I played in my first live multi-table tournament yesterday. The only other live experience I have is playing the occasional Hold 'Em poker night with a good-sized group of friends and a cash game at Horseshoe Casino south of Chicago. Needless to say, I was both excited and nervous.
Being my first multi-table tournament, I used the event as a learning experience rather than holding myself to high expectations. I was able to pull off some of the things I love doing online: taking pots with big raises and crap cards, trapping an opponent, and patience paying off (at one point, I ended up with a full house and quadrupled my stack).
I didn't end up ITM, but to my surprise, I outlasted a good number of other players. There were obvious problems: nervousness about my first tournament had my hands trembling while pulling the pot into my stack, stupid betting mistakes, and, embarrassingly enough, folding when I could've just checked. D'oh!
All that aside, I'd really love some help on reading people. I'm reading a book by Phil Gordon. He notes that he often doesn't like looking at his hole cards until it's his action. His reasoning is that he watches everyone else pick up their cards first, hoping for some kind of information.
Being new to such a large tournament, I found it difficult to glance around at the other nine heads sitting at the table. I wanted to do it quickly in order to get a feel for who had what, but I didn't feel like I ever had enough time to pick up on anything.
After two or three levels, I decided that as a beginner, I'd play out the pre-flop without worrying too much about picking up on signs from others. I'd still try to find something, but didn't want to beat myself up about it. If I found myself getting into the flop, I'd try to read the smaller group of people as the flop hit the table.
Good/bad strategy for a beginner in live tourneys? Suggestions?