On the subject of Freerolls and Play Money Tourneys

mendozaline

mendozaline

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I saw a thread on freerolls here in Poker General, so I hope this is the right place for this. The subject of play money SnGs, and freeroll SnGs (and MTTs) has recently been of major interest to me. It's kind of a long story and I'm going to try to condense it as much as possible, but I believe there are some important issues here.

While I was settling on my approach to No Limit Hold'em, I started first by reading some books, then to live game strategy, then to online play money ring games, then to online freerolls and sngs, then to money ring games, then to cash tournaments. {It's funny but that's the first time I wrote that down, and seeing it makes things very clear to me now.}

By time I zeroed in on some formal rules (which I had laminated on small cards), I was playing play money ring tables. When I printed my first set of rules, I didn't even know you could play in online tourneys anytime you wanted to. Once I was introduced to the tourneys in freeroll style, I immediately had to revise my rules to deal with the looser style of the early round Jackals.

My change reflected the idea that the Jackals were getting too many chips early on, leaving me the short stack if I made it to the final table. So, I started vying for those early chips by upping the ante on all-ins, and sliding my scale of hands that I'd play. In other words, I got looser.

Then, when I switched to real money tourneys, at first I tried to use my last set of rules on both cash ring games and cash tourneys. It seemed to work fairly well, but after awhile I realized there was something wrong with it. Namely, the rules were really designed exclusively for tourneys, and freerolls at that! While the willingness to go all-in early does have it's redeeming qualities, in the final analysis it's not going to get you to the final table often enough in cash tournaments. You're going to bust out too soon too often. That's the bottom line.

So the conclusion obviously is to tighten up in cash tourneys. But the strange thing is that didn't get clear to me until I went back and started playing some play money tournaments again, which is the reason for this post.

Play in some play money SnGs (the 180 or 90 player version) on Full Tilt, and you'll quickly find that the best way to make it to the final table is to play tighter 'n snot. Don't get caught up in the Jackal's nonsense. Fold, Fold, and re-fold. Hell I made a final table playing only two hands agressively: JJ and KQs, and folding all the rest. (Maybe I checked my way into seeing 3 other flops, and then folded). Then I won five hands at the final table and came in 3rd.

Then take that back to cash tourneys. Same thing, fold, fold, and re-fold, survive, play good cards, make people think you never bluff, ram and jam the hands you play, (hell you may even bluff when they least expect it), and don't lose your patience......find it, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

Maybe it really all boils down to knowing how to play poker, which is why you see so many of the same pros at the major tournaments, and that there is no Holy Grail.

But don't underestimate the usefullness of the Play Money Tourneys and Freerolls.
 
MR X

MR X

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Play money and real money are two completely different games.
 
A

ayasak

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imho,

One huge difference in play during the early stages of freeroll/play money tourney and cash tourney. In most freerolls/play money tourney, some players move in with anything hoping to get lucky, you probably dont see this often in the early stages of cash tourney.

The level of buy-in also significantly affect how people play, eg. the 80K Play Money SNGs on PS. I would say the level of play might be better than some $1 SNGs.

personally, i would say freerolls/play money tourneys are great for training your patience.
 
mendozaline

mendozaline

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personally, i would say freerolls/play money tourneys are great for training your patience.
Yes, that's it. I started to really get into folding: "take this....and this....." and as soon as you lose your patience and get caught up in an all-in KT hand, it's : zip boom bamm, thank you ma'am.....NEXT.
 
pigpen02

pigpen02

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Good insight to tournament play, Mendozaline. I agree with all that you said.
 
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ayasak

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Yes, that's it. I started to really get into folding: "take this....and this....." and as soon as you lose your patience and get caught up in an all-in KT hand, it's : zip boom bamm, thank you ma'am.....NEXT.


lol
it happens to me too!
 
Four Dogs

Four Dogs

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Play money and real money are two completely different games.
I disagree. They're the same game. they play differently but that can be said of different limits as well. In freerolls and play mony games you're dealing with entirerly different skill sets and motivations than you are at real money games and buy-ins. I think Mendoza is just trying to point out that there is value in understanding these differences and I agree completely.

By value I think were talking more about experience than dollars. I'm always amazed at the horrible freeroll like play you find even at huge events like the wsop. Remember Dmitri Nobles in 2006? This brand of player exists at all levels, maybe not in the concentration you find in a freeroll, but they're out there and you need to know how to play them. In my experience, tighter is righter.
 
mendozaline

mendozaline

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This brand of player exists at all levels, maybe not in the concentration you find in a freeroll, but they're out there and you need to know how to play them. In my experience, tighter is righter.
Thanks Four Dogs.

I always viewed the freerolls and play money games as "practice". It just took awhile to figure out what the hell I was praticing. After going around in one big circle, I came to realize that I'd rather be the short stack at the final table than bust out in the first few rounds of the tournament.
 
mendozaline

mendozaline

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Bad Beats in Freerolls vs Real Money Tourneys

Another thing occurred to me. Playing in freerolls is a good "calibration" or "baseline" for determining the frequency of bad beats. Afterall, we have to assume that it would be the height of insanity to think anyone would go to the trouble to "rig" play money tournaments, where there is nothing at stake but play money chips (i.e., no satellites, no cash payout, no entries into bigger cash tourneys, etc.). Just the kind that allow you to play for the fun of it.

I've been playing about 50/50 play/real money tourneys, and my first impression is that the bad beat frequency is lower in play money tournaments. I know it's a subjective interpretation, but it seems to me like I never win with AK in real money tourneys, but in play moneys it appears to be the powerhouse "Big Slick" it's supposed to be. Last night when I went all-in with AKs in round one of a play money SnG, the flop was AK8 and the turn was A. Ha! I once lost 6 times in a row with AK in real money tourneys. Random chance? Maybe.

I know we all have "biases" where we tend to remember what supports our theories and ignore what doesn't, but I'd be interested in hearing others view on this. Do you see as many bad beats in play money tournaments?:rolleyes:
 
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