I've been playing mostly Pechanga, Saturday morning tourney. You'll see me there. Just look for the guy who makes it to about 25th place and then gets this disgusted look on his face (after a bad beat) and walks out really fast. I play Elsinore every once in awhile, but I prefer a no rebuy structure because it requires a more "tournament-oriented" strategy (rebuy tourneys play like cash games; if you have AK early on and get raised all in, you go for it because you probably are getting good odds on your money).
I've never really played against a field of skilled opponents, just the occassional decent player. I completely understand that big money poker is different.
What I'm getting at is, "Is the camping out strategy REALLY optimal, or is this just an illusion?" I've only made it ITM once at Pechanga, and that was when I was hammering on the blinds and not catching cards. In hindsight, this was luck + skill. Skill = I knew when my opponents wouldn't call my all in and give me their blind. Luck = I was lucky to "catch" some weaker opponents at my tables (old ladies, etc.).
Every other time I've played, I've been bad beat out before ITM, mostly by a "gambler" who called my all in with a marginal hand (25% or less) and came out on top.
I'm going kamikaze this Saturday and we'll see how it works. I'm thinking this strategy might have a higher success rate. 1) I will most likely build a decent stack from smaller pots when the blinds are still small, hopefully doubling up in 1st 15 minutes. This will prevent me from getting bad beat out if I need to gamble. 2) This will give me an aggressive image. "Gamblers" who love to "keep you honest" are more likely to notice your aggression than your tightness, because they love to call you down if there's even a 10% chance you're bluffing. 3) Most players are camping for TPTK, some even 2 pair. There seems to be a lot of pots ripe for the taking.
a)The gamblers are so flaky that one hand they'll fold 2 pair and the next they'll call the whole way with bottom pair. It's a mine field and it's difficult to tell where you are in a hand, especially since they never raise preflop.
I. Alternative Strategies.
1. The Daniel Negreanu Strat: Play every hand from middle position and past (esp. if the blinds are weak). Steal every pot that isn't raised in front of you, and steal half of the ones that are ("run the table").
2. TAgg. The only revision is, keep the bets smaller, because you don't want to go broke on a single hand against a lucky shot. "Gamblers" can't and don't distinguish between a raise of 10x and a raise of 2x.
3. Ultimate Fisherman. Because they hardly ever raise preflop, play every starting hand weak-tight from UTG +1 and past. Limp in with your top 50% of hands (we're talking Q 2s) from these positions (very, very loose). Hope to double up with an unlikely and lucky flop.
4. Current Strategy. Weak-Tight. Don't bet unless you have at least a 75% chance to take down the pot. Preflop, you're raising smallish with AK, etc and limping in from late position a lot. Always slow down on the turn if it's scary. Almost never bet the river without the nuts. The one time you do have 2nd nuts/nuts, go nuclear and enjoy your profits.