Are freerolls the best way to learn poker?

freeroll poker

What is a “freeroll”?

A freeroll is a poker tournament at no cost to the player. It usually has a guaranteed prize pool, rewarding the final table with varying amounts.

They are often recommended to beginners as a cheap way of learning to play poker. This article will look at the validity of that claim and whether freerolls are actually a good way of learning poker.

Are freerolls really “free”?

Whilst it doesn’t cost you cash to play a freeroll. You do have to invest your time to enter them. On the one hand, you don’t lose any money if you bust out but on the other you can play hours for very little gain.

Time is one of the most important things we have and one must ask, is playing this tournament worth the time? Freerolls typically have hundreds if not thousands of entrants and navigating your way through that for a few dollars is not very appealing is it?

Instead, take advantage of no deposit bonus schemes. These allow you to pick and choose real money games without investing anything. This is a better way to learn, improve and move up stakes.

What can you actually learn?

It should not come as a surprise that most of the entrants to a freeroll are either beginners playing poorly or micro stakes players playing wildly (and poorly). Therefore, it stands to reason, you are unlikely to get the legitimate experience of a “real” tournament. You will quickly find that freerolls become all-in fests. Not much actual poker goes on and you can forget about ever trying to do a bluff. Any mildly sophisticated poker tournament strategy you have learnt is wasted in a freeroll.

How much you can win from freerolls?

Prizes vary between the major sites, there are some that will pay $100 for a win but keep in mind this is 1st place with thousands of entrants. You are more likely to cash for $3 for 5 hours work. The truth is there is not much money to be won from freeroll poker.

There are some more lucrative weekly and monthly freerolls that are offered to players who build up enough loyalty points, however, this involves playing for actual cash to be eligible.

Conclusion

Freerolls are not ideal for someone interested in earning or learning quickly. It is perfect if you don’t know the rules and have lots of time. Move all in, embrace the madness and learn the basics at the same time. If you actually want to learn and play well, you need to get experience playing for money. There are lots of micro stakes cash games and tournaments available online. You can invest as little as $25 starting out and it is plenty to play with and gain experience.

To learn how to play poker, read our Texas Hold’em cheat sheet with free download available. If you’re worried about losing money, I recommend starting off at a softer poker site like Coral first. Read our full review of Coral for more information. Please also remember to exercise good bankroll management and gamble responsibly too.

Want to learn poker cheaply? Sign up to our Poker Training Video membership. Trial our service for free.

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Narciso Baldo is the Director and Head Coach of Texas Hold'em Questions. He has been playing poker for over 16 years. After spending many years as a professional, he now runs UK poker training site Texas Hold'em Questions. Narciso regularly writes poker articles sharing tips, strategy, news and experience with gambling enthusiasts. Narciso also writes for reputable gambling portal Casino City Times, (bio here). Contact: info@texasholdemquestions.com