re: Poker & Tournament play
First time in a tourney? In the beginning blinds rock up, stay tight, observe the other players for strengths and weakness's, get a feel for the ebb and flow of the game.
Don't worry about building your chip stack early, stay tight, this is survival time. Since luck is a factor as well as skill, if you find yourself ahead early with a dominant chip stack, USE IT, loosen up near the button a little but stay tight. If someone is playing back at your leading chip stack the odds
are they have you beat, unless you have the nut consider folding.
Middle tournament, again if short stacked or average stacked, stay tight in EP and look for opportunities to loosen up in LP. On or near the button you can call with almost any two cards if the whole table limps, stay out of the hand if there are raises and re raises in front of you. If its a super tight table, depending on your observations of your opponent limpers, you can try a 3X blind raise and a continuation bet of the flop to make them fold, make that bet strong, if they smell weakness they will come after you. Don't over abuse the button, they'll catch on to that too.
If your tall stacked mid tourney play the same as early, maybe a little looser in LP, remember resistance is a major tell, if someone is playing back at you their non fear represents a strong hand. Maintain your table image, fear is a mind killer use it to your advantage.
Late stage, nearing the bubble is where you build your stack, this is where your skills overcome the luck factor. The best players even the pros only make it in the cash between 10 and 15% of the tournaments they play. This is the time in the tournament where the most experienced are focused and playing the PLAYER, looking for opportunities, making other players make mistakes or amplifying other players mistakes to their advantage. Amazing brilliant plays are made here and awesome suck outs are common.
Short stacked, average or tall stack if you make it this far in a tournament you have a chance to win the whole thing. Making it to this point is crucial which is why learning survival skills in the early mid stages are so important.
The shorter your stack the worse are you chances but again this time is so vilotile that short stacks become huge and tall stacks go bust. If your short stacked get it all in with the best hand, look to play Ax from the button all-in if everyone folded in front of you. Mid to tall stacked look to gobble up shortstacks since a lot of them will play Ax, KJ, KQ and suited connectors out of position.
No matter what your stack size at this point in the tournament the PRESSURE is on and reading other players becomes fairly easy. Using your skills, playing position, playing the player, being selectively aggressive can build your chip stack and get you to the final table. If you can make it this far the opportunities are there and with good skills you'll at least make the cash online, and maybe the final table in smaller home/casino tournaments.
This is also the place where the good player gets knocked out of the tournament, if the luck was with you in the early mid survival stages your chances are better, short stacks are very vulnerable but in my experience if you use your short stack to your advantage you *can* double, triple or quadruple through at this stage if you don't get unlucky.
Suck outs are common, short stacks are going for the gold, tall stacks are calling because they can afford to lose a few chips in the hope of knocking some one out, medium stacks are scared and can be forced to make mistakes, this pressure makes almost everyone easy to read. This is SKILL time and luck time, the better your skill the better your chances overcoming the luck factor.
If you make it past this to the late late stages you should know what to do and how to play, you got there with skill and a little bit of luck. If you got there by luck only you don't need advice ... buy a lottery ticket.