You have no doubt read countless stories of poker players winning some money in a free poker tournament and turned that tiny sum into thousands of dollars, meaning they never had to make another deposit again.
It is a story that thousands of budding poker players want to emulate for themselves every day of every week, but a large percentage of them fail. One of the reasons for their lack of success is they often enter freerolls that have thousands of entrants yet only awards a nominal cash prize instead of the PokerNews-exclusive $5,000 freeroll at PokerStars. Another is they often adopt the wrong free poker tournament strategy when playing in freerolls.
If you don’t have an account at PokerStars yet, all you have to do is click here to open PokerStars in a new tab, sign up for a new account and enter the marketing code "PNEWS", then use the code "STARS600" on your first deposit. After that, register for the event in the lobby and you're all set.
You can easily rectify the first of those two reasons by entering the PokerNews $5K at PokerStars, which is open to all players who signed up to PokerStars via PokerNews, and made their first deposit in 2016. The lack of proper free poker tournament strategy will be al yours by the time you have finished reading this article.
Free Poker Tournament Strategy: The Early Stages
Even in a freeroll with a $5,000 prize pool the early stages will be a bloodbath of all-in bets, crazy bluffs, and everything you would expect from a tournament that is free to enter, as players try to build a big stack very early on.
You should take advantage of this by pushing your big hands as strongly as possible because you will be called by much worse. It is often best to bet big with hands such as sets, straights, flushes, or better because your opponents are willing to gamble in the early stages of a freeroll, more than in a tournament where they have had to buy-in.
Forget trying to trap players, bet big, reap big rewards.
Free Poker Tournament Strategy: Middle Stages and the Bubble
Not all freerolls are created equal. Some pay out to a standard payout structure, others pay out more than 20 percent of the field, some even more places. Once you have progressed to the mid-stage of a freeroll such as the PokerNews $5K you will still have more than your fair share of players willing to gamble like there is no tomorrow, but the overall quality of player will be stronger and you can start thinking about playing poker like in a cash buy-in tournament.
As with any tournament, the money bubble is a crucial time in a free poker tournament, especially if it has taken a couple of hours to reach the bubble. Players who have invested time and effort in progressing near to the money places are more likely to think about their decisions in more detail, and are also more likely to fold weak holdings as they attempt to have some cash to show for their effort.
Watch your opponents and see who has started playing tighter than previously, or those who are stalling the action. These players are perfect to attack because they look to be attempting to fold their way into the money so are not going to give you any resistance, or if they do you now they most likely have a very strong holding.
Free Poker Tournament Strategy: Late stages and Final Table
Once you have navigated your way to the latter stages of the PokerNews $5K freeroll the prizes are likely to be quite substantial for a free tournament, which creates a number of situations that can work for or against you.
For example, if you are one of the larger stacks you can put pressure on those around you who may be trying to ladder their way up the payouts, hoping for others to bust.
If you’re a medium stack then fellow medium stacks are going to fear you the most because you will do the most damage to them if they lose a confrontation with you. Knowing how and when it is best to ladder yourself is a great skill to have in your arsenal.
Put This Free Poker Tournament Strategy Into Practice
The best way to develop a winning free poker tournament strategy is to practice, practice, and practice some more. Get involved in the PokerNews $5,000 freeroll at PokerStars and your practicing could net you a tidy wad of cash.
If you don’t have an account at PokerStars yet, all you have to do is click here to open PokerStars in a new tab, sign up for a new account and enter the marketing code "PNEWS32", then use the code "STARS600" on your first deposit. After that, register for the event in the lobby and you're all set.