Multi table tournaments (MTTs) are not the same as cash games. Your goal when playing a tournament on Americas CardRoom or any other USA online poker site should always be to win! It's better to win one online poker tournament every so often than to regularly sneak in to the money. You can practice your tournament play for free at Americas Cardroom. Check them out here.
In poker tournament play the goal is not to win any specific hand, but to win the poker tournament as a whole. For example if you have a pair of 8s and you know your opponent has 2 over cards and puts you all in preflop, you should fold. You have a slight advantage and would call in a ring game, but you want to win the poker tournament, and if you make that call several times in a online poker tournament, you will soon be out. Tournament play is also dependent on what phase of the tournament you are in.
Early in a online poker tournament, your goal should be to play few hands and bet aggressively when you make a hand. Most people play too many hands early on so try to take some of their chips, but you don't want to get involved with any of the maniacs at the table unless you've got the goods. Remember that you can’t win a tournament early, but you can certainly lose one early on. Risking your online poker tournament life in the first few blind levels will lead to exiting the tournament early more often than not.
During the middle stages of an MTT – this is the time to steal the blinds whenever you can, you can start playing more hands in an attempt to accumulate as many chips as possible to give yourself a greater chance of winning the whole US online poker tournament. If you notice a tell, wait until you get the right opportunity to get some chips against the player and use his/her obvious plays against them. For instance, if you sense another player is getting out of line and always stealing the blinds, you can attempt a re-steal knowing you will get folds a lot of the time.
Late in the tournament when it's getting close to the money bubble, players tighten up a lot as the fear of elimination is higher than normal. This is when you can bully the smaller stacks when you are one of the medium or larger stacks. Don't become too aggressive though or else other players will figure out what you are up to.
If you end up with a small stack, you are looking for a quick double up. You can move all in with KQ when the action has folded around to you and there's only a few players left. Even if another player has a weak Ace they probably won’t call as they might put you on a better Ace. If you have a small pocket pair, you want to either move all in if the right situation presents itself or fold if you think you're a big underdog. Don't simply call when you're the small stack – every chip invested represents a large portion of your stack.