I'm haven't won a WSOP seat through pokerstars because sometimes I'm still the guy who can't put down QQ after raising UTG preflop, facing a reraise from the button and allin from the BB. Every situation is a chance to learn for next time though.
I played in the $5k gtd last night, but after the weekend away and with one eye half on the football I wasn't really concentrating. I survived for around 3 hours and then went out when I raised in LP with TT and the big blind shoved. I didn't know where I was, which normally would make me fold, but I called and his QQ held up.
Pud left a comment recently -
"You seem to be going deep in MTT'sa lot lately Tan. What have you done to your game to make this happen? Care to share the love?"
I'll try to come up with some answers, but I am no where near a good MTT player yet. Most of this stuff is just starting to come back to me from the days when I played day in, day out every night and got what I consider to be OK at MTTs. Keeping my brain in practice and thinking about poker a lot of the time is one of the biggest things that helps me.
#1 Focus, Concentration and Attention to Detail.
These are the number 1 factors which have improved in my game lately. The TV's off, sometimes I have music playing, sometimes I just sit in silence. The only thing on my screen is the game most of the time. Without this concentration I just don't gather enough information to be able to play my hands well when they come.
By maintaining #1 I'm able to get enough information from most of the other players at my table when I'm not in a hand that means I can be far more accurate when assigning ranges when I'm playing a hand against them. Previously I would just be making assumptions based on the average pattern, now I can make an educated guess.
#3 Adjusting to the table
Again, by keeping an eye on what everyone else did in the previous 10 hands where I folded rags, I now have a better idea how to play the hand I've got now. Is the standard raise 2.5 or 4 ? Is the table bubble-tight or in the preflop push-fest that occurs when blinds get high. All this effects whether I'm deciding to play the hand I've got. It could mean I open fold AJ in middle position or in another situation raise with a very wide range.
#4 Think ahead
Ask yourself before it happens "If I do this then the things that could happen are a,b and c". Based on what you've seen before you can probably make good guesses on the likelihood of them occurring too, so you get
"If I do this then there is a 10% chance of A, 25% chance of B and 65% chance of C"
And based on the way that guy's played his hands before which he showed down you might get as accurate as
"If I bet half the pot on this Ah 9h 3s board there is a 10% chance I'll get reraised by any Ace, 25% chance he'll quickly call with a flush draw and 65% chance he'll fold with nothing."
#5 Test assumptions
Sometimes you have to guess because you haven't got much information yet on a player but you've ended up in a hand with him. This is where you have to make an assumption and bet accordingly to try and verify it. Risk as many chips as you need to but as few as possible to ask the question.
#6 Trust yourself
If you do all the above things well then not only will you be consciously focussing on this stuff, by watching the game at ALL times you'll subconsciously be picking up on small things too. Bet timings, bet amounts, something just "doesn't smell right". You may not be able to specifically say what but generally your instinct will be right more than wrong because of the small pieces of other information you've picked up on without realising it.
#7 Folding isn't a bad option
If in doubt, fold. Quite often you do all the above and just end up completely confused by a bet on a hand. In these situations unless its very cheap to see what's going on I'll fold and wait for the hands where I do know where I'm at.