Why Poker Freerolls can be more Frustrating than Real Money Play

A lot of online poker players initially get their start by playing freerolls. After all, if you’re leery about putting money on the line, open-entry freerolls (no entry requirements) are a great way to build a bankroll from scratch. But there’s also a big downside to starting out with open-entry freerolls. In fact, they can be very frustrating and we’ll explain why below.

Heavy Competition

The main problem with most freerolls is that the proportion between players and the prize money is badly skewed. For example, there might be 2,000 players competing for a $100 prize pool; this works out to $0.05 of expected value for the average player.

Taking the heavy amount of competition into account, it gets really frustrating trying to make money in freerolls. There are going to be tons of times when you make deep runs in freeroll tournaments, only to bust out close to the money. Considering how only around 1.5-2% of the field cashes, it’s really heart-breaking to just miss a cash.


Compounding the stress of an open-entry freeroll is the fact that you’ll be getting very little money out of your time. Going further, you might only earn a few cents per hour when everything is averaged out. This being said, many players are simply better off making a small deposit and grinding their way up from the lower stakes.

A Good Practice

While most freerolls aren’t exactly money-generators, players shouldn’t totally discount them – especially beginners. Anybody who’s new to online poker can get a lot of benefit out of playing these free tournaments. There’s no money to risk, and you get to compete against other opponents for a prize pool.

But the main thing to understand here is that it’s tough making any serious money from freerolls. So if profit is your entire poker goal, make a deposit, keep learning strategy, and grind your way up the stakes.

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