Ever since poker exploded in the late 90s, the “pros” have been coming out of the woodwork, attempting to sell you their so-called secrets and convince you that you’re good enough to get into a game with them. Of course, the idea here is to milk you for everything you’re worth once you dare share the felt. But looking at the stronghold amateurs currently have in poker, I think it’s safe to say the plan has backfired. Amateurs and unsung, small scale pros rule the scene.
Thinking about becoming a poker pro? Well, start with the basics first. One of the most important things you can ever learn about poker—mainly Texas Hold’em—is how to survive in the big tournaments. Luckily for you, most sites have on the job training to take advantage of in the form of freerolls.
Freerolls have been called the roulette wheel of the poker world. Since the game is free to enter, hence the name, a lot of gunslingers enter into the tournaments, throwing around their chips loosely, hoping to get ahead and play big-stack poker. For most, they donk off chips and credibility; however, they usually take a few good players out in the process.
Freerolls, at least in the early stages, aren’t about winning so much as they’re about surviving. If you can outlast the riff raff, you may be in prime position for a money finish. What are the advantages of winning or placing high in a freeroll? Well, it’s all reward with no risk. If you’ve been looking for a starting stack, a freeroll win will pad your account with some chips. Then you can really start to play.
When the freeroll starts, fold and stay out of the way unless you have one of the four horsemen hands (AA, KK, QQ, JJ). You need to see who’s doing what here. I know: folding might not be in your repertoire. But don’t view it as being scared or apprehensive. Think of it as doing research. By seeing who’s gunning for chips and who’s trying to actually play poker, you’ll be ready after the blinds level up.
Dip your toes into the action. The blinds are still relatively low and you’ve already got an idea of who the maniacs are, if they’re still around. Get in there with some suited connectors, anything with a face in good position, and see if you can’t rob a few pots on good faith. Throw around some feelers and get comfortable playing. After all, the levels are coming quick, and you need to be ready to make a move.
After keeping things quiet and calm in your neck of the woods, pounce on a good hand. Here’s where all the chips are on the line, literally. You’ll need to double up to stand a chance. If you can’t set a trap, get your money in pre-flop with a good pocket. In a freeroll atmosphere, some Joe is always going to call with an 8 5 suited clubs!
Keep your play focused and intense but don’t go overboard with it. You want to be in charge but you don’t want to push aggressive. The idea here is to survive. Once the earlier rounds are over, you’ll be left with only two types of opponent: Actual players and chip donkeys that’ve yet to bust. You’ll know the difference and you’ll know how to handle them.
Once you’re in the money—assuming you struck gold in the timeframe you needed—pounce on the competition and push for the front of the pack. You can’t do any worse than free money at this point.
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