Guide To Bankroll Building From Freerolls
Building a bankroll from freerolls isn't the easiest thing to do, but the price is sure right! And armed with this guide, you will have a big advantage over the rest of the players.
Step 1: Finding a Site.
Luckily for you, PokerSites.com, makes that easy. Use SiteFinder on the home page and set the Freeroll slider all the way to the right. Set the other sliders according to your other wants and you'll get a good set of choices on where to try to build your bankroll.
For you international players, be sure the "Only show sites that accept US players" checkbox is off.
Step 2: Freeroll Strategy
Optimal strategy for freerolls is a little different from strategy for other tournaments, largely because the quality of play is so bad. Players don't fold, don't have any idea of starting hand value, and their bet-sizing is ridiculous. However, since these are all major mistakes, once you understand how to exploit these errors, the freerolls become very easy to play.
Mistake #1: Players Don't Fold
No matter the size of the raise, you will have a lot of trouble forcing people out of a hand, especially pre-flop. Many pots will be played multi-way, and even people who have almost no hope of winning will stay in till the end.
To exploit the normal freeroll player's aversion to folding, you must do three things. First and foremost, do not bluff. Just don't. Your chance of success is not nearly good enough to justify the money you're throwing into a pot. Even semi-bluffs (betting a draw before it hits) go way down in value since a large part of their value lies in the possibility of your opponent folding. Without that possibility, you must play your draws pretty passively. Don't worry, you'll still get paid off when you hit.
The second thing you need to do is play tight. With so many players seeing so many flops, turns, and rivers, you are going to get paid off very well when you finally hit a hand. Don't whittle your stack down by playing a bunch of hands that have very little chance of hitting. Make sure you have a nice healthy stack to double when your ship comes in.
The third and final key to beating players who won't fold is to bet your good hands hard. Don't get tricky and try to suck people in; they're in already! Bet hard and watch in amazement as they pay you off again and again.
Mistake #2: Players Have No Idea of Hand Value
Many freeroll players are very bad players of the "any two cards can win" variety. You will see a ton of garbage hands turned over at the river, and you will constantly wonder how they could stay in on that.
Before I get to the exploit, let me say this: don't get frustrated. Bad players playing bad hands is what makes these tournaments so beatable. Just because you happened to get slain by a Jack-Five offsuit on this occasion is no reason to go on tilt. And don't get sucked in to their insanity! You're going to see a lot of bad hands dragging pots. That doesn't make your bad hands any better. Continue to throw away garbage hands and wait for a good hand you can bet hard.
The exploit for hand value ignorance is twofold. First of all, punish players who raise or call with garbage hands. And punish them hard. Remember, you're not being tricky; you're skewing the odds so that they're definitely making a mistake if they call. If you have a big hand and under 25 big blinds in your stack, going all in over a couple of limpers or a raiser is perfectly reasonable. Remember, you're probably going to get action, anyway.
Secondly, believe them postflop. Never think, "They can't have the 34 for a straight after I raised them ten times the big blind preflop. They must be bluffing!" They probably have exactly what they're representing post-flop. Or at least they have it often enough to make it unprofitable to call them down.
Mistake #3: Their Bet-Sizing is Ridiculous
The two most common mistakes freeroll players make are betting two much preflop and not enough postflop. There is a separate yet parallel exploit for each mistake.
Too Much Preflop
To combat a player who bets too much preflop, you need to fold your speculative hands. Small pairs and suited connectors don't play well against a big raise because you can't make enough postflop to justify calling such a big bet pre. The good news is that when you have a big preflop hand, there's going to be a huge amount of money out there already for you to lay claim to.
Not Enough Postflop
When players size their bets too small post flop, they are usually "sucking you in." Let them. If you have any kind of draw, you can continue on knowing that if you hit your opponent (who probably calls too much anyway) is attached to their hand will likely pay you their whole stack.
Step 3: Moving Up
When you start getting some money in your account, be aware of the changes in play from freerolls to tournaments with a buyin, even if it's small. And don't be afraid to come back to the freerolls to polish your skills and keep building your roll.