For anyone familiar with online gaming of the none "gambling" sort, such as games like World Of Warcraft, will be familiar with the principle of paying a monthly fee in order to play such games. I used to, I am ashamed to admit, play WOW, but my busy life meant I could not be spending most of it in another world (although some will argue I still am in another world but that world does not reside on a Blizzard server).

Anyway I digress somewhat. My other half plays both poker and WOW, so chooses to spend something like £15 a month on that, and stick to the freerole tables on Pokerstars. I have taken a new look at things and decided to do the opposite. After all, if I am going to spend money on playing something, I might as well use that to develop my skills at Hold'em and also as a result fight harder knowing that I have a monthly limit to hone my skills, where the paid places count if I want to get as much practice as I can in.

Starting from scratch again

After all, there is no chance whatsoever of getting your money back (or making a profit) from playing the fun, but ultimately time consuming and after careful consideration, pointless games such as the example above.

When I started playing freerole I started on the 9 player low buy in tables before I began winning on a regular basis before moving my way up to the 18, the 27 and the 45 player Sit & Go's. Then I did the same again increasing the level as I went along.

Then into the freerole tournaments where I have majorly mixed fortunes. My highest finish has been 36/10000 and before I entered the Open League, I was regularly finishing within the last 100-300. But still it was impossible to guage my poker skills because when push comes down to shove you have to have something invested to really start to tell where you stand. And by investing a little into playing sit-and-go in the low stakes 9 player games to begin with, I will know naturally when the time is right to take things to the next level.

The Differences I have noticed between freerole poker and real money poker

Just like with the Open League, I am fairly new to it. But I have been playing freerole on and off for years now. And I am not sure how many people read this blog, so it is not going to benefit me to go into too much detail about the games I have played so far.

My first game went well, needless to say it was a 9 player $1.50. I came 2nd, but had to make sure it was not begginers luck, and in a way it was because the next game I came 8th. It was followed by 6,5,6 before hitting two more payouts on 3rd and finally 1st. Pretty much the way, it all started way back on the low buy-in freerole.

The win was extra satisfying due to an aggressive Russian who kept pushing all in on my BB and I knew it was something I could not let go on. I issued a quick warning that it was a dangerous strategy as I am not the type of person to play on anyone elses terms. It did have the desired effect because he let me off the hook as a result and had stopped to give me just long enough to have a bit of thinking time (I bet that would not happen in the serious money games).

Why you should not write a blog when playing poker

As it stood, I was writing this at the time when I started the game so wasn't giving it the full attention I should have, so had already dug myself out of a hole when I was almost out with 6 players still in. Once I  had managed to get myself to chip leader I was not keep on giving that position up without a fight. And a couple more all-ins from the Russian with nothing worth calling, I could have ended up fighting to stay in again.

The Russian in keeping with Anglo/Russian relations was not particularly friendly, so when we were down to the last three, it took me the full 10 seconds to make up my mind on what to do about another of his silly raises. He complained about me taking so much time so I duly ran some of my time bank down for good measure the next time around to get my point across.

In the end it was me and the Russian and as I had previously warned him, the All-In strategy, backfired and I took him out almost straight away. 

Summing Up

Not quite sure which was the most satisfying, coming 1st for the first time or beating him so fast. Either way, there is still a long, long, long way to go before I am willing to even call myself a particularly good player, because there are a hell of a lot better than me out there. But as for the Russian, I will safely say that based on what I saw of him, contrary to what he thought, given his not so dignified in defeat reaction. The proof on the one game we had both me is, just like the chips on that final all-in, stacked firmly in my favour that he got beaten by a better player.

His high risk agressive style may get him far in some games, but when it comes to the pschological side of things, I pride myself on being no pushover. There are many different skillsets that seem to be at play in the world of Poker, and I am comfortable with mine, and as everyone should be, constantly developing and improving as I go along.