Whether you’re looking to build a bankroll or stop a losing skid, there is no better way to gain free money than by entering into a few freerolls.

These no-buy-in contests have become staple offerings at most online poker sites. Players could, with a large amount of practice, probably pay many of their monthly bills simply by winning freerolls at Poker Stars or Full Tilt. There’s a lot of money out there to be had, if you can figure out how to get at it.

Toward that end, I’ve decided to discuss some ways in which freeroll tournaments present a challenge to your regular strategy. Because of the tournament’s free nature, many individuals will alter their style completely. This is something that an effective player must learn to combat and resist.

In freerolls, there will always be players who are simply there to gamble. Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of all-in bets with an unsuited ace and low kicker. This holds especially true in the low-end freerolls. Whatever you do, don’t lower your standards of play just because everyone around you is. King-deuce and Jack-seven are still bad hands, even in a no-buy-in tournament. Maintain a cool head, tighten up your game, and strike when you have a real shot at winning.

Don’t play like a fool just because there’s none of your own money at stake. Often times, I see players make reckless, inexplicable calls when playing in freerolls. This is good for me, because the field thins out more quickly as a consequence. But if you’re in it to win, be sure to stick to your guns. Play smart, sound mechanical poker, and you should be able to reach the money.

On a different note, however, freerolls can also offer you a chance to practice some more advanced strategy. It gives students of the game an excellent opportunity to mix in a few creative plays they’ve been dying to try out. As always, be aware of your opponents’ tendencies before you try anything too funky. But don’t be afraid to polish some of the new tools in your arsenal.

Knowing what you’re playing for is a key ingredient in choosing the proper freeroll. Consider carefully just how much your time is worth. Will the thought of wining a $10 first prize be enough to hold your attention through an entire four hour tournament? If not, then you’re in the wrong place. You’ll probably make it halfway through, and then grow tired of the game. Sloppy play will follow, and soon you’ll be busted out with nothing to show for your wasted time.

Make sure that the prize is something you’re willing to wait on. Look especially for money added tournaments and guaranteed prize events. A $10 first prize may not hold your interest, but a $200 one certainly could.

In closing, it is possible to build a bankroll on nothing but freeroll tournaments. It’ll take a lot of work, but you’ll be a better player for it. Poker Stars and Full Tilt alone hand out thousands of dollars in free prizes every day. What have you got to lose by checking it out?

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