What is the Free-Roll Tournament Strategy?

What is the Free-Roll Tournament Strategy?

Table of content:

What is Freeroll tournament?

Freeroll tournament is a free poker tournament that does not have any entry fee. But still the winner gets real money or “real-money value” prizes such as poker merchandise.

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What if we tell you, it is actually possible to make money without investing a single penny? Yes, freerolls are the online poker world’s way of offering a bankroll boost when times are extremely hard. Just by investing a bit of time, energy and poker skills, you can actually earn a sufficient amount of money without spending a single cent. However, to boost your bankroll, you first have to navigate through some turbulent times and you need a sound freeroll strategy for the same. So, in this composite guide, we have detailed the ideal freeroll strategy along with some key freeroll strategy tips that will surely help you get ahead in the game. So, let’s get going.

Why should you play freeroll tournament?

Freeroll tournaments are a very good way for beginners to gain tourney experience. If you don’t want to invest any money in an online poker website but want to play a bit, then again freerolls are for you. A beginner can gain good poker experience as these online poker tournaments feature many free poker games and new players.

What if we tell you, it is actually possible to make money without investing a single penny? Yes, freerolls are the online poker world’s way of offering a bankroll boost when times are extremely hard.

Just by investing a bit of time, energy and poker skills, you can actually earn a sufficient amount of money without spending a single cent. However, to boost your bankroll, you first have to navigate through some turbulent times and you need a sound freeroll strategy for the same. So, in this composite guide, we have detailed the ideal freeroll strategy along with some key freeroll strategy tips that will surely help you get ahead in the game. So, let’s get going.

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of freeroll tournaments

· It’s a great way to sharpen your poker skills

· You can build up a bankroll by playing and winning at freerolls

· You can get good poker tournament exposure

Disadvantages of freeroll tournaments

· Sometimes poker growth can get stunted as there will be large number of beginner players participating

· They can be time consuming

Social Gaming

Social gaming is simply the activity of playing online games with other members of the same online group. The pandemic situation and lockdown have seen an increase in social gaming as it helps to interact with other people.

Some of the games you can play online may seem like gambling but they do not fit the legal definition of gambling . They might involve a game of chance for a prize and may use gambling mechanics such as cards or dice. But  from a legal perspective, they are not gambling, if the prize is not money or money’s worth.

How to choose the right freeroll tournament?

The freeroll tournaments are widely popular in the poker world. However, the question here is – is it really worth trying your luck at any and every freeroll tournament? If not, then what should you look for when registering for these tournaments. Well, when we talk in context of freeroll tournaments, one should ideally look for 2 things – the prize pool and the number of entrants. Since freerolls give their players a chance to make a bankroll with zero deposits, these tournaments often face an influx of thousands of players. As such, players registering for these tournaments often find themselves entering a $50 pot with close to 500 entrants. The odds of winning in such a situation are so bad that players simply end up wasting their time. Ideally speaking, you must always look for a freeroll tournament that offers a significantly small competition relative to the prize pool. For instance – enrolling in a $50 pot freeroll tournament with 100 players or less can actually offer you far better odds of winning than otherwise.

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Poker Freeroll Strategy

The freeroll strategy employed in freeroll tournaments is actually quite different from regular tournaments. After all, players registering in these tournaments do not have to invest anything, which enables them to play more freely. Due to this, these tournaments often have all types of players, right from professionals to recreational to downright fishes and no-shows as well. In such a situation, it can get a little difficult to detail a winning freeroll strategy that would likely deliver results throughout all tournaments. Instead, in this section we have covered an ideal poker freeroll strategy that you might have to tweak after carefully reading your diverse range of opponents.

Early-stage poker freeroll strategy

With players of all sorts entering the freeroll poker tournaments, the first few minutes or the early-stage of these tournaments is no less than a bloodbath. With players having nothing to lose, most of them resort to bluffing and random calling-out in the early stages to win big. The craziness is seldom defined by blind levels, and instead it is measured by the number of players who are looking to build a big bankroll early on in the tournament and leave. Here, you must refrain from playing “real poker” and spring into action only after all the action calms down.

Do not go all-in early

The early stage of a freeroll poker tournament is often described as a time when players experience a barrage of all-in bets from all sides. What are all-ins? To go all-in in poker simply means putting all the remaining chips in the middle of the table or pledging the entire amount in one go. While we understand ignoring this kind of a bet is quite difficult, it is still important to remain patient and call only when you have an extremely strong hand such as a pair or better. A pair is described as a poker hand that contains two cards of the same rank. Alternatively, as a rule of thumb you must seriously consider calling an all-in bet if you had a good read of your opponent and are sure that they are bluffing their cards. For instance, if throughout the course of the game, you notice your opponent going all-in with only middle pairs or a bluff, then it might be a good idea to call them with something even less than a pair.

Tight is Right

The beginner stage of a freeroll tournament is often characterized as a time when the chip stacks with the players are pretty high compared to the blinds. So much so that, players at this stage of the tournament comfortably have close to 25 big blinds worth of chips. Yet, when it comes to freeroll tournaments, tight is right at this stage. Since such tournaments generally have a large number of players competing for a small pot, means that as a long-term player you need to adopt the ABC poker freeroll strategy. As per this freeroll strategy, a player must keep things simple during the first stage of the tournament, by limiting the bluffs and betting only the strongest hands as and when needed. Though, feel free to call an individual or two here and there if you hold super strong hands like aces and kings.

Middle stage poker freeroll strategy

Congratulations, you have successfully made it through the deadly first stage. Now, it is time to start playing some real poker. As you might have noticed during this stage, half of the players would have made an exit from the game. So, now we are left with the players who are into playing serious poker like you and the ones who might have got excellent hands initially and hence made it here. Here, relative to the changing dynamics of the game, you need to change your earlier poker freeroll strategy and make note of the two below-mentioned points:

Be aggressive

You have weathered the storm, now is the time to bring your A game to the table. It is time to become aggressive and make much more moves than before. However, before moving forward, you need to understand something. There is a high probability that during this stage of the tournament, your stack size would likely be much smaller than the average stack size. However, do not let this fact lead you to make rash and wrong decisions. Instead, acknowledge that during the early and middle stages of a freeroll poker tournament, a player’s sole goal should be to earn as many chips as he possibly can, all the while conserving the chips he has already earned. Therefore, instead of worrying about your position in the game or the average stack size, try focusing your energy on earning more chips by being aggressive.

Vital to this, one of the most sought-after ways of earning chips is to play aggressively with made hands such as a top pair. When a player pairs his hole cards with one of the top cards on the boards, it is described as a top pair. This is because players generally do not indulge in excessive calling or all-ins at this stage of the tournament. Therefore, it pays to bet confidently with strong hands but at the same time remain conservative with weak hands.

The Big Bubble

So, you enjoy the buzz of bluffing? Then, get ready to execute your best bluffing skills, because the bubble is here. Akin to most poker tournaments, it is the bubble where the players end up earning huge stacks of money. But, before we move ahead, allow us to explain what the bubble boy means in the context of a poker tournament. A bubble is the stage in a poker tournament where the prizes are the highest. For instance – if the tournament rules state that the top 10 players will win prizes during a bubble and you finish 11th, then you are the bubble boy. This is because you’re the highest finishing player who ended up with nothing. Clearly, nobody wants to be in such a situation. This is what makes the bubble stage of any poker tournament extremely tricky. Therefore, make sure that you bring out the A-game at this juncture.

Coming back to poker freeroll strategy, so the money is close and the players are being as aggressive as they can be because nobody wants to end up with nothing. What should be the ideal freeroll strategy? Well, dart all your attention towards the short stack players who would likely bust any minute. These players are actually quite easy to spot because they usually hold short stacks and are thus willing to give up the blinds quite easily. A blind is described as the first forced bet in a game of poker. You should ideally bluff these guys at every point. However, if they do show some resistance then immediately back-off because they likely hold a strong set of cards.

Last stage poker freeroll strategy

So, you have made it this far in the game. Give a pat on your back but do not forget that you will have to adopt an extremely strong freeroll strategy from here on. Majorly because, at the last stage or the final table of the freeroll tournament, the blinds generally become quite large as compared to the stack size of the players. Here, you need to keep two things in mind:

Do not mess with big stack players

This is because if you outrightly try to bluff the big stack player, then he will most likely call your bet (calling a bet means matching or raising the amount of the bet). This in turn would likely hurt your game far more than his.

Watch out for small stack players

So, these were the players who were scraping for money during the big bubble but now they have procured enough money, enabling them to make some smart moves. To win, they need to win some pots and for that they often adopt the high-risk freeroll strategy. Therefore, even a slight provocation and they would likely move all-in. Therefore, do not take a chance with them if you do not hold an absolutely strong hand.

Moreover short stack players are also the ones who are most likely to bluff. So, be prepared to catch their bluff and call them if you read that they are moving with a real bad hand.

Top 4 poker freeroll strategy tips

Making a huge bankroll through freeroll tournaments often turns out to be a tedious affair, especially if you are looking to push on any two random hands without any real strategy in play. For the same reason, in this section we have detailed the top 4 freeroll strategy tips that will surely help you earn the much-needed edge that is required in these tournaments.

Play without fear

In most of the poker tournaments, players are advised to follow the strategy of selective aggression. This is because as a tournament player, it is important for you to separate the chips from the real money you have invested in the game. This will help you calculate the amount of real money you are willing to risk and lose in the game. However, in a poker freeroll tournament, you have not invested anything. So, there should not be a reason to worry even if you end up losing all the chips. Now, that the financial pressure is off your head, you must shed the fear that comes with losing money as well. While playing a freeroll tournament, just play as fearlessly as you potentially can, though try not to go overboard. Follow the strategy detailed above, and call the bets as and when you think is necessary.

Target the no-show players (Always)

Though annoying, a lot of the players enrolled in the freeroll tournament are essentially the no-show types. Who is a no-show player? A no-show is a player who you will likely find sitting at the end of the table with absolutely no interest whatsoever in the game. However, if you find more than 2-3 such players on your table then be prepared to start building your stack. This is because if every player who has played before you has already folded and the ones supposed to play after you are just sitting around then you should target them for sure and take the pot money home.

Stay alert about the changing dynamics of the game

Many poker players would admit that things generally change quite dramatically in freeroll poker tournaments. While the start of a freeroll tournament is often a complete frenzy, it is the middle and late stages where the real game starts. As the luck riders simply start dropping off from the tournament, the skilled and experienced players take over the game. This means it becomes imperative for a player to play tactfully during these stages and use far more tricks and plays that he potentially didn’t use at the start. Always remember, great tournament players generally stay alert about the changing dynamics of the game and thereafter plan and execute their freeroll strategies accordingly.

Put the bubble to your advantage

Akin to any other poker tournament in the world, players in general tighten up even during the freeroll tournament bubble. Yes, we have detailed the ideal strategy for getting through the bubble. But what if now we tell you to embrace the bubble! While it does make sense to tighten up during a bubble when you have money invested in a tournament, it makes little sense to do the same in a freeroll tournament. Since in these tournaments you do not stand to lose anything, just try to put pressure on your opponents and try to win as much as you potentially can. Since you came with nothing it wouldn’t truly hurt if you leave with nothing. However, if you embrace the bubble and use the strategy detailed above then you actually stand to win a lot.


Needless to say, freerolls or for that matter any poker tournament in the world is a matter of timing, observation and dynamics. However, when it comes to freeroll tournaments, you have to navigate through the tedious path with unknown opponents and unnecessary betting and action. Now, it is up to you how you put this information together and use it to your advantage. Oh! Practice has a huge role to play in freeroll tournaments as well. So, practise well, master the poker freeroll strategy and get ready to earn money like never before. The best part is that the freeroll tournaments are part of online poker gaming apps as well.

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About The  

Kanchan Sharma
Kanchan Sharma

Kanchan Sharma started her career as a learning designer at an MNC while pursuing poker as a hobby. However, she soon pivoted to becoming a professional MTT (Multi Table Tournaments) player. She is currently a leading player, who has taken the male dominated poker world by storm. During her stint as a poker player, she has bagged many titles including India Online Poker Championship (IOPC) for Rs. 17,98,906, Winter Celebration Series for Rs. 6,62,500 and has final tabled multiple tournaments. She continually seeks to improve her poker game and work on her mindset to win the WSOP title soon. Her journey from being a recreational player to a poker pro is inspiring for many people out there.

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