I have a definite way of playing tournaments and I have won the last 2 tournaments I played in, yesterday and the day before, for a net profit of 28 million chips, so it seems to work reasonably here, if I have a bit of luck.
Let’s say you start with 5000 chips. The first target is to get to 6000 chips by winning a number of small pots while the blinds are low.
If this fails and my stack falls below 3500 chips, I am immediately looking for a chance to get all in before the flop against one opponent and double my stack before I become a complete lame duck.
So now I am back in the 6000-7000 range and will play a mixed game until the one-hour break. It is not a good idea to set reaching one hour as a target, because this is too easy. You need to set your target of reaching the one-hour break and being in the top half of the field.
After the break the blinds will be escalating and it will be much harder to limp in to see cheap flops from out of position. You need to tighten up and only enter pots in which you have hands that have at least some capacity to make top pair on the flop. I would not call raises with small pairs here, because you do not have the odds and need to conserve chips to intimidate opponents.
At this stage you may pick up big pots if you get into a hand with a big stack who has been playing very aggressively and hit something on the flop, then feign weakness and check raise him when he (or she) bluffs. If he or she is a player who has got a large stack by hitting winners on the river by calling everything when the blinds are low, this may be time for his/her luck to turn.
Down to the last two tables, and you need to keep a constant eye on the leaderboard open in another window and seize pots any time your stack sinks into the bottom half. It is important to keep your stack large enough that even the biggest stacks do not want to mess with you unless they have the nuts and they will not call with draws if you shove the flop.
On the final table, you need to try to understand what the tactical plan of each opponent is, how they play and so on. And then smash them.
This hand is the type that is crucial to get into position to win tournaments: I went on the win this one last night.
Note that I had the flush draw, so that reduced the chance that my opponent had the nut flush. Also note that I did not shove the river, because I wanted to keep opponent in an area of uncertainty and not discourage a call. She may have had AQ, I don’t know.
On this hand, on the final table, my opponent did not appear to be looking for a call and since he had limped in and I had given no indication of a powerful hand preflop, because i had no desire to raise the tournament leader preflop and then have him raise me all in with my OK, but not a killer hand, which I would have to fold. On the flop I thought it was likely that he had top pair and a lesser kicker, or even second pair, or even something like a smaller pocket pair. I think if he had made trips he would have flat called my flop bet.
One you have got to that position, it should be plain sailing, but you may still need to trick your opponents a bit to get their chips.
And then to finish them off, a bit of luck never hurts and when I flopped quads, I was fairly confident that I had the measure of my opponent, and so it proved to be.