To profit in small stakes and freeroll free poker tournaments you need to adopt a specific strategy. This is because the blind structure and the behavior of the competition that you get is different to online tournaments with larger entry-fees.
Blinds escalate rapidly in most online free poker tournaments and this is particularly true for freerolls. Because of this fact you must always be conscious of your chip stack relative to the blinds.
If your total amount of chips falls below ten times the big blind you should look for opportunities to move all in. Moving all in should not be a tactic that is frowned upon in small stakes and freeroll tourneys if done at an appropriate and opportune time.
It is perfectly fine to shove all your chips in the middle when you’re short on chips and have a reasonably strong starting hand. An ace is definitely worth a race.
You may also consider pushing with any pair if no one has entered the pot yet. This is because of the concept of first-in vigorousness; more people will be inclined to fold when they haven’t invested anything into the pot.
An exception to this advice about dealing with the blind structure is when you’re playing in a deep stack free poker tournament where you’re given a sizable amount of chips to start with. If you have a lot of chips to begin with, you should feel more comfortable with waiting for stronger starting hands to start playing.
The blinds will rise fast, but it will take much longer for them to eat up a significant portion of your stack. You may not drop to ten times the big blind until deep in the tournament.
Outrageous bluffs do have their place in online poker, but this isn’t true for small stakes and freeroll free poker tournaments.
Bluffing simply doesn’t work as well. You should be prepared to a showdown at the river. This is not to say that you shouldn’t bluff. You should, but your cards and the blind structure should dictate how you play for the most part.
Occasionally, there will be opportunities to bluff. For example, if everyone checks to you on the flop and you’re the last to act, you might pick up a small pot by throwing in a bet. However, if one or more players call you, you should play the turn and the river more cautiously.
It’s also hard to pick up any real tells from observing particular players unless you’ve faced some of the players before in cash games or previous poker tournaments. Yet even with that prior knowledge, it can be very difficult to pick up any real tells on a player.
The virtual world of online free poker makes it hard to tell when someone is bluffing or not. You can’t read their eyes or hand gestures. The only thing you can base your impressions off of is how they play their hands. That being said, you can earn more money by figuring out who the maniacs are at the table and who are the rocks.
Maniacs will play almost any hand at almost any time. They may also frequently move all-in. When you have a very strong hand against a maniac, you should slow play them into thinking you’re weak and try to extract as many chips from that maniac as you can.
For the rocks at the table who play passively and will only bet strong hands, you should mix up it up with them a bit. If they check to you, you should throw in a bet because there’s a good chance they will fold. Winning a few pots from rocks can help you to slowly increase the size of your chip stack and potentially help you stay ahead of the rising blinds.
I hope these tips will help you find more success in future small stakes and freeroll free poker tournaments.
Nick is Marketing Manager for http://www.NoPayPOKER.com where you can play free poker tournaments and free poker games with hundreds of poker players worldwide. Legal for US players, NoPayPOKER.com have come up with an ingenious advertiser funded poker gaming system that beats the old “no free lunch” saying. Players from all over the world play free poker; win real cash while being at no risk of losing any money. Apart from poker marketing (oh what fun it is) he likes to read, walk the dog, drink wine and go fishing – combining all 4 as often as possible!
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