I just recently finished my first attempt at the 10,000 online player tournament to qualify to play with Daniel Negraneau in the Bahamas.
To say that this tournament is a challenge, is quite the understatment. For the first two hours, I played 'hand to hand' which basically means that you get bumped from table to table after almost every hand. For this reason, you do not really get a sense of how anyone at your table plays.
Not to make excuses, but I had a pretty unremarkable run of hole cards. I recall having big slick once, pocket jacks three times, and big chick on one other occassion. Starting with 1500 chips, you are in quite the precarious situation. Most hands people raise about 150 from the start, so if you call and miss three or four flops, you're in trouble pretty quick.
In the end, I placed 655th out of 10,000 people which is quite unremarkable. One thing that I learned from this experience, is that playing tight amoungst all of these competitors is not a very good approach. In my opinion, you need to build a stack of chips very fast to do well in this tournament. Being stuck with a marginal chip stack for most of the tournament made it very difficult to play many hands. Next time I would rather take more chances and risk being eliminated early on than to grind it out with an average chip stack.
Early on, you can pretty much expect to have to play the poker lotto to build up a big stack. I tried playing premium hands like pocket jacks--only to find out my pre-flop raises were called by people with hands like ten deuce of diamonds. Of course, they would call any raise after the flop and turn and continue on to hit the flush suck out on the river. This is the kind of play you can expect here. People will play any type of hole cards regardless of how pots are raised and many of them will get lucky flops or go for a suck out on the river.
On three or four occassions, even though I thought that I was playing pretty tight, I had to call all in bluffs on the river. That can be very difficult to do when you have queen ten and the board has AJq10J with three spades which is the situation that I was in. Fortunately, I was close to being pot committed. I was already aware that anyone with a king had a straight to ace after the turn. Then the river came and the board not only paired the jacks which was bad enough, but a spade came as well. Luckily the guy who went all in had 9,10 and had missed his open ended straight draw.
Once the top 1200 or so were remaining, hand to hand play was turned off. Moments before being eliminated, I had about 11,000 chips with the chip leader somewhere around 100,000 chips. The blinds were about 800 with a 100 chip ante. Here, I ran into a bad strech of hole cards. With pre-flop raises of 2-3000 chips almost every hand, I was unable to call very many hands. When I did call and completely missed the flops, I had to simply fold as three or four people were re-raising each other. It wasn't long between missing a few flops and the big blind/ante that I was now down to about 1500 chips and had little choice but to go all in (ante was 100 chips/blind 1000) with a hand I wouldn't normally have chosen--K9 hearts. The person who called had Ace Queen off suit--so they probably had 2:1 odds and they paired the Queen on the turn for the win.