Played a 250.000 buy in tonight and was devastated when I shoved the flop with top pair and villain called with two pairs and I was out in 11th place where 4 got prize money, so not even on the bubble, not even close to the bubble.
So, like a rider fallen from a horse, I jumped back into the saddle for another tournament of the same entry fee, that eventually had 53 entrants, and noticed immediately that my table was populated with fallen villains from the last tournament.
I could not pick up any cards, and was sinking, sinking, sinking, but managed to hold on by winning a couple of bluffs, and then after the first hour break I we approached the bubble. There were ten winners tonight, and with fourteen players left, I was the smallest stack on my table, with all the other small stacks on the other table. Anyway, I just managed to hang on somehow by the skin of my teeth and when there were 11 left, 2 were eliminated on the same hand on the other table, and I crept into the money.
I was 9th of 9, then 8th of 8, then 7th of 7, then 6th of 6 and had at least won back my stake money for the evening and made a few hundred thousand chips profit. Then the other players kept melting away until there was only one villain left and I had just over 100,000 chips, and he 50,000 chips, but it seemed like he had given up and it was all over in 5 or 6 hands. So I managed to pocket 3 1/2 million chips profit in the end and get onto a slightly more secure rung within the top 500.
The lesson I learned from this tournament was just reinforcement from other tournaments, and was this. Always consider the game plan, before calling a raise. Play the situation, not the cards. On three or four occasions I avoided disaster by folding pocket pairs preflop, one of these was a pair of jacks, and on one occasion on the final table when I raised with A Qs, and was greeted with a shove and two calls, I folded and had the satisfaction of seeing one villain eliminated, another crippled, and the shover with a pair of Kings made a set and would have crushed my little A Q and taken half my stack.
The most powerful move of all is the preflop fold.