Well, tonight I placed 180th out of a field of over 1800 players, so I'm pretty happy with myself.
Rather than just stew today, I re-read portions of Phil Hellmuth's "Play Like the Pros" as well as Doyle's chapter on tournament play and No-Limit Hold'em (NLH) play in "Super System 2."
It helped me go far. I ended up establishing quite a table image; no one called my raises for much of the game. This was good in that it enabled me to pick up a number of pots but bad in that I didn't get paid off like I could have if people had bet and/or called me more.
I'm still pleased with myself. I remembered something Phil Hellmuth wrote, which was that in order to become a champion NLH player, you had to be able to lay down a promising hand if you thought it could be beat.
That saved me a number of times.
Yet I didn't fully follow another piece of Phil's writing, which was that megalomaniac players tend to do better in tournaments than tight players because of all the blinds and antes that they steal.
I allowed too many of my blinds to be stolen and to be bet out of pots if my hand wasn't very strong- despite being a chip leader at my table at one point. I truly believe that many of these players had stronger hands than mine, but sometimes I'm sure they didn't.
And when I did raise someone I thought was bluffing, I usually won- except for the one loss that crippled me.
I'm happy with my play tonight because I was able to recognize betting patterns, raise effectively, and push the table around when I wanted to.
I just need to do more of it.
There are worse problems to have.
This is something I've noticed about myself time and again; I have the abilities to succeed at what I want to accomplish as long as I'm willing to work at it and use my talents effectively.
I just need to courage to actually do it.