Whether we like it or not, even us poker players (regardless of being recreational or professional) are on a journey. For some of us it is only the beginning, whereas others have been travelling on the same road for so long. No matter at what stage of our poker endeavours we are at, we must always keep in mind that poker is progress.

*Points at picture.* Yes, it is a journey which begins with a single step, and it is a journey of constant progress and improvement. This is one of the concepts that I have learned from playing poker: it is a dynamic game, and what keeps it exciting yet challenging is that there is always something new to learn.

In this blog, I am going to share with you what I have learned from the Freeroll Tournaments here, and how I am using them as a tool to help me grow as a player. More specifically, the 100K Privilege Freerolls.

1. The Right Mindset
The more I discovered what Poker entails, and read about other player’s experiences, the more I could see that this is a game which requires full attention and focus. When I first started playing at PokerStars, it was as a way to ‘chill’ or maybe take my mind off of things as I enjoyed the fact that it requires you to think – almost like trying to solve some logic puzzle or enigma.

Yet, being a beginner, I never imagined that participating in a tournament when feeling emotional would substantially affect my game.*Sinks in seat*. It wasn’t long before I learned that the reason why I was not bringing my A-game was because playing good poker requires you to make good decisions.  And how could I possibly make good decisions, when I am sitting there with 1001 thoughts and 1001 emotions?! Approaching the tournament with a clear mind and positive outlook has transformed these freerolls into fun and productive sessions.

2. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
Skill vs Luck in poker is probably a theme which resurfaces time and time again, in every corner of the internet and people I talk to about poker. Personally, I think that there is some luck involved because there are several factors you can’t control. However, the things you can control are perhaps the most important because how you handle the situations is dependent on your level of skill. Thankfully, that’s where PSO and other resources come in – our skill can improve as long as we make use of all resources. That's how I see freerolls - learning opportunities. When I am not playing poker, I try to prepare as much as possible. 

3. What got you here won’t get you there.
Progress is important – in fact, it’s so important that it is even featured on the Brazilian flag, “Ordem e Progresso” [order and progress]. The origins of this national motto is very inspiring, but I won’t go into it, as it would take me far off-track (lol). I aim to take part in one freeroll per day, as I feel that it’s a suitable frequency for my level and for what I want to achieve. The first times, I used to be knocked out after only a few hands *sinks lower in seat*. It was only when I put into practice what I had learned from PSO and other guides that I saw some progress. Soon, I found a method which worked for me, and I navigated my way until bubble stage. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite able to adapt my approach or recognise how to change my approach at that stage, and so although I ended up in the money, it was still a low rank. Therefore, “what got you here won’t get you there.” In other words, whilst my approach for getting to bubble stage worked for me, it doesn’t necessarily work to get me further.

4. Adapt and React.
So this leads on to adapting and reacting! By reaching the later stages, I got more practice and focused on paying attention and reacting accordingly. It’s a known fact that players tend to get more aggressive but play with a wider range of hands. At first, my approach was to continue to play tight – in fact, too tight sometimes. More often than not, my tournament would end simply because of my tight range and of course, I ended up blinding right down. Another lesson learned in Freeroll tournaments: you can either fight as if each hand is your last, or be a spectator hoping to survive.
The best hand or monster hand is not always the hand that wins (wise words, thanks JBCD71)!

5. Evaluate
In these freeroll tournaments, I take each occasion as an opportunity to learn. Therefore, I normally document my progress. After each tournament, I think about which hands I thought I played well, what worked, what didn’t work, and whether I had done something differently. Also, if there is anything I can do to improve next time. Of course there is hand re-player, but I don’t use it as often as I should. Point is, reviewing tournaments is helpful in identifying weaknesses and strengths.

Ok, so I know that the number one reason people participate in tournaments is to win, but sometimes you win, sometimes you learn! There is no risk factor here, because (obviously) the tournaments are free, so whether you are a beginner or a seasoned player, freerolls are an excellent resource to learn, practice and have fun!

See you at the 100K Privilege Freerolls! 

Until next time!