Tournament poker is one of the most popular and exciting forms of poker in the world. Shows such as the World Series of Poker on ESPN and the World Poker Tour has turned tournament winners into superstars. Of course, not everyone can afford to play in the biggest events in the world. In fact, there are many people that cannot or are not willing to put up any money at all to play in poker tournaments. Fortunately for them, there are poker tournaments out there that all people to play poker for free, yet offer them the chance to win cash and prizes. These are known as free roll poker tournaments.
Free roll tournaments are different than play money poker tournaments that you see on many websites. In a play money event, players are going after prizes paid out in play money. There is nothing of any substantial value to the player. Free roll poker tournaments are those that actually pay out a cash prize to a certain percentage of the players, typically the top 1%, and sometimes even less than that.
Free roll tournaments vary depending on what they pay out. For instance, a $50 freeroll may pay the top 50 player, with the winner receiving $5 for the top prize. This event may have a field of 10,000 players. This is a payout to .005% of the field. Most of the min cashers will receive .50 or maybe a $1 for what can equate to as much as 6 hours of play depending on the structure.
Other free roll tournaments can pay out entries to a certain percentage of the field. You might have a field of 8,000 players going after 77 entries into a second round tournament. A common example is on PokerStars. They hold regular free rolls that pay an entry into a 2nd round tournament with a $2,000 prize pool. Expect to play around 6 to 8 hours to make the 2nd round event, and then expect to play another 6 hours or more to make any money at all.
Full Tilt has certain free rolls that pay out only one spot. These free rolls are typically for merchandise, such as Phil Gordon’s Final Table dvd. 3,000 players and up will typically play in this event. It isn’t uncommon to see 500 players open shove the first hand.
Sometimes sites will offer free roll events as an incentive to draw new players. For example, if you sign up for a new site, you might get an entry into a $1,000 free roll. The number of players that can enter varies. Of course, the catch is usually that you are required to make a deposit on the site. Another common free roll are those reserved for certain website’s loyal program participants. For example, if you are on a site that offers a free roll for 500 points earned in a month, you may have a regular shot at some free money if you are a regular player.
Certain websites will hold their own free roll events. PokerNews.com has regularly held free roll events for their readers based on different promotions. Most usually involve signing up at a new site, but the events are free to enter and pay out a cash prize. Furthermore, these field sizes are nowhere near as huge as the publicly offered freerolls.
What is the point to playing free roll poker tournaments? Simply stated, you have the opportunity to win cash without putting up any money. If you are a play money user, this is a way to get some money for the regular site without having to risk making a deposit. You also get to test your skills against a huge field of players. Some people like the challenge that the events present.
It should be pointed out that due to the nature of these events, early on you should expect a lot of open shoving by players with garbage hands. If you tangle in these types of situations, even with aces, expect to take your fair share of bad beats and suck outs. The odds dictate that this will happen. However, if you are able to build a reasonable stack early, you have a great shot to go deep.
Also, remember that one some sites, free rolls are not just Holdem. If you are a stud, Omaha, razz, or even Badugi player, you will have chances to play your game in free roll format depending on the site. Of course, the same rules apply as do the Holdem free rolls, but in many cases, you will find these free rolls even softer than Holdem free rolls. Of course, don’t expect 10,000 players at these events. 3,000 is the average on many of these. Of course, when is the last time you played a 3,000 player stud event?
Free roll poker tournaments offer players the ability to win cold, hard cash without the risk of making a deposit. They also can serve as a reward to loyal fans and players. Go to your favorite site and check out what type of free rolls that they offer. Pretty soon, you may find yourself joining in the zoo that is free roll tournament poker.