Free Poker Strategy :: Posh Poker Productions

Despite the fact that I have said that you shouldn’t play different because the game is free, but you should adjust to the situation, it’s easy to conclude that the situation in free poker is often predictable. Therefore you can easily come up with some strategies based on these predictable situations. Learn how your opponents play and whether they play differently because it is “free”, then make the adjustments to beat them.

Depending on your level of play, my first advice comes in the form of “tighten up”. Especially if you are new to tournament play or just to “free poker”, you should play your strong hands aggressively preflop, and don’t be tempted to play weak or marginal hands. In cash buy-in games you’ll take the pot preflop with a sizable raise. Your most likely going to get called at a free game though, unless your raise is ridiculously high. I think that’s a bad strategy, even though I see people do that just to end their hand. It’s not a smart play because the only hands that are likely to call you are the ones that will bust you, unless you are holding AA or KK. Even if you have QQ and you put a boatload of chips in, you’re probably going to get called with AA, KK, or AK. Do you really want to go against any of those hands? Even with AK you’re a coin flip away from busting. If you are holding AA, and KK you want some action anyway, so just raise enough to get everyone but that one or two inevitable callers to fold.

By betting your big hands you are going to get most weak hands to fold, which gives you big hand more value ( in the form of odds to win ). If after the flop and turn you’re scared that your hand is no longer good, you might be right, but if you have a good hand still, keep the aggression on. You are going to make the most in these situations… But If you had three or more callers, it’s likely that your hand is a dog unless you flopped a monster hand like a set, a straight or flush. Occasionally you are going to get drawn out on and lose when you “should have” won, but that’s inevitable in poker and you should feel good that you had the hand and your opponent played incorrectly and just got lucky. You’ll get him next time he plays badly because the odds favor you in the long run.

There are a lot of players that I see every week make it very deep into the tournament because they are folding a large majority of their hands, and playing their big hands well. These players often outlast those of us who play more pots aggressively. If your goal is to last longest, and get points, this is a good starting strategy.

Here are some more specific predictable situations.

1. There is a lot of loose play at a free game. As I’ve discussed before, some folks are willing to make very marginal calls with weak hands or weak draws. Experienced poker players will try to push these folks of hands with proper bet sizes, or even over bets to no avail. Learn who these people are quickly and don’t try to use odds against them. Just bet “correct amounts” knowing that you are ahead in the hand and that you should win a majority of the time. If they do make the improper call and win, at least they don’t win the maximum. Of course there are many players at free games who do play properly. Identify them and target them for true aggressive play. These are the people that will fold to incorrect odds and to good semi bluffs. These players will often say something like “I had odds to call”… but in your head you know that it didn’t matter, because they would have called without the odds too.

2. New players can’t be bluffed. Understand who you are playing with. New players will often call if they caught any part of a hand or have a made starting hand. You cannot bluff this type of player, so why try. Your winning strategy here is to wait until you have a big hand and take all of their chips because they will not always recognize that they are beat.

3. Loose Aggression. Loose aggressive players like to raise every pot. Punish them when you get a big hand. If they are likely to fold if they don’t hit, then call them with speculative hands if you have position. Even if you completely miss, you won’t have lost a lot, but if you hit, they are going to dump a lot of chips to you.

4. “But they were suited”. Odds are really not favoring you that much that your suited cards are going to win more often then the same two suited cards, but that doesn’t stop many people from calling *just* because they are suited. You need to know that those flush draws are probably going to happen more often than you want to admit, and let it go if you think your opponent only stayed in because they were suited and they hit their flush. Likewise, these folks will draw a lot, so if they miss their draw, punish them as well 🙂 On the flip side, Negraneu’s small ball strategy of play actually puts high value on suited cards, and since there are a lot of Negraneu wanna-be’s (Hey, I’d love to play as good as him!), you can be sure that there will be a lot of people playing suited connectors every chance they get.

All poker books and articles will generally tell you that aggressive poker is winning poker. This holds true no matter what you are playing. It should still be true at a free game, but the timing of that aggression is probably the most important aspect at a free game. Good luck!

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