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  • Posted by stoyvind on April 12, 2023 at 9:15 am

    Hi there.

    I hope someone can help me with this ICM spot:

    It is the final table, 8 players remaining, 6 gets paid. I am 6th with 21 BB, the two other short stacks have between 10 and 15 BB. I get dealt 99 in the low jack and open to 2 BB. On the button, the chip leader (he has a massive lead) shows. He has recently declared that he will put pressure on us. I call (and loose, hence this question): is that correct?

    monkiesystem replied 1 year, 2 months ago 5 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • fivebyfive

    April 12, 2023 at 10:22 am

    I can try my best to run this, but to really properly analyze these spots, you need to know payouts and relative stack depths of every player at the table. But I made something up for conversation. I gave the top slot a prize of $500 and 6th place one of $100. This could be dramatically different than reality. And I put the chip stacks in the attached image. Since we are 6th in chips and basically on the bubble, the position of the short stacks really matters as does how much the chip leader covers everyone else. In this example, chip leader has an overwhelming lead, but still is shoving into some stacks behind that can significantly hurt them. If they are playing properly, this is going to weight them toward a certain class of hands. In this scenario, 99 is an open/fold. And even JJ and TT mixes between calls and folds.

    But what if we move the short stacks to the blinds? Now, BTN’s shove isn’t as significant to them and puts more ICM pressure the players behind. They can do this a bit wider, which means our calling range widens (a little). Now JJ and TT are pure calls. But, unfortunately, even in this spot 99 is a fold.

    A lot of factors can shift how we play these spots, but the more you know about a spot like this, the more you can start to run examples like this and even start to play around and see what changes those decisions.

    The last variable I ran in this spot was to take the second example (with the short stacks in the blinds) and said, let’s take BTN at their word, what if they are really getting out of line? I adjusted to have them jam all broadways, all pairs, all suited Kx and Qx. Many suited connectors. All Axo and Kxo. Around 44% of hands.

    Well, we do widen our calling range slightly, but it still doesn’t include 99. We instead add hands like AQs and AJs. Why? The blocker properties. If we hold 99, we unblock their better holdings. So even if we KNOW BTN is out of line, we’re still kind of in ICM jail and this is a fold. They could flat out tell us that they are this wide, and we’d still need to fold.

    Finally, let’s give BTN any two cards. They are just going nuts. Now 99 is mostly a call, but we’re STILL folding it 27% of the time. Only calling 73% of the time. We straight up fold KQo and 66. 77 and KQs, we barely ever call. This is how powerful ICM is and how much it factors in to these late game decisions.

  • stoyvind

    April 15, 2023 at 12:58 am

    Thanks a lot! – that is interesting. I have understood that ICM is crucial, but I realize that I probably underestimate the extent to which it is crucial.

  • monkiesystem

    April 15, 2023 at 6:37 am

    If you’re a frequent tournament player, these ICM spots are a crucial item for which you allocate study time. I recently posted a hand history here in which a theoretical blunder cost five buy-ins in $EV. Your annual subscription to HRC pays for itself the first time your study time in it prompts you to fold a hand that you might otherwise have mistakenly called or jammed.

  • rabman50

    April 15, 2023 at 8:21 pm

    When studying ICM off the table you quickly realize how ICM pressure changes our ranges as well as our strategy. As Chris said, to analyze this spot we would need more specific information ie: each stack size by position and the payout structure. A couple of things I would consider; 1) The chip leader can certainly be more aggressive, but I would expect him to be more judicious with his 3-bet range than his raise-first-in range; 2) In ICM spots it is better to be the bettor than caller so you can bet with a much wider range than you can call. In this spot against the chip-leader I would fold everything but AA-KK. Look for a better spot against a mid to short stack rather than take on the chip leader for your tournament life.

  • eanderson85

    April 16, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    There are 5 things you must understand to be a profitable low to mid stakes tournament player.
    1. Preflop Raise First In ranges.
    2. Preflop calling and 3bet ranges.
    3. Bet sizing, Pot odds, Break-even %, Minimum Defense Frequencies, and bluffing frequencies (All interact and are basically different perspectives on the same math).
    4. Independant Chip Modeling.
    5. Mental Game.

    With the onset of Artificial Intelligence, at least online games are going to have to get tougher, so learning PKO and 4-card poker may be the future.
    For ICM study, I recommend Dara O’Kearney’s work. He has a great video series on Learn Pro Poker that greatly complements “Endgame Poker Strategies” and “Poker Satellite Strategies”. And the legendary Rob Washam may have a few things to say in the book study archives.😜
    I have also made some flashcard quizzes @ eric_anderson517 in Quizlet. Search for “Poker Math” and “ICM”, and don’t forget to tell them I sent ya. 🐭

    • monkiesystem

      April 16, 2023 at 8:51 pm

      Agree with everything here. I would add a caveat to the list of five – a full understanding of these concepts includes how to use them to exploitative adjustments to your play. This is especially true in low stakes.

      To your suggestions about PKO’s and 4-card poker, I would add live satellites. This is truly some low-hanging fruit in poker these days. I haven’t tried online satellites yet, so I can’t speak to it. I plan to try.

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