Simply put, a freeroll poker tournament is an event with no entry fee. Not to be confused with free-play or play money, freeroll tournaments offer prize pools consisting of real prizes. The prize pools usually consist of small cash prizes or tickets into other cash tournaments. Poker sites will sometimes hold large prizepool freerolls that compare in value to paid tournaments.
Play freerolls on PokerStars. Simply click the image above and get started!
Many websites offer freerolls specifically for players who have recently made their first deposit. These tournaments often have large prize pools attached to them and often range from $100 to $1,000. For example, PokerStars' 100K Privilege Freerolls event is offering entry into four daily $1,000 freerolls for 31 days after a player puts funds into his or her account.
On most online poker sites, players earn VIP or frequent player points (FPPs) the more they play. With these players can 'buy' their way into what are technically freerolls since the tournaments offer cash prizes and do not cost anything out of pocket to play. Tournaments using player points as a buy-in can have cash, tournament tickets or more player points as their prizes.
Some freeroll games offer tickets into other cash tournaments as prizes. These are called satellites. Oftentimes, satellites are tiered, meaning winners will receive tickets to other satellites which, in turn, eventually lead to high buy-in events, e.g. the World Series of Poker.
The monthly $100k VIP freeroll shown in the image above is free to enter for Gold PokerStars VIPs, whereas SilverStar VIPS have to win their way in by satellite.
Elite Player Freerolls
The best and most consistent players can earn Elite VIP status through some online poker sites, which will land them opportunities at some incredible freerolls. With prize pools ranging from $5,000 to $1 million, the awards afforded to e.g. PokerStars Supernova Elite players are immense.
Black Card and Edge VIPs on Full Tilt Poker also enjoy exclusive freerolls.
No matter which poker site you end up joining, there's a good chance that you'll have access to regular freerolls. Still, not all poker site freeroll events are created equal. The following are two of the best poker freeroll sites.
As the largest poker site, PokerStars offers some remarkable freerolls. Scheduled free tournaments at PokerStars happen numerous times daily, but their weekly and monthly events are well worth playing due to prize pools in excess of $1,000.
Many PokerStars freeroll events offer tiered qualification to live tournaments like the PCA.
PartyPoker's Cash Booster events have $5,000 guaranteed prize pools and occur weekly. Though these tournaments are themselves pay-to-play, there are several ways to earn a ticket to them, essentially making them freerolls for good players.
Ways to get into this event include making a first deposit, using the code BOOSTER when topping up your account, winning top spots in free satellites or using PartyPoker points.
Since there's no monetary risk involved, players will encounter many bad beats in freerolls. Still, there are some ways to ensure you consistently place higher in these tournaments.
When you have great hands, bet for value, even over-bet. You'll likely get called light and end up with a top chip stack in no time. Play tight but hyper-aggressive. Still, you might get called by someone with 4♣ 7♥ who ends up beating your A♦ A♠ with two pairs on a flop like T♠ 4♦ 7♣. That being the case, early stages can be a nightmare for experienced players who've spent years honing strategies. As always, patience is key here.
Near the Bubble
Normally, you'll be facing a ton of novice players who don't understand they need to be setting up for the late game. Use that to your advantage by betting big preflop and stealing blinds often. This is especially true when you're near the button and the big and small blinds are fairly small stacked. If you wind up in a hand with someone who can threaten the size of your chip stack, play tight unless you hold the absolute nuts.
Once you're in the money, small stacks are going to go all in light. Call them with any high connected cards K♦ T♣ or better. Beyond that, play like you would any other tournament. If you face a bad beat, take a deep breath and carry on. It was just a freeroll, after all.
PartyPoker has been voted the easiest poker site to play at, making its weekly $5000 Bankroll Booster freeroll easy money.