Playing the Freerolls (Full Tilt)
The way I play freerolls
dictate the ability to actually play, because no matter what your stack when you're down to 300 to 200 people out of a 2700 field you're still 2 hours to the money in a nonturbo, and you need to have at least a minimum reading ability.
The first hour is loose, some people say its better to play tight when everyone is playing loose, but everyone is playing so loose you're being moved off of tables quickly, you can't get good reads on anyone that will really profit. Plus, things like KK, QQ, JJ, AK, etc. are less effective preflop as people are calling you with stuff like A2 and breaking your pocket kings or 44 and beating your AK. These aren't really suckouts, Ace anything is about 30 percent to win against high pocket pairs and AK is a coin flip against pocket pairs below KK and AA.
Does this mean you shouldn't be aggressive with these hands preflop? hell no! I get all in with any chance I can with this stuff preflop in the first hour, I'll take that chance because its poker anyways, and developing at least a 10K stack after the first hour allows me to be safer bluffing, raising, and calling later when I'm developing my stack steadily on non-all-in hands.
Now, I said I play the first hour loose which I can't do just playing the super premium hands, really what I mean is loose selectively. The blinds are super low, in tournaments starting with 30/15 blinds, people could raise three times the big blind and you wouldnt even be risking 1/15th of your stack to call. This does NOT mean you should be going in with stuff like 83o or J6o. But when the blinds are so low you should definitely be limping or even raising in mid to late position with stuff like J9s, Q9s, pocket pairs lower than JJ. I myself do not like to raise with stuff like this early on however since people play cautious against raises, even hyper aggressive donks know to slow down when they don't have what they believe premium hand and are faced with a raise. But calling raises I absolutely love, with something like J9s what are you looking for? a pair? no, you're looking for hands like a flush, a straight, or at least two pair. What do these have in common? They beat any preflop hand like AA or KK, there's a reason I shove all in as much as I can preflop, because i dont want people who have stuff like this to call me, I've had people comment sometimes angrily when I'm shoving in so early, but I'd rather take in a small pot preflop than lose on a big pot on the river.
Once things get tighter and people calm down and realize that trying to see every flop with the now growing blinds is illogical and is destroying them, things become a little harder. Now you're actually playing poker, and for a lot of people they get stuck here, getting out in 500-200th place out of 2700. Its a decent accomplishment, but only 27 on a regular Full tilt freeroll cash, you can get 200th place ten times in a freeroll, you don't lose anything but you don't gain anything either. The way I play it, unless I get lucky and catch alot of my big hands post or preflop, I'm usually at 5K-10K in chips from 500th place on. The closer I have to 10K the better I do, because I can still see flops with stuff like J9s, 44, or Q9s pretty cheaply from the right position, and I can't do that as well with 5K. For a nonturbo freeroll at fult tilt to just cash you need to hold your chipstack pretty tightly. The blinds are high enough to make people play tighter, but they aren't big enough that people have to shove their shortstacks in for awhile. Here its not enough to be shoving with aces, people wont call you and aces don't come around enough to shove with them. Its a terrible foreboding feeling when you get things like KK or QQ. How much can you raise? Should you raise? go all in? Any good player will say the same thing, IT DEPENDS. At this point you're going to be sitting with the same people for awhile, you should be trying to get some idea of how they're playing, but no matter what you have to understand that you can still lose after doing so well for so long in the tournament. If you aren't at 30-50K in chips you're going to be too short stacked when you get to the money bubble and people tighten up considerably with the blinds looking huge compared to your chip stack. You HAVE to take risks. But really, stuff like aces or kings aren't necessary to do well here. I play it simple, I bet when I think I have the best hand, or where I can make my opponent think I have the best hand. The only time I wanna get all my chips in the pot is when I have a big hand, postflop thats not top pair, not even two pair. Trips or above is when I'll happily commit my chips to the pool knowing that almost all the time I'll win. Otherwise I'll be aggressive with top pair of course, but I'm going to fold when my 2-2.5x the big blind is reraised all in wen I have top pair unless I have a read on my opponent.
In a nonturbo around the bubble at about 40-50 people left things slow down a lot. People have stacks, there might be a few shorter stacks (you may be one of them) but mostly everyone is going to be at 50-60K or higher. The 30K and 20K short stacks are going to be pressured, a lot.
Playing a short stack:
Difficult. Shove with A9 against a big stack that keeps raising your big blind? Call a raise for half your chips with pocket queens? Shove with them and hope to get a one on one? Its always a hassle to play as a short stack. That's why I try to avoid being short at any cost at this point, but really, if you are, you are. You have to accept that big stacks will call you down with way worse hands preflop to suck out on you, they will pounce on you for your blinds every chance they get, even with (gasp) rags! The only thing I can suggest from my own experience, try and keep your short stack as stable as possible around 20K - 30K, anything below that you're in serious danger. Shove to any medium stack that dares push you around constantly when you have a pocket pair like 99 or AJ even AT, they only have 50K-60K, you could seriously wound them, they'll fold to your aggression unless they do have a big hand (again, reading and studying my opponents is a big part of my game), they want that free money too. Big stacks are still a problem of course, but the lower their raises and the better my cards (again, the importance of stuff like J9s) the more likely I'll call them to see a flop, because I know that yes, 3000 chips is a lot to call with only 20K but if I hit it, I'll get paid off big. Big stacks get blinded, they can't see over their virtual chip stack. All they know is that you, a tight short stack DARED to call them to see a flop that you probably didn't even hit, and they'll continue with that aggression, play them right and you can double yourself up. If you can stabilize your stack at around 40K, good for you, crawl right through that bubble while the big stack next to you just went out on AKs because he called a bigger stack's AA all in.
Maintain your stack as best as you can, get into the money, then take your risks there to try and make it to the final table.
You wanna bully? Fine, just avoid anyone with more than 25 percent of your chip stack going all in or you'll find yourself bleeding chips fast, too fast. You could find yourself out at the bubble if you aren't careful. You don't require a big stack to make the final table, after the bubble is loose, you don't need to bully to gain chips, wait for a hand to come to you, then use that hand to gain as many chips as possible, then do it again. It's simple.
Past the bubble and final table I play pretty much the same, if I'm loose I end up bleeding my chips and getting out in 27th to 12th or so. If I play tight medium stacked 60K to 100K I find myself too low in chips to get farther than 12th also. Short stacked I'm pushing with nearly anything good after the bubble, 27th to 10th don't change in cash on full tilt, its 2 dollars, a short stack tight game is not effective at all, I'd rather push it all in and double up than try to nurse it when the medium stacks have loosened up enough to play like big stacks do before the bubble. Push, people will call you with less now. Tight big stacks with 200K-300K can survive to the final table but I can't guarantee you will do well at all, so really the way I play is to (gasp) play poker, medium and big stacked I'm playing my suited connectors game while raising with high pocket pairs, and as long as I don't get too loose, it works.
Really, I can tell you how to play early, and give you tips on how to play later in freerolls, but you aren't going to be able to do well unless you can play poker, know the percentages of your hand, and have some ability at reading your opponents based on their betting. Anyone can do it with some practice, there are plenty of full tilt freerolls to choose from, refer to this especially in early stages, if you go all in and lose before the money, ask where did I go wrong? and remember it, REMEMBER it, or you will have learned nothing.
Also, my tips have been about nonturbo freerolls, turbo freerolls aren't the same but can be really similar, just shorter and even looser than regular freerolls in the beginning. You're also going to find that you need a much bigger stack around the bubble to make the money, but it comes faster, but as a estimate i would say 40-50K is short stacked. What I love about turbo freerolls is how shovey everyone is in the bubble, after the bubble the tournament doesn't last past 30 minutes because everyone is so short compared to the blinds. (This is all assuming the same starting chips, 1500, not turbos like the daily dollar freeroll or the ferguson freeroll.)