How to Play Poker for no Money; the Freeroll Strategy, Introduction

by ~ April 14th, 2008. Filed under: Instructional posts.

* Modified June 15th, 2010 *

It is possible to start an on-line poker bankroll without depositing by playing freerolls. It takes patience, practice, luck, and some poker skill, pretty much in that order.

First, some background and definitions. Poker sites offer what are called “freerolls”. These are poker tournaments that have no cost to enter.

Not all freerolls are open for everyone to play. The ones that have the best payouts are the ones that are restricted to regular money players who have earned points and they can use these points to “buy” into these tournaments. There are also private freerolls, restricted by passwords for members of particular groups such as poker forums or clubs. Obviously, to get the password you have to be a member of the said forum or club.

Then there are the free-for-all freerolls. Sites have a regular schedule for these. People who are serious about playing these know these schedules, when the tournament starts and more importantly, know when registration opens. For example, Full Tilt runs three real money freerolls per day and registration opens 40 minutes prior to the start of each one. They seat a maximum of 2,500 but these are gone within 30 seconds after registration opens, so you have to be sitting at your computer watching the screen in order to get in. Smaller sites may have more frequent freerolls as they are fighting to establish and build their player base and freerolls are one way of generating site traffic.

There are also play money tournaments, as well as freerolls that are satellites to other tournaments that go basically nowhere. These won’t earn you any real money to play with so don’t bother with them except for sheer entertainment value. See my post on Poker Porn which talks about playing these.


The best paying freerolls with no entry cost I’ve mentioned earlier; freerolls sponsored by a forum or site. They have deals with the poker sites to run members-only private freerolls part of the perk of being a member and as a means of rewarding members since members drive the site and earn advertising dollars for the forum or site. Besides getting into an extra freeroll each week, there’s a lot to be learned from particpation in discussions about poker.


One final comment about this topic in general, then I’ll get into the specifics of playing in the next blog post. Every site has it’s own policy about withdrawing money if you have never made a deposit. One site where I have $40 I may never get that money as they require either a deposit or a certain number of raked hands and I rarely play there anymore. On another site where I currently have $100 I cashed out my balance once before so even though both the previous balance and the current amount were built from freeroll winnings I should have no problem accessing that money.

Edit: I should clarify that these monies are not exclusively freeroll winnings, just that I started these accounts with freeroll wins. In the one instance I started with a $5 win, then proceeded to cash games and worked the balance up to $40. In the other, I started with freeroll wins, played more freerolls, cash games and tournaments, cashed out $150, restarted the account with an $18 freeroll win using the player points I had left over after cashing out and built that again up to the current $100.


Next entry; how to play the game.

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1 Response to How to Play Poker for no Money; the Freeroll Strategy, Introduction

  1. sandra

    It’s so hard to make a bankroll by playing freeroll tournaments. I think the main reason for the beginners to play in these is to learn the basics of poker, not try to win money. If they are sure they have the basics, they should deposit $10, that’s the minimum and start playibg at 0.01$/0.02$. Those game can be found on full tilt.

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