Massive freerolls

This article was posted on January 25, 2008

There are a few online poker sites out there that offer completely free entries to some of their quite generously prize-pooled freerolls. By completely free I mean the tourney doesn’t require a password, FPPs or any other special doohickey to enter. You just click on it hit register, confirm a couple of annoying pop up warnings and on yer bike you go.

Needless to say, such tournaments attract huge crowds of poker players of all nations, types, colors and religions. The reasonably good will rub virtual elbows with the clueless virgins, the experienced yet finding-it-impossible-to-improve basket cases and the professional level players. Sure, I know you’ll argue that such freerolls are a useless waste of time, but I’ll have to disagree on that. As Chris Ferguson’s Full Tilt Poker experiment shows (whereas he built up a $10,000 bankroll in a few months, having started from zero), there is value in such freerolls, the only problem is it’s quite difficult to exploit.

Anyway, because of the diversity of the player base in such freerolls, its start always reminds me of how – back in the days – in the American west, settlers used be lined up in the desert and then given a race-like start to go and occupy themselves the piece of land they deemed most valuable. A freeroll’s start is indeed a wild free-for-all melee, but that is nowhere near enough reason for you to get caught up in it with the rest of them gunslingers.

Try to keep yourself out of trouble in the beginning. Use your starting hand selection skills to see a few flops though, but minimize the costs at this stage. You still have more than 20 BB+SBs in your stack, there’s absolutely no need to get jumpy. On the hands you do decide to take action on, act decisively. Remember that a hand that is not worth raising on, is not really worth playing at all. Single out a victim and try to get him in for as much of his stack as possible. Try to avoid situations that rookies consider “full-value” ones, like when there are four all-ins, yours included. You don’t want all those guys getting a shot at your pot. Isolate the victim, then strike. Pay keen attention to positive EV. Always strike on positive EV, and make sure, that even if you lose you know you’ve made the right decision. There’s always an element of luck involved in such freerolls and thus AA may lose to QQ, but if you make the right call, you should be content knowing that you shall prevail next time around. The object is to play well, not to get lucky.

If everything goes well, you should consider loosening up a tad as your stack gets bigger and bigger. See more flops, but keep an eye on how much you spend on them. Push EV+ situations harder and harder. As you near the bubble, set your objectives straight: do you intend to just land ITM, or are you set on actually taking a shot at top spot? If you decide to be the farmer rather than the fox, tighten up. If you’d rather be the fox, you’ll need to play more and more hands. As blinds escalate the closing stages of a MTT wreak of luck-induced variation. If you don’t join the melee this time, you’ll soon say goodbye.

During the tourney, always keep an eye on your stack, because it represents you a lot better at the table than your goofy avatar, and we all know that a large stack means people will “respect” your raises, while a small stack means no one will give a damn about your antics.
When you get down to 10-20 BB+SBs in your stack, things are starting to look bleak for you. You’re not on the edge yet, but you’re nearing it.
6-10 BB+SBs in your stack mean you are already a lot like a three legged dog on the highway. Half of the options available to a guy with a normal stack are but wishful thinking for you.

1-5 BB+SBs mean you’re out. I’m sorry to put it like that, because we’re all supposed to fight till the fat lady sings in everything we do, but the fact is, other than an all-in (and we know all-ins come with some pretty nasty odds in tournaments) there’s nothing else you can do. If you get lucky and double up, you still haven’t done much. You need to double up at least 2-3 more times to become a factor at the table again.

Member Login / Register account

Forgot your password?
  • Change Language:
  • Rakeback English
  • Rakeback Svenska
  • Rakeback Dutch
  • Rakeback French