Auctions - has anyone done this before?

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So in my area, there's not a lot of people that do auction sites like or

I've been considering a few different ones that seem like good buys. I know when I bought an auction home before, I was being bid up by bots like everyone on here said (I think one other real person bid for a bit but then it was just back to me and bot). I knew what my numbers were, so I didn't worry about going up, as long as I didn't go past my number. I ended up being just shy of that, so it all worked out and I got it for a steal. But if I remember correctly, I don't think it technically met the "reserve" amount.

So, I'm wondering, since there are a lot of different ones that look good and don't seem to be getting activity, has any investor just went out, thrown down the starting bid for lots of properties, and not worried about the back and forth part? Have you won even if the reserve wasn't met, just because there weren't any other bidders and the bank would rather take something than nothing? 

Just wondering if this was a tactic anyone has tried before (if their markets even allow it) and if you've had success? Have you won on properties that haven't met the reserve? Even by a long shot?