Have you ever wondered why you never manage to win freerolls, present en masse in the schedules of the various rooms? We will explain why.
Let’s talk about freerolls, defined in other words as exclusive events, ways to build your bankroll from scratch and so on. But the truth is that such tournaments are almost always sources of frustration and bad beat stories.
There is only one reason: it is often played the wrong way! Just read and ask yourself if your style of play in freerolls belongs to at least one of these three categories. If so, it means that there is something to correct.
If, on the other hand, your style does not belong to the ones we are about to list, we will have no problem joining the group of the most unfortunate poker players around.
Here are the three categories of strategy for freerolls, which you will have adopted hundreds of times but which you really should have ignored.
1) Go all-in in all hands
How many times have you happened to be eliminated by the classic player who puts the whole stack in the middle of each hand? At least a dozen, right?
Have you ever wondered why this happens? Why is he a Russian player? You know perfectly well that there is nothing planned. If you think that a poker room will purposely help a player who is scarcer than you, and then try to get you back up, then there is something wrong with you.
Or you should think of other reasons, such as the fact that your opponent may be drunk – and it doesn’t necessarily mean that he is – or that he doesn’t care much because he is still playing a freeroll.
But rest assured that such a player will never win the tournament, no matter how lucky he was to eliminate you. And for this reason, it is totally wrong to adopt this strategy.
It is easy to understand why, even mathematics goes against this method of play, which sooner or later will backfire on those who adopt it. The more times you play this way, the closer your elimination time will be and the less frequent you will be to cash in these tournaments.
We advise you to write down every time you call these rather random all-ins, and you will have the best hand: you will notice that you are getting closer and closer to a correct conclusion of the hands in question.
If frustration takes over and you start to go all-in every time, very often you will find yourself facing a great hand to beat, and you will hardly get the better of it. If you don’t believe it, we invite you to try several times: in the end it costs nothing.
When playing a freeroll, don’t bluff. Do not even think about it. Because? Reason: out of nine people sitting at the table, three may not know how to play, three others are players lined up in all the freerolls in the schedule, and the last two play without thinking too much.
With every bluff you try to place, you will always find a call from someone you don’t expect to call, and will always have a better hand than yours. Don’t expect nice calls on your bluff, you’ll rarely find them.
When registering for a freeroll, on the button to click there should not be written “register”, but “put the criterion aside”. It probably isn’t written that way because it is too long a sentence to insert into a button.
3) Playing textbook
You read the previous paragraph, didn’t you? You are trying to play once again critically, but don’t forget about the people who don’t.
Forget all the strategy articles you’ve read, because in freerolls it works differently. It’s like being in front of a black hole, where physics doesn’t work as usual.
Do you think it will be enough to make a raise x3 with a good hand to be able to win the hit, without anyone else doing anything? Mistaken! The concept of “raising to win” is completely absent from this microcosm. If you don’t believe it, try.
Do you check up to the river when playing a hand in which there is an all-in player? This will not happen either. We are sure you will always find someone who will re-purse on the river.
4) The strategy that works in freerolls
After establishing that none of the traditional poker strategies work in freerolls, after establishing that we will find people playing at the table without thinking too much as well as bad players, we now try to exploit all this information to our advantage.
Here is a set of rules to follow in these extreme cases.
Limpa as many times as you can. You won’t find this tip in any strategy article, but do it. With each hand you raise from early position, you will almost always find an all-in, even at the first level.
However many times you raise with big hands like A-K, J-J or more, you will have to face at least one or two players. Just go and see how many odds you will have with such hands in these contexts: you will hardly have great value.
Rather, limp often and see how many the most flops possible. The closer you are to the button, the more often you will have to limp. And go all in in case of two pair or three of a kind, you will often find players who will call with a pair or with two overcards.
Call with top pair and top kicker. Even when you are used to playing a little more aggressively, we suggest that you call – for example – with A-K with a board that reads A-J-9-5-3.
Two aces have always been helpful in this game
You may find yourself against a two pair or a miraculously closed straight, or lower hands than yours that contain an ace or second pair. Having top pair and top kicker will often be the best hand.
Go all in with monster hands. When you find yourself with two jacks or better, it is never convenient to make traps, slowplay or other moves to try to extrapolate the maximum.
Just push and wait. You will find a call from a hand worse than yours, so you will often win the hit. And so you can build a big stack from the very first hands.
It also adopts a loose-passive style as much as possible. It’s exactly the opposite of what you would do, isn’t it? As soon as you have done so and built a respectable stack, then you can go back to playing your poker: it is the only way to give a certain image to the table and then change it suddenly.
Always keep these few but simple rules in mind, so as to keep frustration away from you. Last thing: freerolls are proof that you don’t have to invest a lot of money to play a lot of poker.