Freerolls are poker tournaments hosted by poker sites in order to attract as many players to the site as possible. By offering cash rewards for no entry fee, they are a popular and often heavily subscribed means of generating extra funds if you are successful, which you can then use to play regular games. Sometimes, poker web sites can offer freerolls that will allow you to qualify for later stages of a big tournament – the largest being the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
For many players, freerolls are a great introduction to tournament play, with the dream of ultimately winning vast amounts of cash; however, there are some drawbacks which the new player may not be aware of.
The standard of play on freerolls is very loose. This means that it is not representative of what playing for cash is all about. In the same way as when you compete for play chips, it does not really matter if you lose, as the game has not cost you anything other than your time. By developing your game around the standard of play that you find during freeroll tournaments, you may get a nasty shock when you start playing for cash.
Time is the second consideration. If you are regularly competing in freerolls and find that you make good finishing positions, then you should really be playing for real money. Typically, a well subscribed freeroll will take several hours to complete in order that you win a few dollars. By dedicating the same amount of time to (say) a $1 tournament, you could have won considerably more. When you develop into an experienced player the $/hour rate that you are playing for will be a gauge of how successful you have become.
Some sites have terms regarding your participation in freeroll competitions. Occasionally, you may only be allowed to enter one if you have deposited funds in your account or collected a certain number of “player points”. To avoid disappointment, you should read the conditions relating to freeroll entry on each of the sites.
Some of the best freerolls can be found on these sites
Full Tilt Poker offers a program with games starting each two hours and the top 250 places being awarded a seat in their weekend final that has $1.000 in prize money available.
Full Tilt is offering “nationality specific” freerolls each day, with prize funds ranging from $50 to $200, and having freeroll satellite tournaments to big prize money tournaments, their $750.000 monthly jackpot game.
The smaller web sites also offer freerolls are much easier to obtain prize money in, as they generally contain players of a lower calibre and are not so well subscribed to. For new players, these are the best ones to enter, as they are free to compete in and offer valuable experience for when it comes to larger, cash tournaments.