A great way to gain valuable poker experience and the chance to build a bankroll from absolutely nothing is to play freeroll tournaments. Whilst a freeroll follows the same rules as any tournament you would have to buy into, they are a completely different animal from a standard tournament with an entry fee.
The first difference you will notice is the play is extremely loose, mainly due to the fact the majority of players are of the line of thought that they have nothing to lose as they have not had to invest anything to play. Expect all-in bets to be the norm for the first few levels and do not be shocked to find over half the field to be eliminated by the time the first break starts.
Freerolls are also extremely popular so the field sizes are generally very large, often several thousand players take part. This makes the chances of reaching the money slim but you will get some free poker lessons along the way including how to negotiate large fields and if you go deep you will usually have a massive stack so you also gain experience of deep-stacked poker too.
The best strategy to employ in these tournaments is to stick to premium hands and play them very aggressively. Sticking to the better hands will give you more of a chance when the inevitable all-in bet happens after you raise, and you should be willing to call an all-in bet with a slightly larger range, including hands as weak as a pair of tens.
Not all freerolls are like this however as some, such as freerolls awarded to VIP members of a site, offer large cash prizes or entries to live events around the world. The competition in these games is often as tough as a normal tournament, if not more so in the case of VIP games, so approach them as you would if you had bought into a tournament with a similar prize pool.
Many top professionals have built their multi-million dollar bankrolls from freeroll tournaments, having gained valuable free poker lessons that have stood them in good stead for the rest of their careers.