Posted here in 2005
Someone posted this earlier on this site, I lost the thread, I read it and have shared it with a lot. I agree with it. Mainly has to do with free rolls but I use it to play ALL, be it chip tables, sng, or free roll/big trny's.
1. Be patient.
I've put this rule first as I believe patience is the number one most important quality required to do well in the freerolls
. One important point to bear in mind is that freerolls usually have hundreds of entrants and can take several hours to complete. If you want to be there at the final table you will need to be very patient.
2. Be Aggressive.
Freerolls are multi-table tournaments and you will usually be seated at a table of ten all the way through the tournament. This is a good thing in a way as it means you don't need to adjust your play to suit a shorter table, but it does mean that when you do have a good hand you need to play it aggressively. Top pairs like Aces and Kings should always be raised strongly pre-flop as they can often come unstuck after the flop. Whenever you get a good hand, ie a high pair or AKs, AQs, you must be aggressive.
3. Play less hands.
As well as being aggressive you need to be controlled and play less hands. Don't be tempted to play hunches, sit tight and wait for the good hands then play them aggressively. A good rule of thumb is to throw away any hand that contains a card that's lower than an eight.
4. Use your table position.
If you are first or second in the betting, a King 10 isn't a very good hand. There are nine players to follow you and if any of them have a pair or an Ace or a King with Queen or Jack then you are struggling. However if you are at the end of the betting and you can "limp in" with a call or check, then your KT becomes an altogether better prospect. Nobody has raised yet so your King might be good and it is certainly worth seeing the flop.
5. Vary your play.
Although you need to be patient and wait for a good hand, don't become too predictable. If you only play the big hands and always raise then your opponents will simply back down and let you take the blinds. The trouble with this is you won't be winning enough in blinds to keep your head above water as you are playing too few hands. You need to vary your style of play and become hard to read.
6. Avoid bluffing.
Bluffing should be avoided, except on very rare occasions. As there are always ten people at the table there is a very high chance that someone will have a good hand each time and will want to go against you, even if you go all in. All in on a bluff is almost suicidal at the online poker freerolls, there's nearly always somebody prepared to call you and you have little chance of surviving.
7. Watch your opponents and learn their playing style.
You can learn a lot of valuable poker information just by watching your opponents at the table. Do they bet almost every hand, do they sit back and wait for a good hand (like you!), do they fold easily at the first sign of a raise, do they just want to see a free card, is there a "maniac" who raises every hand?
8. Concentrate on the game.
If you want to find out how your opponents play, you need to concentrate fully on what you're doing. Don't write emails while your playing or surf other sites, and turn off that TV!
9. Avoid hesitation.
If you hesitate before you make your move then it is seen as a sign of weakness. In online poker freerolls you can't watch your opponent's reaction or see them sweat and one of the few "tells" that you have is the speed at which your opponent makes his move. The worst sin here is to hesitate for a while then check, you have just told the table you don't have a hand but you want to see the next card. You will simply be raised straight out of the hand.
10. Don't chase draws.
It can be very tempting when you see that you have a straight draw, (eg you've got a 6 7 and there's a 5 and 8 in the flop) but the reality is that this hand rarely produces a winner. If you can see the other cards free or for a cheap call then by all means take a look, but remember at this point you have absolutely nothing and your opponents have almost certainly got at least a pair.
11. Remember that your opponents will play different cards from you.
Just because you are doing everything right doesn't mean that they will too! People will play all sorts of hands, especially in an online poker freeroll and you can expect some crazy bad beats. Particular attention should be paid to the possibility of straights, if there are three cards on the table like 5 6 8 for example, there's a good chance somebody might be playing with a 7 4!
12. Treat the freerolls seriously.
Although you're not investing any money to take part in the online poker freerolls, you are investing a chunk of your time so take them seriously. They are a good training ground for learning poker tournament skills and to win one is a very good achievement. Not to mention you will win some money!
Gl and may all your hands be AA, or your favorite hand, and it win