What is a Freeroll?
It is the best way for new players to learn the game of poker online and start building a bankroll, by playing online poker tournaments that cost nothing to enter but offer small prize pools for the winners.
Many players have done it. And to show that it can be done, some well-known poker pros have built online poker bankrolls, starting by only playing freerolls, to demonstrate that the skill, experience, and study of poker can open many doors for players.
Professional Poker Players Who Got Their Start Playing Freerolls Only
Online poker phenom Annette Obrestad of Norway won millions of dollars in her poker career, but when she began playing online in her teenage years, she started by playing freerolls. She was not old enough to deposit money on her own, so she played freeroll tournaments to start building a bankroll. As she improved and earned money, she moved up in stakes, ultimately collecting more than $500,000 on PokerStars and several hundred thousand dollars on other sites before she cashed out.
Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, founder of Full Tilt Poker and longtime poker pro, took on a challenge to prove it could be done. He decided to build a $10,000 bankroll playing online poker from a completely empty account. He accomplished this over the course of 2006 and 2007, and he had to start playing freerolls only. He took them very seriously, and though it took a few weeks to earn his first $2, he eventually earned $22 and then played micro-stakes cash games, $1 tournaments, and ultimately met his goal.
These are not a few isolated incidents, only the most publicized. The internet population of successful high stakes players is filled with players who won free tournaments and then used disciplined bankroll management while improving their skills and progressing in stakes. And the experience garnered through the process is more valuable than anything else in the learning process, as it teaches the discipline and patience that are vital in becoming and remaining a successful poker pro.
Just remember, freeroll games play very differently than real-money games. Winning freerolls doesn’t mean you’ll be a successful real-money player, but it is a solid start if used to move slowly up in small buy-in tournaments going forward.
US Poker Sites with Great Freerolls
Freerolls are tougher to find in 2019 than in previous years. PokerStars always offers freerolls – every day at various times of the day. And some of the sites in New Jersey and Nevada put freeroll tournaments on their schedules. But offshore sites have removed many of their freeroll tournaments due to the abundance of players competing that sometimes overloaded their servers.
BetOnline used to have lucrative daily freerolls but withdrew them at the beginning of 2018. However, players making their first deposit on BetOnline can take advantage of a New Player Freeroll that offers $10,000. It runs on the second Sunday of each month, and new players are given a free ticket to enter. There is also a Happy Hour Freeroll every Monday evening, but it pays out in chips that can only be used on the live casino part of the site.
Ignition Poker also removed many of its freerolls, though it does offer a weekly $2,500 freeroll tournament every Thursday for players who participate in the free rewards program and have earned Chrome status.
Legal Poker Rooms and States
If located in New Jersey, PokerStars is a great option for freerolls, which are offered on a regular basis and can be found in the tournament lobby in brown lettering.
Players in New Jersey and Nevada will find freerolls on the WSOP poker site. There is a daily $100 freeroll, though players are limited to 600 each, so it is a first-come, first-serve seating situation. There is also a monthly Hero Freeroll offered to verified members of the US Armed Forces, police departments and fire departments in the US.
When the new poker sites launch online in Pennsylvania, there will likely be numerous freerolls to lure new players and introduce them to the sites.
US Poker Sites with the “Best Value” Freerolls
Since many offshore sites have removed most of their freerolls, it is best to take advantage of any that appear on BetOnline or Ignition Poker. And if located in New Jersey or outside of the US, PokerStars has the absolute best value freerolls.
It should be noted that players have a lot of influence with online poker sites. They want to keep their US poker customers, so it’s important to let them know if you’d like to see more freerolls. Contacting customer service or tagging the sites on social media, such as on Twitter, is a good way to let them know how you feel and that you’re more likely to play on their sites if there are freeroll opportunities.
Author: Savanah Lavinder
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