Strategy tips for playing freeroll tournaments.


Freerolls play a little bit different than regular buyin tournaments. There are many weak players that can be exploited, which is what we're going to try and teach you in this strategy tips series from Walker Poker.


This week : How to play pocket kings (pre flop)


Pocket Kings are the second best starting hand you can get in Texas Holdem. If you play them right, you can win a big pot with them, but if you're not careful you could lose a big one. A lot of players in freerolls just push all-in no matter what the action in the hand is, while this can sometimes win you a big pot, you will usually win a very small one this way. First of all, take a look at the action in front of you. Are you the first into the pot ? Are there several 'limpers', who just called the big blinds' bet, in front of you ? Or was there a raise in front of you ? You always need to be either raising, or re-raising with your pocket kings. Are you the first to act ? Raise to 3 times the value of the big blind. If there are limpers in front of you, you should raise more, to around the size of the total pot. If there was a already a raise in front of you, you should be looking to re-raise this bet to about 3 times the original raise. If there was already a re-raise in front of you, you should always push all-in. Never, ever fold pocket kings before the flop in a freeroll tournament.


Example hand :

It's late in a sunday freeroll, blinds are up to 200/400 and most of the players at the table, including yourself have more than 10k in chips. You are on the button with KhKd and the player under the gun (the first to act) puts in a raise to 1000, a player in middle position calls the raise. It's then folded around to you and you re-raise to 3000. The small and big blind both fold. The original raiser thinks for a moment and decides to push his remaining chips into the pot. The middle position player now folds and you insta-call the all-in bet. When he shows you JsJh you high five your monitor and type 'whosyourdaddy' into the chat box. The board comes 7s 8s 9s 2d 2h and you win a huge pot to set yourself up to make the final table of the freeroll by playing your pocket kings correctly.


What could have gone wrong this hand if you played it differently ? Suppose you just called the initial raise, you would be going to the flop with 2 other players. Now the flop comes 789, all spades. The under the gun player bets and the middle position player pushes all-in. Now you have a really tough decision, you have an overpair but no spades. What could your opponents have ? No way to find out anymore and you decide to make a crying call for all your chips and so does the under the gun player. You can beat the pocket jacks that the first player shows, but the middle position player shows 10sJd to make a straight. Now he wins a huge pot and you are out of the tournament.


We hope you've enjoyed this strategy article. Stay tuned for next month's post where we will be discussing : How to play pocket Aces (after the flop)