A Freeroll is an online poker tournament, which does not cost you anything to play, but more often than not a heavy prize pool is associated with it. The room that hosts poker is also responsible for sponsoring the Freeroll and putting real money, gifts or merchandise into the prize pool. They are a very useful tool for promoting online poker sites. Many poker rooms host several small Freerolls, while others host only few but with big prizes.
Many sites offer them for new players - in the first month of them joining the site - and also many sites also offer them to players who play regularly at their site - qualification and eligibility is most often through the player accumulating enough poker points (William Hill and Cryptologic rooms do this via their MPP scheme, and Mansion have recently started offering this as well).
Poker players of all abilities have a good chance of winning some serious money through Freeroll tournaments. All you have to do is play the game you love! A lot of effort and time goes into arranging the Freeroll. In case not many players join, the remaining part of the guaranteed prize pool is left with the organizer as 'cover'. When many players join in, the organizer has strong chances of becoming a winner as well as a loser. Poorly subscribed freeroll tournaments can be a very expensive affair!!!!
Clearly players are the biggest winners of poker freerolls. There is hardly anything to lose in poker freerolls and in order to take advantage each player just needs to register and then try their luck in the tournament, in most cases they are operated as a MTT (Multi Table Tournament) meaning their could be a field of more than 10 players playing - as the tournament is played then players are automatically moved around the tables at certain points as other players are beaten and drop out - until finally all that remains are the players at the final table.
Some rooms are now using them as a major promotional tool using newspapers to promote them - William Hill have done this very successfully to encourage new players to join with passwords being printed in the newspapers in order to enable players to register.
The main question that arises is-how to approach a Freeroll and what are the strategies required for success? Anything can be expected in the initial stages of a tournament. The best thing is to sit back and play, to get a feel of your table. Never hesitate in pushing in your chips with big hands (but be careful as always). Since you are into this without any cost, don't be afraid in showing aggression of the good sort, but make sure it is selective aggression and not blind betting. When the money position approaches, many players get scared to play all but premium hands. As a player you can advantage of this situation, steal blinds and build up your stack. If you are able to do this well, you will get a lot of chips once money is easy to reach and also stand a good chance to win the main prize.
The most important thing is to enjoy yourself.
Andy Denton runs a number of websites including one specifically on poker strategy and poker site reviews - [http://www.haveaflutter.com/] and also has extensive experience of working in the financial services industry.