For those new to free online poker, a poker “freeroll” is a free poker tournament that doesn’t have an entry fee. But pays the winner/s in real money – or “real-money value” prize, like a tournament-entry ticket or some poker merchandise. Free online poker may come in all shapes and sizes (cash games, SnGs, and so on). But freerolls typically offer prize pools of a few hundred dollars.
At any size they’re by far the best way to build your bankroll from scratch and improve your game without risking your own money. Check our list below for our picks of the best sites to play free poker online . And read our full site reviews.
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What Is a Freeroll in Poker?
Freerolls really are free. Since the early days of online poker, poker sites have offered free poker games to entice new players to create accounts. One of the best parts of the intense competition to bring in players was the invention of "freerolls," or free poker tournaments. A freeroll is a poker tournament with no cost to enter but with a real-money or real-value prize.
Playing free online poker in either "cash" game or tournament form is the best way to sharpen your poker strategy skills without having to wager any money. There are many different kinds of free poker online and finding the best fit can be tricky for new poker players. Below you'll find a guide that should answer some of your most burning free poker online questions!
A freeroll is a poker tournament with no entry fee but a real money (or real money value) prize pool. The freeroll player is not on the hook for any of their own money and is essentially playing free online poker to win real money. These chips mean something.
Different Types of Poker Freerolls
Just like there are many different types of poker tournaments, there are many different types of poker freerolls out there. Some you can jump into right away, while others will have a set start time, and many will require a password or a ticket to enter. We detail out each kind below:
- New Player Freerolls – Many sites offer a freeroll to new players to welcome them in and offer an instant boost to their bankrolls. Most of these freerolls are weekly or monthly, so it’s best to check when they are scheduled for.
- Weekly Freerolls – Sites will typically offer scheduled freerolls that have no restrictions on entering other than making sure you are logged in and ready to go when the time comes.
- Satellite Freerolls – Sites may offer satellites into bigger tournaments. These could be on-demand, running when a certain number of players have entered, or scheduled depending on the prize offered. Note that a lot of sites will offer step satellite freerolls, meaning that if you win, you’ll be entered into the next phase automatically – which could also be an on-demand, or in late registration. Best to make sure you understand the full schedule of the satellite before entering.
- Exclusive Freerolls– Some freerolls could be offered to specific players, whether that is through a ticket or open to players in specific regions only. Others could be tied to signing up to a poker room through an affiliate link – but all these exclusive freerolls will have information on how you can gain entry to them in the tournament lobby.
- Password Protected Freerolls – A lot of freerolls will have a password that players will need to have to register for. Many of these will be through other poker sites or poker streams that players will have to visit to obtain the password.
- Freerolls with re-buys and/or add-ons – There are several freerolls out there that offer re-buys, double-re-buys and / or add-ons. These cost money, making the freeroll not free. If you choose to play in these freerolls, you must have a solid plan going into it. For example, you will generally see many players shoving constantly because of the re-buys so you should be ready to adjust your calling range. Are you going to re-buy and if so, how many times are you prepared to re-buy? Do you have the bankroll to re-buy? If no, consider treating it like a freezeout but knowing that others will be playing much looser.
How to Use a Freeroll Ticket Step by Step
If you are one of the fortunate poker players that receives a ticket to a freeroll you will want to make sure you know how to use if properly. We walk you through that below:
- Login to the online poker room where your ticket was issued on using the username and password you created when you made your account.
- Once logged in, locate the account details screen that includes your current balance and go to the section that lists your tickets.
- Find the freeroll ticket you were issued and confirm any additional details it may list there such as the date and time of the event, and a link to the tournament lobby.
- Access the tournament lobby either from the screen above, or by searching for the name of the freeroll in the online poker room’s tournament list
- Go to register for the tournament and select the freeroll ticket when requested to confirm how you are registering for the tournament.
- Wait for the start time to come and be ready to play!
Make sure that you review what the structure is, and what prizes are for the freeroll, especially if it’s a satellite for a bigger event that you can play later!
Difference Between Freerolls and Free Poker
If you've played on any kind of "free play" poker app on your phone or a social poker game like Zynga Poker, that's a "free play" site. There's no real money to be won. All of the chips in play are just token markers to keep score and bragging rights. You can win more free chips, or buy more even, but they're not worth any "real" money per se.
Free online poker is played on a real-money online poker site where most players are playing for real money. For this specific type of free online poker there are no "buy-ins" required. You can play both ring games and tournaments entirely for free. Which is cool.
But even cooler is the payout in a free online poker tournament is usually of real money value - either in the form of actual cash or in a ticket to play in a tournament with a real-money buy-in. Most poker sites will give a new player who opens a new account a few freeroll entries as a poker bonus to help boost their bankrolls when they get started. They'll also typically offer free tournament tickets as well.
Many professional players got their start playing in free poker games online. They won a few bucks, reinvested those in more tournaments (or continued playing more freerolls and won again), and soon enough were on their way to a steady poker income. Real money poker sites also have downloadable mobile apps where you can access both their free and real-money games. IF you want to read more about the best mobile poker apps, check our page here:
Freeroll Poker Strategies
Freerolls are poker tournaments where you play against a lot of inexperienced and impatient players. You need to adjust your tactics accordingly. Some tips for the early stages of a freeroll:
- Limp often: Try to see cheap flops early on and hit a decent hand to stack impatient opponents.
- Call liberally: Players overvalue their hands in freerolls a lot. Don't shy away with good hands when opponents make huge bets.
- No trapping: When you have a good hand yourself (e.g. JJ preflop, or a set postflop), play aggressively. People will call your bets & raises more often than not.
» A detailed guide freeroll strategies
What does freeroll mean in poker?
Freeroll refers to a poker tournament that does not cost money to enter but offers real money prizes and / or satellite tickets. Generally, these are funded by a sponsor or the online poker room directly.
Are freeroll poker tournaments free?
Most freerolls are free but players need to be careful that there are no re-buys or add-ons that players would have to pay to receive. Otherwise, yes, freerolls really are free poker tournaments.
Which poker site has the best freerolls?
It really depends on the type of freerolls you want to play, and if you have access to passwords for restricted freerolls. Earlier in the article we posted our list of the best sites for freerolls overall, so best to check the list for our opinion currently.
Can I win real money on freeroll tournaments?
Yes, you can win real money and / or satellite tickets for real money poker tournaments playing freerolls online. Poker sites want to draw new players in and one of the best ways to do that is to offer up free money in freerolls!
How do I qualify for poker freerolls?
There are several ways one would qualify for poker freerolls. First, some freerolls just require you to be a member of a poker site or separate website to get access to freerolls. Others require you to sign-up to a poker room through their affiliate link.
How do I get the password for the freeroll?
If a poker tournament requires a password to gain entry you should not ask the online poker room’s support team for it. Not only will you clog up their operators with a question they will not answer, in most cases they will not have the ability to get the password. Rather, follow the information in the tournament lobby around getting the password.
I won money in a freeroll, can I withdraw it?
Yes, you should not have any restrictions withdrawing money won in a poker freeroll. However, you will need to review an online poker room’s terms and conditions around accessing money won in freerolls, especially if you have not deposited on the site. While most rooms require you to deposit before withdrawing, almost all will want to verify the method of withdrawal first and the quickest way to do that is to have you deposit from that source.