage: The blinds have gone up considerably. Your chip stack amounts to less than 25 big blinds.
* The final table: This is the decisive stage. You've reached the last table.

How do you play the early stage?

In the early stage of a freeroll you will not be able to thin the field of players by making a normal raise. And even with two aces you don't like the situation when four opponents see the flop with you. Therefore if you have a strong starting hand you should go all-in before the flop.
Before the Flop

Go all-in from any position if you're holding AA, KK, QQ or AK, even if someone has raised before you.

If you're sitting in middle or late position you should also go all-in with JJ or AQ, as long as no one has raised before you.

If you're holding smaller pairs from two sixes upwards in middle or late position you should raise from four (or more) big blinds, as long as there hasn't been a raise up till then.

In late position you can afford to see the flop even if you have speculative cards, as long as there hasn't been a raise. That means you are limping (only calling the big blind) with: two fives, fours, threes, twos, a suited ace and the so-called middle to high suited connectors. These are two sequential cards of the same suit, such as a seven and six or a queen and jack.
After the Flop

The central question after the flop is: Do you have anything? If not, then the round is over for you.
If you have two pairs or better, then you go all-in.

If you're holding a flush draw or open-ended straight draw (OESD), you should only go all-in if a number of opponents have already continued to put chips in the pot.

If you're holding a top pair, i.e. a pair made up of one of your starting cards and the highest community card, then you only go all-in if you have a maximum of two opponents. Proceed very carefully if you're playing against more than two opponents.
How do you play the late stage?

The late stage begins when you only have about 20-25 big blinds left in chips. The strategy you have to follow in this case is: raise or fold. So you either raise or fold preflop. And as soon as an opponent after or before you raises you should go all-in or fold, depending on the cards you have, of course. Just pressing the call button with the intention of looking at a flop or limping is strictly prohibited from now on.

Take a close look at the players with low chip stacks. You'll need decent cards to play against them, because they're just waiting for the opportunity to throw all their chips in.

Be sure not to challenge aggressive players who have more chips than you do. You'll need to have a strong hand to play them.
Before the Flop

Raise in any position if you're holding AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT or AK to about four big blinds. If anyone raises that, go all-in.

Also raise in middle or late position if you're holding a pair of nines. This also goes for KQ, AJ and AQ. If someone raises after you, you should go all-in if you're holding any of these hands, except the KQ and AJ - if you hold those two hands you should fold to the raise.
After the Flop

At this stage the round is decided on the flop at the latest. This is simply because the pot is so big, that you won't be able to back out once you've decided to continue playing.

If you've raised preflop and only have one opponent, then bet about half or two-thirds of the pot with any hand. If you are raised, then go all-in with any top pair or better, or a flush draw. This also goes for when you haven't hit anything, but your two starting cards are higher than any community card (overcards).
How do you play the final table?

Basically, the strategy used for the late stage is also used for the final table, except for a few small differences. You should pay even more attention to the positions and use those fortunate moments, when all players before you fold and you're the first who is able to raise.

Have respect for opponents who raise in early position. More often than not they really are holding something good.

If someone in early position raises, go all-in with AA, KK, QQ, JJ and AK.

If someone in middle position has raised, then also go all-in with a pair of tens, nines or AQ.

If nobody has raised so far and you are in early or middle position, then go all-in with any pair from nine upwards as well as with AK, AQ and AJ.

If you're in late position, you should also go all-in with two sevens, two eights and KQ, if no one has raised before you.

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