How to Play Freerolls, Part ThreeThis was published 23-08-2010
This article is a follow up on the articles How to Play Freerolls, Parts One and Two, which you will also find in this poker strategy section.
One of the most important things to look at in a freeroll tournament is how the players got to the tournament. Sometimes a freeroll is open to any new player. Sometimes a freeroll is open to any player at all. Other times, access to freerolls is gained using player points. Still other times, you’re playing in a freeroll series, and the field has already narrowed.
If the freeroll is open to mainly new players, you’ll need to play a little tighter than you’d play against professionals. In the previous article, we suggested breaking trying to get players to fold ahead of the flop. This can really backfire with new players. New players have a wild desire to see the flop. They’ll re-raise with a pair of twos. That can work to your advantage, but if there’s a two in the flop, then the A-K pocket cards that gave you confidence to raise aren’t going to help much.
The most important thing is not to get into a betting war and go all-in if you don’t have a great hand, because once you’ve gone all-in, if you don’t win it, you’re out. If you’re holding weak cards, fold gracefully and early unless you have a bigger stack than anyone at the table. If you can force others to go all in without going all-in yourself, you can eliminate the competition effectively.
Remember, too, that small wins are really fine. One of the biggest names in this year’s WSOP was Michael Mizrahi who earned himself the nickname of ‘The Grinder’ precisely because he is known for taking many small pots and keeping himself out of raising wars. By ‘grinding’ through numerous small pots, he manages to avoid being forced to put all of his chips at stake and still comes out ahead.
As you play on in the tournament, you’ll be playing against better and better players, and their goal will be to force you to go all-in with a less than optimum hand. When you’re going against someone with a larger stack than yours, play conservatively. Be more aggressive if you have the biggest stack at the table and be sure to play more aggressively from later positions, as you’ll have better information from a later position.