Multi-table Freerolls

In previous articles we learned that game selection is just as important in freerolls as any other form of poker. Now, we will go on to look in more depth at the different types of tournaments and the sites that regularly hold the best value competitions.

There are four types of MTTs:

  • open or unrestricted freerolls
  • unrestricted satellite freerolls
  • qualified freerolls
  • entry fee rebates

Unrestricted Freerolls

These are what most of us picture in our minds when we see the word freeroll. They are open to everyone. All you need to enter is to have an account at the site and reserve a place before the tournament fills up. I said in part 1 a good open freeroll has an SBI (subsidized buy-in) of $1/person.

Satellite Freerolls

These are the same as unrestricted freerolls except that the winners of the satellite win an entry into a final at a later date rather than collecting cash right now. They are tactically interesting because generally the winners all receive identical prizes regardless of the finishing order. For example, a site may hold a series of satellites limited to 1000 runners, with the top 30 qualifying for the final. So, it should make no difference to a player whether he comes in first place or 21st. This dramatically changes the way you should approach the endgame.

Multi-table Freerolls
My experience of these tournaments is that you have to work hard to generate any cash from them. Some of the newer sites use this form of freeroll as their main promotion with several daily events qualifiying for a final at the weekend. I rarely play in them nowadays as the fact that you have to do well in two separate stages puts me off. However, specials do arise that are worthwhile.

Until I wrote this article I had never worked out typical SBIs for this type of tournament. Let us look at a couple of examples from Cake Poker and Jungle Poker. In both cases they are two stage events.

Cake Poker. The Saturday Final has a prize pool of $250 and approx 220 runners. 9 people qualify from each heat which typically has 140 entrants. So at the start of the heat your expectation is $250/220 x 9/140 = 7.3 cents.

Jungle Poker. The Saturday final has a prize pool of $1000 and often 950 or so runners. To qualify from the satellite you need to be in the top 30 out of about three or four hundred (lets say 350). So your SBI $1000/950 x 30/350 = 9 cents.

This puts them at the lower end of the scale as far as I am concerned. I am not meaning to knock these sites, they are both decent operations. I am just trying point out that I think you can get better value elsewhere. If you like these type of competitions that’s fine. On the plus side, the sats run at regular intervals so you don’t have to wait long for a game. And when you make allowances for the sitouts and fish your expectation will rise substantially. I give Jungle a GOLD STAR for its sitout policy here. After the blinds increase for the first time, all the absentees are automatically removed. You actually get a game against real players.

Qualified Freerolls

In general, the best freerolls available. To qualify for them you must be an existing player at the site and generate a certain amount of action for the poker room. There will often be several levels of these tournaments and the prizes up for grabs at the top level will run into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I like to play at the cash tables two or three nights a week. I generally don’t multitable (being a guy multitasking isn’t my thing), and will play at any plo8 table upto $50. Now plo8 is a slower paced game than holdem but I expect to play maybe 200/300 raked hands a week. To maxmise the value from these hands I play at two or three sites and try to look for freerolls that have 100 raked hands as the qualification.

You should easily find freerolls that have an SBI of $5-$10 /100 raked hands. Sometimes upto $20 /100 raked hands. This is like adding $20 a week (or $1k a year) to my bankroll. Of course, you don’t get $20 each week. You bust out, bust out and bust out again but the big final tables cashes make up for it. That is the nature of tournament poker.

However, I would never advocate playing in a cash game just to run up the number of raked hands. Get your priorites right; first find the easy games and then try to maximise bonuses.

Which Sites?

The objective of all the sites is to build a loyal customer base. To maximse your chances at freerolls you must not be a loyal customer. You need to open accounts at several sites and move from one to another seeking out the best promotions. Most sites vary their freerolls, they are great for a month or so and then the prize fund is cut back.

Then, all of a sudden, the marketing department has a brainstorm and a special promotion for Christmas, or for the start of the football season or the website’s anniversary is introduced.

Great, that’s what we have been waiting for.

So, we return and play until that promotion too comes to an end.

Fortunately, competition between the sites is pretty fierce and good value can be found on a daily basis. You just have to know where to look. The aim of this site is to guide you in the right direction.

So, here are my top five MTT freeroll sites:

  • Dream Poker.
  • Bet365 Poker.
  • 32Red Poker
  • AZA Poker
  • Betway Poker