You can find all kinds of vague advice on how to play tournaments, but I am finding that most of it is relatively ineffective, for example, I am finding that the best way to get to the final table is to be a big stack and a bully.
Take a look at part of the list of hands that I played in a 72-player tournament tonight in which I finished second and won chips to take me over 1 million for the first time after 5 weeks on the site.
As you will see, of the 10 hands shown, I won 8, and on one of the other hands the villain had a pair of Aces.
How was this possible. Well, it started with this hand, where one villain was kind enough to donate his whole stack to further my mission.
Perhaps I was a bit lucky, but I didn’t think he had KQ from the way he played the hand as he seemed to be trying to drive me out of the hand, not to get my chips.
From that point on I was able to bludgeon the table into submission and raise with anything, winning hands like this one:
Having a big stack made it possible to raise with any hand as the raise was a small percentage of my stack, and if an opponent fought back, I could always fold. Sometimes I would pay a little over the odds on draws, since the percentage damage to my stack was small and the implied odds great if a villain could be sent home.
Of course players could see that a lot of my raises must be ■■■■■■■■, but there was not much they could do. Until this happened, clear evidence that my mini raises were not commanding much respect and I must be taught a sharp lesson.
The tournament theory I am leaning towards is that it may pay to take some risks on draws early on while weaker players are present to get a big stack, and then lead from the front and bully the hell out of the tight players, never let small stacks or blinds limp into a pot that you want to play. As a large stack, when the blinds are at low levels, you can effectively set your own minimum blind for anyone to play a hand with you. That way when the flop comes you can be reasonably sure that BB is not playing with unsuited 4 gappers other than A9. You should also think in terms of calling for draws in relation to the size of your stack rather than in relation to the blinds if there is a chance of busting an opponent who probably holds Ax and has made two pairs and is ready to go all in on the turn.
In finishing second in a 72-player tourney tonight, I only had AA one time and AK two times and did not win big pots with any of them. I think I only flopped a set one time. On the other hand, I busted out three players who had AK. One of the biggest errors I see is players completely losing their heads when they have AK, going all in after completely missing the flop when they are up against sets, two pairs, and middle range flops that have numerous flush and straight possibilities.