The tournaments where you can win money without paying an entry fee are called free rolls or freerolls. Online poker rooms run free rolls on a regular schedule. Each poker room has their own free roll tournament schedule that you can find in the lobby, usually listed with the other tournaments. Some have special free rolls available to new members while others have the same free roll schedule week after week. The best way to find out about upcoming free rolls is checking the poker rooms web site on a regular basis.

Most of these free roll poker tournaments have a set or limited number of entries available. To make sure you get a seat in as many of them as possible, make sure you know the schedule of upcoming free roll tournaments and exactly what you need to do in order to get a seat. Some free rolls just require you to sign up at a certain time just like a regular tournament with an entry fee while others require you to follow a set procedure. In the case of the free rolls with a limited number of seats and a set time when everyone signs up, make sure you are at your computer and logged into the poker site at least a few minutes early so you can register the second the tournament is available. I have seen free rolls with thousands of seats fill in just a matter of seconds.
Be prepared for a long tournament with very little return in prize money even when you do get into the money. Even for the best free roll poker tournament players, it is common to play three or four hours or more to win $10 or $20. While this is not very much at all as an hourly rate, remember that you are trying to build a poker bankroll without spending any money. So you have to trade time and effort to have this opportunity.
Correct poker tournament strategy is a topic that is much too in depth for the limited space we have here, but there are a few quick pointers and tips that can help you have a better chance to build your poker bankroll for free.
1. You need to understand how most of your opponents will play in the early rounds. Most free roll players plan to take chances and either double up early and often or bust out quickly. They don't want to play for hours just hanging on and then miss out on the prize money. You can use this information in a few different ways. For example, if you have pocket aces or kings early, it is usually a good idea to push all in because more than likely you will have at least one person call you with a dominated hand. It is even likely that more than one other player will call. The thing to remember about this though is that even with a hand as good as pocket aces, the more other players in the hand the less your chances of winning are. The other way to use this information is to remain patient in the early rounds playing only your very best hands while the field thins itself out quickly.
2. There is nothing wrong with planning to either increase your chip stack quickly or bust out early, but it is not the way to optimize your chance of finishing in the money on a regular basis. If you have plenty of other free rolls to play in, you might not want to waste time grinding out a profit in the current tournament, but if that is the case why did you enter it in the first place? If your goal is to win free money playing online poker, then you should try to maximize every possible opportunity you have to do so.
3. I suggest signing up at quite a few of the largest poker rooms so you have a wide range of free roll options. You can shop around for the poker sites that offer the most and best free rolls. It is not as important to find the free rolls with the biggest prize purses, as it is to find the ones that offer the best return on investment. For example a free roll with $10,000 in payouts with 10,000 entrants averages $1 per entrant, while one with $5,000 in payouts but only 1,000 entrants averages $5 per entrant. The $5,000 free roll is a better opportunity for you.
4. Always play your best. It is easy to start playing poorly because you didn't have to invest any money to play. One trick that I use to not start thinking this way is to consider my time an investment. I am investing my time in order to create a chance to win not only the money in the current tournament but also money in the future from the real money tournaments I can enter with the money I win now.
5. Here is a quick step-by-step plan on how to play free roll poker tournaments if you are an inexperienced poker player. Fold every hand except pocket pairs eight and above, ace king and ace queen suited. Push all in with all of these hands. You will bust out often, but you will also reach the middle rounds quite a bit with a large chip stack. When you reach the middle rounds, start playing a more "normal" poker game unless you start getting short stacked.
It is time consuming and often frustrating to build a poker bankroll from nothing. However, it can also be one of the most rewarding poker experiences that a player can have. Once you build your bankroll from zero, you will always know that you can do it again. Just this boost in confidence is worth the time and effort.
Many people claim to make a full-time living playing online poker, however to do this you need to win well over 50% of your hands. So is it possible? Can people really make a living playing poker online?
Why? Well, we already know that people do make consistent incomes using nothing but offline poker, so it stands to reason that people should also be able to win online poker at the same rate, as long as the two games are not too different.
Firstly, in offline poker games you are able to read tells and look people in the face when they play. This is not possible in online poker, you simply can't read players nervous reactions or any tells they may have, instead you must rely on the decisions they make.
However, you can still read people by previous plays they have made and obvious betting patterns they have. If you don't have a poker face, or you have difficulty in reading people, this could actually be an advantage.
Secondly, there are almost three times as many hands dealt per hour in the online world of poker. This doesn't change the game too much tactic wise, except for the speed at which the game is played. Generally, people who make an income with poker with their computer, stand to make more money than they can in an offline game.
Thirdly, in online poker you can use many tools while you play the game that will tell you the odds you have of winning your hand. These tools are simply impossible to use in an offline game of poker. Not many offline games would allow you to have a laptop at your disposal while you are sitting at the table.
Finally, there are poker tournaments and cash games available online that would be impossible in the real world. Things like micro cash games (games that use ridiculously small blinds) or huge tournaments would be a nightmare to organize in the real world.
It is certainly possible for people to play and win enough poker on the internet to call it a living - this is true - however it is a different type of person that would succeed in the online world.
Skills that include a deep knowledge of the game, and the ability to read people in general are not necessary in poker online. Instead, different skills are needed to be successful. Compared to offline poker, a different personality type is needed in order to make a living playing poker online.