Players who have a lot of money when they begin playing poker, on the other hand, are rarely as successful as the ones who have been forced to grind themselves up the stake ladder. And even though it's not an easy task, it's definitely possible to begin a career with limited funds. In fact, learning the game the hard way is the probably the best recipe for success.
Freerolls - The Aspiring Poker Player's Goldmine
A few years back, WSOP Main Event champ Chris "Jesus" Ferguson started a mission many said was impossible. He claimed that he could turn a $0 bankroll into $10,000 by playing online poker - money he then would give to charity. And although it took him 18 months to reach the goal, he finally succeeded.
But how could he start with nothing? The answer is free poker tournaments.
Since the competition between poker sites has become very fierce, a form of poker-promotion inflation has started and sites are forced to offer larger bonus deals and the best free poker tournaments to attract new players. If you start with nothing, this is something you should exploit.
When you play freeroll tournaments you have no money invested but still the chance to take down cash prizes. This type of risk-free poker was how Ferguson began his $10K adventure. But before you start looking for the best free poker games online, there are two types of freerolls you should become familiar with.
Firstly we have the ones that require that you've collected a certain amount of "player points" or played a number of raked hands. The tournaments are free, but to earn a seat you need to play for real money. Something you might not have.
These tournaments can offer great value and when you're active at a site and start collecting "points" you should definitely play them. However, in the beginning of your career you should look for free poker events that don't require anything except you signing up and creating an account.
This second type of freerolls is unfortunately a lot rarer - but they do exist. If you follow the discussions on forums and sites like this, you'll find the best free poker events where you have the opportunity to win real money without anything invested.
A Note on Freeroll Tournament Strategy
If you've just played regular tournament with real-money buy-ins you'll be amazed by people's playing style in freerolls. Since no one has any money invested, they have nothing to lose and don't mind pushing all in with any random hand - at least some of the players.
You can obviously use this in your advantage. If you're just slightly more selective than the random freeroll player when it comes to selecting starting hands, you'll be the favorite most of the times when you go to the flop.
However, if you sit and wait for good hands like you would in a regular tournament, chances are that a couple of your loose opponents will have built monster stacks by the time you decide to play a hand. What you should do is widen your range compared to normal play, but not as much as some of your opponents.
To have a competitive stack in the end of the tournaments you need to take some risks in the beginning. The key is: Be more selective than your opponents, but start building your chip stack early.