As you may know, tournament play is completely different than cash games. While in cash games you can recover as many times as you want. In tournaments once you are out there is no second chance. Hence, you need to be more careful in each the hands you play and gamble as less as possible.
If you are not hitting good hands then don’t get involved in huge pots that could cost your tournament life. Wait for the hand and hit big.
Keep it simple.
Don’t try to make spectacular calls with small pairs or Ace high, or risky bluffs. If you get caught in some of those hands you will probably loose a lot of money. Stick to your hand’s value, if you hit, bet, if you don’t,just check, avoid getting trapped.
Avoid coin flips.
Good tournament players often try to avoid as much as possible coin flips. If you’ve been raised two times preflop then it won’t be a bad idea to fold queens or AK. AK is quite an overrated hand. You’ve got nothing. Pocket of 3s has better odds than AK or AQ. By the way, AK is not much favorite hand against 76 or 85, not at all. You will still lose 40% of the times against any suited connector. So if you think someone is trying to steal your blinds with nothing and you’ve got A10 I still won’t put at risk my whole tournament on such lottery. He might have 72 but still you are not great favorite in the hand. One every three times you will lose against 72 with A10.
Focus on the average stack.
If you are one of the big stacks of the table, don’t think you could outplay anyone by intimidation. Early chip leaders most of the time don’t even reach the bubble. They loose their chips the same way they’ve won them. So if you think your are way above average stack and you are still in the beginning of the tournament then consider playing tight until the number of seating players is reduced. If you are big stack and in the bubble then you could play aggressively and take advantage of it.
This is it, some tips to improve your tournament play. Remember good tournament players are not those who make impressive calls or great bluffs. Just keep it simple so you could be successful in the long run. Finally avoid coin flips that could put your whole tournament at risk. Good luck!