I frequently watch the streams of the larger tourneys and follow along with the DTM software. It shows the scores each round of the finals and I will screenshot those as a reminder of tourney reality. Granted there are sometimes some very impressive scores, but oftentimes the scores are not that high due to the set up. That’s the key: how is it set up?
Quick personal story: I played a game of TSPP many years ago in a multi-day “Herb style” event (For the newcomer’s benefit: That type of tourney is where only your high score counts on each of say 5 different games-could be more or less. Scores of all players are ranked 100, 95, 90, 89...etc. on each game. Add all of your rankings to make the best score out of 500-assuming 5 games and top 16 advance).
My philosophy is I always keep my first score as what I call a “planting seed” score, knowing I can probably improve it and make it grow. There’s no harm I keeping it, other than if it stinks, people can see it.
On my first game, I struggled to score 10MIL (yes ten) and knew it was not that high since I had scored way higher at home, had been close to SDMEWM etc., but it planted a seed and gave me one of my 5 scores I needed. People looking at the leader board were laughing about that score I kept until they played it.
It held all weekend as the number one score. It was bananas. That game was set up very hard with a hair trigger tilt.
The point is: don’t look at scores posted online or what someone says they did at home or the local arcade and automatically think that translates to how they will fare at a tourney