Freezeout Poker Tournaments

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Freezeouts are the basic, most popular, style of poker tournament. Even the World Series of Poker main event is run using this format. We start with a single stack of chips that represents our tournament life. Once our chips are gone, our tournament is over. 

With a relatively small initial investment, entrants can hope to score a huge payout. All they must do is battle their way through the scores of other entrants without being eliminated. Of course, this is no easy feat. The eventual winner will usually have put their entire stack on the line several times before reaching the final table.

As the blind levels increase at set intervals, entrants find themselves under increasing pressure to augment the size of their stack or risk becoming eliminated. Short-stack battles are hence a constant feature of most freezeout tournaments. While the short stack battles may be less appealing to some, a considerable amount of skill is still involved. The players who understand short-stack play the best will consistently win more tournaments over the long run. 

888poker offers freezeout poker tournaments from freerolls up to high stakes. Over the calendar year we can also expect to see tournaments grouped into “series” which offer even bigger payouts than usual. 

A hybrid type of freezeout tournament is the “rebuy” tournament. This is not strictly a freezeout tournament, since rebuys are allowed during the early stages. Once the rebuy period is over however, a rebuy tournament becomes practically identical to a freezeout tournament.

Why Play Freezeout Poker Tournaments at 888poker

Pros:

  • The freezeout format is the simplest out there, and perfectly suited for taking our first steps into tournament poker. It is also by far the most popular tournament variant in the live arena.
  • Strategy information is most widely available on this type of poker tournament. It’s hence easier to improve our skillset.
  • The prize pool available is known 100% beforehand. There are no bounties and rebuys to skew the money once the event has started.
  • 888poker offers a full ladder of stakes from freerolls to high stakes. This gives you a clear target of progression to aim for in your tournament career.

Cons:

  • The prize pool does not get built up by the extra money from rebuys.
  • The variance is extreme and requires a large bankroll to withstand the expected swings.
  • The format is geared around the final table, unlike, for example, knockout tournaments where a sizeable prize can be won without reaching the final few tables.

Is This Tournament Type for You?

Freezeout poker tournaments on 888poker are as exciting as it comes. The simple structure makes it perfect for recreational players taking a chance to win their first big score. But there is also plenty of advanced strategy for experienced players to get their teeth into.

What is unavoidable though, is the massive variance we can expect. Players who are low on patience might be better suited to cash games. If, on the other hand, a player is planning on a long tournament career, then tournaments are a great choice.

The excitement of reaching a final table, with all the pressure that entails, is thrilling and will suit a particular type of personality. Freezeout tournaments are all about the final few placings.

Freezeout Poker Tournaments Strategy Tips

  • Play tight in the early stages - Tight strategy is recommended for the early stages of a freezeout tournament. Many weak players will self-destruct before the event truly gets going, giving us the chance to build our stack with minimal risk.
  • Increase aggression as our stack decreases - As we approach the middle stages of the tournament, our stack may begin to dwindle as the blind levels increase. We’ll need to take more marginal opportunities as they present themselves (otherwise we could end up getting blinded out). We should avoid the tendency to just “hang on until the bubble”.
  • Play aggressively with a short stack. If our stack is diminished to the 10bb region, the quality of our cards becomes less important than the opportunity afforded to us. Stealing and re-stealing with a high frequency may be a high-risk strategy but gives us the best shot at ultimate victory. Many players will be trying their best to hang on by playing tight. We shouldn’t miss out on the chance to take advantage of this by winning their chips. In most cases, with a stack size 10bb or smaller, the best preflop line is simply to shove all-in (assuming we want to enter the pot). 
  • Master ICM: Independent chip modelling (ICM) is the key to late stage tournament play. This technique is used to assign a monetary value to tournament chips. Some off-table work will be required to understand how the concept of ICM influences our commitment decisions at the tournament table. Explained simply – the goal of tournament play is not to increase the size of our stack on average, but rather to maximize our monetary profits on average. Yes, there is a difference! It is possible for a decision which increases our chip stack on average, to be a losing play in terms of money, as can be demonstrated through ICM calculations. 
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