Moving on from freerolls: Double or Nothing
As I have gone through the 3,000 post barrier recently, I thought I'd try my hand at a strategy article!
People arrive at online poker from a range of directions and sources, and one of the most common routes is chasing freerolls
, also known amongst the poker community as being a Freeroll Whore, or FRW for short. I arrived at the CardsChat forum initially as a FRW, attracted to their regular freerolls and the concept that I could make some free money with no initial investment. Needless to say that is not quite as straightforward in reality as it initially sounds, and as I have learnt more about poker I have become increasingly frustrated by the type of poor play that I frequently encounter in poker freerolls, especially during the initial stages of non-CC freerolls, when a lot of players seem to go all-in with any two cards.
Also depositing at a CC link
, but in order to release these bonuses it is generally necessary to play a lot of hands, and to pay the site a lot of rake in the process. The first point to make is that those bonuses are not much use to you if you consistently lose money playing poker, as you are likely to spend more money building up the required number of Player Points than you will eventually release as a bonus. However, assuming that you can play break-even poker or (ideally) winning poker, what is the best way to release your bonus? I have spent some time looking at the low buy-in tournaments at PokerStars
and have found a type of tournament which I can multi-table successfully, which increases my FPPs quite rapidly without exposing me to the large variance which MTTs are subject to. They are the $1 Double or Nothing sit and go tournaments.
The concept is quite simple. Ten people sit at a table, the last five people remaining at the table win $2 and the other five go away with nothing. This is quite different to most tournaments where the higher the finishing position, the more money you win, so they demand a different type style of play in order to optimise your opportunities of breaking even or actually making a profit.
These tend to go through two distinct phases, the first three or four people can disappear quite quickly, but to take out the other two people can take up to an hour more! As you don’t gain any major advantage by being the chipleader, it is only really worthwile playing premium hands in the initial stages, and once you have doubled or tripled your stack you can sit tight. However, once you enter the prolonged bubble period it is important to only focus on taking out the short stacks, and don’t bother becoming involved in battles with people that have a bigger stack than you. If in doubt – fold! Having said that, the bubble is also a great period for stealing blinds if you have a reasonable stack, because as soon as anybody raises (except short stacks) people tend to fold. One thing I have noticed is that the amount of time that they take to play varies enormously. Sometimes I will open two of these tournaments at more or less the same time, one of them might finish within twenty minutes and the other one might drag on for over an hour. The key is to look for the safest possible opportunities to take out short stacks, and by playing these tournaments cleverly you can help them to finish as quickly as possible.
If you are down to six players and the short stack goes all in, it is in everybody else’s interests to have as many people in that hand as possible, because that reduces the statistical chances of the short stack winning the hand. So don’t try to force people out of the hand by betting aggressively, and the ideal option is for everybody to call and then check all the way to the river. As soon as the sixth person is eliminated you all win anyway, so at that point in time it doesn’t really matter which one of you takes them out. PokerStars don’t want you telling people things like that in chat, so in these tournaments they have now stopped chat once there are only seven players left.
They do two types of Double or Nothing at PokerStars. The $1 + $0.15 ones have a slower blind structure, the $1 + $0.10 ones are turbo tournaments. Personally I prefer the turbo ones as they tend to be quicker. These tournaments are quite boring but they are ideal for multi-tabling, and learning to multi-table with more and more tables is a necessary skill to develop if you are intending to make money out of online poker anyway.