Most of us serious about poker realize that skill is a big part of the game, but often we tend to overlook how huge "luck" is also a factor. We've studied the percentages and adjust our bankroll management to account for negative swings and variances and hopefully play winning poker.
Luck and time involved means as much if not more than mad skillz.
Looking at Poker Stars
tournament leaderboard DNA2RNA is currently number one. Then looking him up on PDB you see these stats.
In 1 and 1/2 years of play DNA2RNA has played 4431 tournaments and got 1st place 94 times. That's 2.12% of the time, he only makes the final table 13.65% of the time, has only cashed 714 out of those 4431 tournaments.
There are other factors to think of as well, DNA2RNA can afford to play because of BRM, bigger buy-in tournaments with fields of 300 players and less. If he had to play 2 to 10 dollar tournaments with 1500 to 3000 players I think his stats would show worse.
In my case in the same time period I have only played 656 tournaments, got 1st place only 4 times at .61% and final tabled 13 at 1.98%, cashing 77 times of of 656 tournaments played.
I can't play 4000+ tournaments due to time constraints and brm limits me to smaller buy-ins with an average of 1300 players per tourney.
Just making the final table is in reality, RARE for anyone, all anyone can do is study the game, fix their leaks when they find them and try to play as consistently well as they can. Skills are important, staying with in ones brm and having the TIME and PATIENCE to work ones way up is important, but luck is a factor too, that's just the way it is.
So making the final table, winning first place, the thrill we seek, is difficult, but if your good enough you'll only do it RARELY it comes with the territory.