Free Roll in Poker


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Whether you are an amateur poker player or have been a poker pro for years, freeroll is a term you would likely come across at least once in your lifetime. Now, if you are a bit confused about the freeroll meaning in the poker world, then do not worry as we have got it covered. In this post, we have detailed the contextual freeroll meaning along with some working examples.

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What does the term freeroll mean in poker?

Freeroll is a situation in which one player is guaranteed to split the pot with his opponent no matter what the final cards might be. But there is a chance that he can win the whole pot if some particular final cards are dealt. It arises usually when only two players remain and before the last card has been dealt.

As the name implies, the term freeroll meaning simply refers to a situation wherein a player can never lose but at the most might win. In other words, the term freeroll meaning is commonly used to depict a situation wherein a person holds a similar hand to his opponent but the one with an additional draw component that can give him a winning hand. A player who is freerolling in a poker game can never lose the hand, as he will either win the entire pot or at max split the pot with his opponent.

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Freeroll meaning – Working examples

If you still have a few doubts regarding freeroll meaning then keep reading because in this section, we have detailed two working examples of freeroll meaning relative to two popular variants of poker namely Texas Hold'em and Omaha.

Texas Holdem

Let’s assume you are playing a game of standard Texas Hold'em wherein you have been dealt 10 of hearts and Queen of hearts as your Hole cards. Your opponent, Mike, currently holds Ten of Diamonds and Queen of Diamonds. The flop round comes and 3 cards – 9 of spades, Jack of hearts and King of hearts are dealt face up. If you notice closely, both you and Mike have successfully completed a straight. However, despite both of you holding straights, you have a fairly high chance of winning this hand as opposed to Mike. Why? Because along with a straight, you also currently hold a flush-draw. Just one more heart card on the turn or river round and you are close to completing a flush which ranks higher than a straight. Here, you are basically “freerolling” your opponent because you have a straight but still hold the ability of hitting a flush and winning the entire pot.

With such a hand, at any given point in the game you will not lose the hand. At worst, the turn and river round won’t show another heart card and you will have to split the pot with Mike. But if the turn or the river card did turn out to be a heart then you can potentially win the entire pot.

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If you are familiar with poker, then you must be aware that in Omaha each player is initially dealt 4 cards instead of 2. Vital to this, the chances of two opponents holding the same hand usually increases significantly in Omaha as compared to Texas Hold'em but herein the chances of free-rolling opponents also grows manifold.

Let’s assume in a standard game of Omaha you have been dealt Ten of hearts, Queen of hearts, King of clubs and Jack of clubs for starting hands. Your opponent in the current hand holds Ten of Diamonds, Queen of Diamonds, 6 of spades and 3 of spades. The flop round comes and 3 cards – 9 of diamonds, Jack of hearts and King of hearts are dealt face up. Here both you and your opponent hold straights but you hold a flush draw along with a full house draw. However, that’s not all your opponent also holds a backdoor diamond flush. In the above situation, both you and your opponent can be said to be free-rolling but since you hold superior draws in the current situation you are free-rolling your opponent.

It is imperative to remember that the term free-roll is also used to refer to a type of tournament where players are not expected to invest any money but still get a chance to walk away with real cash prizes.

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