Freerolls can be good practice, and even better practice when they provide you with real money to play with. So how can, or can a person win money playing in freerolls? Really? I mean everyone has heard you get what you pay for, and nothing in life is free. That usually is the case, but luckily, for those of us who enjoy poker, freerolls are an exception to the rule. First I should probably explain what a freeroll is. A freeroll is a tournament that costs nothing to play in, but pays out real money to the winners. They are usually no-limit texas hold’em. There are also omaha, seven card, five card, and some razz as well. I have found about 90% are no-limit texas hold’em.
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Now freerolls vary in a few ways. Namely:
- Prize Pool – The total amount of money that will be paid out to the winners.
- Maximum Number of Entrants – The maximum number of people that can register for the tournament.
- Positions Paid – This is how many people will win prize money. (Top 40 positions paid means if you finish 40th or better you win money.)
- Game Type – This is the type of poker that will be being played in the tournament.
(e.g. No-Limit Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Low etc…… Now here is the key to finishing in the money. First you need to familiarize yourself with some of the different strategies and statistics of texas hold’em. You may understand poker and have played 5 card draw and 7 card stud before and figure you know enough to play. Your wrong. Learning what you need to know doesn’t mean you have to read a bunch of books over the course of some months, but you do need to spend some time learning some basic concepts. The example I use to illustrate my point to people who say they don’t need to know statistics to play is this. Say your hole cards are 2 clubs, and you get 2 more clubs on the flop. Don’t you think it would be a good thing to know how likely you are to get another club on one of the next 2 cards? I don’t mean you have to understand complex mathematical concepts, but rather real world situations like drawing for the fifth flush card, open-ended straight draws, or pocket pairs drawing for trips. After having a good understanding of hold’em comes the most important part. Selecting a good freeroll. So what is a good freeroll versus a bad freeroll? In one word. Probability.
How likely are you to finish in the money? By taking the number of people in the tournament and dividing that by the number of positions paid you get the ratio of entrants to winners. For example you have three freerolls that you are thinking of entering, but your not sure which one would be best. Here are your choices: a. Prize pool is $500. Maximum number of entrants is 2600. Positions paid are 70. b. Prize pool is $250. Maximum number of entrants is 1500. Positions paid are 40. c. Prize pool is $100. Maximum number of entrants is 150. Positions paid are 10. So in which one would you have the best chance of winning? You may think well example a. has $500 and pays 70 which sounds pretty good. Here is how it breaks down. Assuming that the tournaments do fill up to the maximum. Actually example a. and example b. are almost the exact same. Example a. is 1 in 37. example b. is 1 in 37.5. Ah but now we get to example c. which you will find is by far the best at 1 in 15. This is the key. By choosing good freerolls with a high probability of finishing in the money, and understand some of the fundamentals of hold’em you will have a very good chance of placing in the money. Now in these freerolls you won’t win enough to retire on, but you will win money. Then by playing with that money you can practice in real money games with real money players, and without risking any of your own money. This is the best type practice of course, and is really the point of playing the freerolls.