Sunday, April 20, 2008

Texas Holdem Online Freeroll Tournament Tips #2

Select the right Online Freeroll Tournament

In our last blog we discussed the overall basics. Now I am going to explore the mechanics of how to win money in online freeroll texas holdem tournaments.

Before we begin to play, let’s figure out what to play. All of these blogs are about No Limit Holdem because NL Texas Holdem offers the biggest opportunity to make money playing poker! In any tournament, there are going to be a lot of fish, and these fish will make you a winner.

One of the most important parts of winning is ensuring your time is well invested. Since you are about to spend a few hours or more playing in the tournament, we want to be sure that your time is well invested. Many players will play several online freerolls simultaneously to maximize this time investment, and this often is a good strategy. We will discuss this further in the next tips blog.

Freeroll Tournament Return Value

First, let’s determine how to pick the right online Texas Holdem Freeroll tournament. There is a formula for this and it is actually quite simple. Determine the percentage of paid spots top total players. Divide the total paid spots by the maximum players and multiply by 100. For example, a tournament with a 500 player maximum that pays 50 places has a Tournament Return value of 10%. (50 divided by 500 equals .10, times 100 equals 10%) A tournament that has a 1000 maximum and pays 120 places has a TR Value of 12%. If both tournaments offered a $500 prize package, you would want to enter the second one to have a slightly better chance of winning money, even though it may have more players. A 2000 player tournament that pays 50 places has a TR of 2.5%. Where do you want to spend your time?

Find an online poker room that offers the highest TR values! Observe some tournaments also, because they do not always fill up. On one site I play, one freeroll tournament allows for a maximum of 1000 players, but usually there are only about 400, and it pays 60 spots, a TR of 15%!

Freeroll Tournament Skill Factors

How many chips are initially issued and how fast do the blinds rise?

Some tournaments are called deep stacks, because they start with a high amount of chips for each player in relation to the starting blinds. These tournaments usually take longer to play and are considered more favorable to a skilled experienced player than the novice. If a standard tournament starts with 1000 or 1500 chips per player, than a deep stack may start with 3000 to 5000 chips. Both may start the blinds at 10/20 or 20/30. A higher starting stack with low blinds attracts the more skilled players.

The blinds may rise in a tournament in increments of 5 or 6 minutes and these are generally called speed tournaments. Luck is a bigger factor in speed tournaments. A novice player can get lucky in a speed tournament, and wipe out the experienced players!

Tournaments with increments of 8-10 minutes are pretty standard and favor skill a bit more.

Some tournaments will have blind increase of 12 to even 15 minutes. These tournaments will take a lot of time to play, and if you have a deep stack tournament with 15 minute blinds, it can take several hours or more to finish. These tournaments reduce the luck factor significantly and attract skilled players.

Overall, high starting chips, low starting blinds and long blinds means hands played and more time to wait for the big hands. These are freerolls where patience and skill is a bigger factor in winning money.

Low starting chips, higher starting blinds and shorter blinds mean fewer hands played, and luck is the bigger factor.

So to sum up, some tournaments have a high tournament return payout, and we want to find these tournaments. Of course, the prize amount is a factor here too. If the freeroll is for $50, we pick the best TR, but if it is for $1500, we may want to play even if the TR is low, because the payback could be so much higher. And we look for tournaments with patience and skill levels that are advantageous to us!

Picking the right online freeroll tournament to play is the first step to winning money in Online Texas Holdem Freeroll Tournaments.

And the
Texas Holdem Dynamic Point Count Super Strategy can provide the tools you need to not just win money, but to win tournaments!

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Texas Holdem Online Freeroll Tournament Tips #2

Monday, December 10, 2007

Texas Holdem Online Freeroll Tournament Tips #1

Survival - winning showdowns!

To survive to the final table in any Texas Holdem Online Freeroll Poker Tournament you will be involved in many showdowns. To make the final table, you will have to win a lot of these showdowns. And to win these showdown takes luck!

Suppose we use an example here. You are in a Texas Holdem freeroll and you have an all in showdown where you are favored by 70%. You win. The same thing happens in two more hands. Great, right? Well, maybe not. If you lost any one of those hands you are gone. To survive, you had to win all three showdowns. The odds were in fact against you, with the chances of winning all three hands at about 34%. You were actually an underdog to stay in that freeroll tournament, even with your highly advantageous hands!

Even though you were a favorite in each individual hand, overall you needed to beat the odds and get lucky to win all three hands. And in a freeroll tournament, it is common for some players with even a mediocre drawing hand to take long shot chances at a pot, increasing the odds of hitting that miracle card on the turn or the river, sending you to the lobby!

Our example used hands with highly favorable odds. How about the coin flips, such as your AK suited verses your opponents pair of nines, where the odds are almost even? A few of these will drop the overall odds down deeply. Surviving these all in hands takes luck!

Even if you hold the best starting hand every time, and you have to be lucky for it to hold up. This is the reason you see so many different players winning Texas Holdem Freerolls, it is usually the luckiest player who wins, not the best.

Traditional poker wisdom tells us that you must play tight, get your money in with the best hand whenever you can, and hope the odds go with you.

And this is true in a Texas Holdem Freeroll Tournament, also.

What can you do to improve your chances in a Freeroll?

Here are a few tips that may help.

Play tight early on, and do not bluff! Freeroll players will call anything with anything early on, and bluffing just does not work. By establishing a tight image early, it opens up the bluffing for later when the lotto players have been elminated.

Bet very agressively with a quality hand. This will reward you with the chips from the weaker callers, and either catch the chasers or drive them out.

Do not call an all in player unless you are sure and certain you have the statistically strongly favored hand. Fold immediately if you think these words " If I can catch a _____".

Have a tournament strategy! What is the cash level, and the payout? How many hands do you have to win to cash out? How do you plan to play early on, mid game and in the later stages of the tournament. What to do if you get a chip lead? When do you plan to adjust your playing style?

In my next post, I will discuss Texas Holdem Online Freeroll Tournament Strategy for tournament selection.

And check out the Texas Holdem Dynamic Point Count Super Strategy for a winning edge in Online Freeroll Tournaments!

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Texas Holdem Online Freeroll Tournament Tips #1