There are so many types of tournament on RP and each has its special quirks that you have to figure out.
Having played excruciatingly badly in 2 high stakes tournaments, this evening and having some time to spare, I decided to sign up for the next available tourney and found myself in a little tournament that was just 5000 chips to enter that had 75 players.
The quirk in this one was that there were only 4 players per table, and sometimes, with the odd numbers only 3 players, so you really could not afford to fold too many hands as the blinds went up.
Obviously at this level the players were mostly newbie level, that is they knew how to play the cards, how to bet, call, shove, but had no idea about tournament strategy and the bluffing seemed pretty random.
Anyway I struggled through and made the final table. One of the quirks of this format is that when there are only 5 players left, 3 will play on one table and the other two will be heads up.
I don’t know whether this was by design, but in my tournament the two largest stacks were heads-up (so they could kind of collude not to knock each other out) and there were 3 at my table.
Eventually I managed to build up a lead on my table and get into a situation where the other two stacks went all-in against each other and one was eliminated.
On the final table the smallest stack was soon eliminated and then the second placed stack was a bit unfortunately eliminated when his AA was beaten by Q5 all-in preflop wielded by a maniac as it make a straight on the river, as Q5 does.
So I was left to take on the maniac and managed to get within striking range, but then I called one of his numerous shoves with Q9 suited and was beaten by his K5.
I think this tournament is called the Burnout and not a bad little tournament if you want to get some practice at small table play in tournaments. There are 15 paid places, so you can almost fold your way into the money without really noticing.
Some of the players are maniacs who will shove anything, but there are other many players who do not defend their blinds enough and who fold to any bet postflop unless they have you beat, and that is where you can make most of your chips grinding them down like a boiling a frog until suddenly they realize that the blinds are rising and they are almost gone. By that time it is too late and you can gobble them up.
With only 4 players at the table, if you are not in the blinds, then you are in the cutoff or on the button, so preflop shoving can be very effective as the odds of an opponent in later position having a monster are diminished, and the range for starting hands needs to be lowered, for example any Ace is probably good enough. On two occasions I had opponents call off their entire stack when they flopped top pair with A2 when they were up against a large ace.