I have recently had the opportunity to play in a series of freeroll tournaments, and it has really helped me practice my skills at changing my playing style in the middle of a game, or “on the fly.” The ability to adjust your play quickly to changing circumstances is very important to your long-term profit in any form of poker, as your opponents may change the way they are playing and new players will replace the ones who leave, often creating an entirely different game.
Using poker freerolls as an example, the play in the early rounds tends to be very loose and borderline maniacal at times, while reverting to tight and aggressive in the later rounds. There are different theories about how to play in these situations, but the best way is whatever works best for you. You need to find the best strategy that complements your overall playing style in every situation. Just because one strategy works best for a player does not mean that it will work well for you. The strategy that works best for me is to play very tight in the early rounds and a little looser in the later rounds.
When the game is very loose, the likelihood of receiving a bad beat goes up, so my goal is to only enter hands with a large advantage. Even hands as strong as QQ, KK and AA often get beat against three or more opponents, so if four or more people are seeing every flop, I am very careful about what I enter the pot with and what I will continue playing after the flop.
After all of the maniacs have been eliminated, and especially when it is close to the bubble, I tend to loosen up a bit because many players tighten up to attempt to slip into the money. Often playing aggressively at this point can get many opponents to fold better hands.
Work on adjusting your play mid-game, and you will improve your overall game. One of the best places to do this is in a freeroll, so jump into one today and try it out. Until next week, good luck at the tables!