This is a discussion on Weekly Tournament Discussion. ICM within the online poker forums, in the Tournament Poker section; A few weeks ago, C9 made a post with different situations involved and in one situation we had JJ against A6s and the question was 


#1




Weekly Tournament Discussion. ICM
A few weeks ago, C9 made a post with different situations involved and in one situation we had JJ against A6s and the question was if we wanted a call or a fold seeing as we were short stack and the blinds we really high in comparison to our stack. A lot of people (including myself har har har) assumed that we wanted a call but on further calculation by ICM, it showed that the more profitable play in the long run was a fold. A lot of people were confused by this and did not want to accept the math and that is why I thought it was a must to get a post like this going. Yea I know limping vs raising was the topic that won the poll but due to some shenanigans in that thread, it was decided that this would be a better topic to discuss.
A few things 1) Independent Chip Model or ICM is a way of showing how much your current equity is, in a tournament, based on the payout structure of the tournament and the stack sizes of the players left. 2) It is a way of assessing risk/ reward of 1 play against the other (eg, shoving from the SB with 5bb left or just folding). 3) It deals with long term and not just 1 game seeing as some one might run good/ bad for a couple games and equity takes some time to even out. 4) It relates more to SNG play and final table play but before you can really go on, you would need a good ICM calculator or a programm like SNG wizard. It would be extremely time consuming to do the calculations on your own and programms like sng wizard make it a lot easier. Also, because of its time consuming nature, you definitely cannot do it while in a game, it is generally used before and after as a study tool to help your game in future events seeing as if you play a decent amount of sngs, the same situations will tend to come up over and over again. So part of getting better at this is not just playing a lot of games but devoting your time to studying and doing analysis on your game. Poker does not come easy and studying is a must. Now I could have written a long ass strategy post on this but I found this good article written by fox who probably summed it up a lot better than I could have. ICM1 ICM2 (http://tourneyacticles.wordpress.com/2007/10/14/icmcalculationspart2byfox/) ICM3 (http://tourneyacticles.wordpress.com/2007/10/14/icmcalculationspart3byfox/) I'll copy and paste that articles here if someone cannot access the site. Part 1 Quote:
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I didn't even know what ICM stood for, now i think i understand it well enough to start trying to apply it to situations... of course its not very useful unless you can read your opponents is it? So early in MTTs its hard to calculate ICM when you're being moved so much... unless you have Hold em manager, which i dont :/ I REALLY need to get that if i ever get back into serious cash games and tournaments, i think at 10nl or less (where im at right now) i should be safe enough without it because the play is so loose.

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Two things that jumped out at me were
1."Obviously ICM calculations are too time consuming to be doing in the heat of the moment, but using them later to find the correct play will teach you a lot about the game. ICM programs are not necessary to be a very good tournament player, but for even the best players they will yield some valuable information about the game and tournament situations. There are of course many things to be considered when using an ICM that I haven’t covered here, but I’ll be covering some of those things tomorrow. Things like like the size of the blinds in relation to the stacks, your skill level in relation to your opponents, and their playing styles, all change things quite a bit." When do you have time to figure out ICM Calculations in a tourney?? 2.Your “M”. If your stack is fairly deep compared to the blinds, then gambling it up is not often a good choice. If your M is low then go ahead and get your chips in there, you can’t do much with them until you double or triple up anyway. This seems fairly standard that you don't gamble up with a big stack, we should be playing small ball poker. Heck I just got the "M" factor figured out 
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very nice, well thought out and excellent starting topic allot of us dont know how to do the math very well, and those articles you posted will help us all.
just have to make time to really study them. ill get back with a few questions i have a little later. Very nice Marginal. 
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I think for this audience, we shouldn't harp on the math, but the conclusions the math brings you to. I'll write more when I'm off work, but no one actually goes around doing math at the final table. Good players just have an intuitive sense of what correct play is that they have learned after doing the math in a few typical situations.

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ive been looking thru SNG wizard ond went into hem and there is an ICM button on the hand replayer but it dosent appear to be active ill post a screenshot of it is it something hem has or what anyone know ?
also what other options for icm calculators are out there pay and free ones 
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Thanks marginal  you did a great job of kicking off the discussion.

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re: Poker & Weekly Tournament Discussion. ICM
The great thing about ICM is that once you understand it properly, SNGs becomes boring and robotic and you stop playing them to focus on the real thing: cash games...

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I think people think of ICM as this super complicated math thing, but its really not.
Essentially ICM was created as a way to assign a value to tournament chips. In a cash game, winning more chips directly translates into winning more money. However, this isn't the case with a tournament. Even if you win all the chips in the tournament and finish first, you can't win all the money that was paid to enter the tournament (unless its a winner take all tourney). Therefore, the mathematical assumption that ICM makes is that if you have 30% of the chips in a tournament, you have a 30% chance of winning it. Your chances of winning the places lower than that are calculated from your chance of winning first. Thus, if having 30% of the chips in play gives you a 30% chance of winning the tournament, we can now assign a monetary value to them, and thus you can calculate the pot odds required to make calls/folds/shoves/bets, ect. A neat exercise to do is to take a situation, and change the prize structure and see how that changes our decision using ICM. For example: We're on the bubble of a SnG with 4 players left, everyone has 100 chips, the blinds are 5/10. We're in the BB, it folds to the SB who shoves. We're getting 45% pot odds. What chance of winning do we need in order to justify calling given a certain prize structure? Prize Structure (Type of SnG)  Chance of Winning Required 33%/33%/33% (Satellite)  71% chance to win 50%/30%/20% (Standard)  61% chance to win 65%/20%/15% (Top Heavy)  55% chance to win 100%/0%/0% (Winner Takes All)  45% chance to win So ICM tells us exactly what you'd expect. If the prize pool is really flat, then you need a bigger edge in order to put your tournament life at risk. And if the prize pool is winner take all, then it becomes exactly like a cash game. Players intuitively know this, its just that ICM can put a numerical value on it. So use ICM instead of pot odds to figure out what you should do in typical situations of a SnG. 
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Great job guys, I really need to get a firm grasp on this. Will read in depth when I have more time. 
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Another nice thing about ICM: it makes collusion profitable. If you're in a tournament with a friend and one of you has a much bigger stack than the other, chip dumping so that your stacks are equal is obviously neutral in terms of cEV, but profitable in terms of $EV if you consider the sum of your two EVs.
This is particularly true for double or nothing SNGs that have the flatest of all payout structures. I think that's the main reason why FTP won't offer those. They are just too hard to police. 
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Something to consider (and why at times SNG bubble or higher blind play can lead to a bit of a guessing game).. a) is my opponent ICM knowledgeable (ie. if not they might be calling down way too light in spots where there's no way they should be calling from an ICM standpoint.. ie. 2 SS's on the bubble, villain limps or minraises... you shove allin as 2nd biggest stack (or as CL).. and they call you down light
b) does my opponent believe I am ICM knowledgeable 
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re: Poker & Weekly Tournament Discussion. ICM
I think ICM is the thing that makes tournament play different from cash games. In a cash game if the pot odds are good for calling my draw then there is the decision  call. Job done. However, in a tourney the primary aim is not to win chips but to not get knocked out (winning chips is merely a way to make it easier to not get knocked out). By understanding the theory of ICM you can get a more accurate grasp of how to value your chips and thus make better decisions.
Here's a (roughly remembered) situation from a $10 MTT I was in the other day. I am on the BB with about 5BB, the bubble has just burst and I'm holding K6. Everyone folds to the SB who has about 3BB and pushes all in. I call. Since the SB is pushing with ATC, (putting me at 55%) it is easy to call. A fold would leave my stack at 4BB, a call and lose and it is 2BB, a win and it is at about 9BB. Because the bubble has just burst and it's a big MTT it is a long way to the next pay grade and I'm as likely to go bust with 4BB as 2BB. Also, the payout structure means that a stack of 9BB gives me a reasonable chance of getting another two or three levels up the pay ladder (+$5 say) whereas 4BB leaves me lucky to get to the next level (+$1). And so on... Because of ICM I am regarding the call as risking the chance of another $1 for the chance of another $5. In a cash game I am never calling with rubbish like K6. Another really useful feature of ICM thinking is when in chip stack heaven. Imagine a STT with a payout of 50 30 20, our stack is 8000 and two villains have 2500 and 3000. In this situation I can catch myself wondering what I am going to spend my $50 on, considering the game all but done. However, according to ICM our stack is worth about $40 here  that is to say, if all players went all in every hand until the game was done we would on average get $40. Now, if we reckon we are better players than the other two then we can get this figure closer to $50 by outplaying them and avoiding coin flips. 
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ill just copy and paste part of the above article
You have been watching your opponents closely like you always do, and because of this you can estimate that if you move allin the big blind will only call with a hand in the top 30% of his hands. We are working on the assumption that a smooth call or a raise smaller than all your chips in a bad idea. Whether those things are true or not is debateable, but for the sake of simplicity we are assuming them to be true. to get this 30% number to plug in to the calculator are we using a particular hud stat or are we just estimating the times the bb will call here (and yes we have been observing our opponent) 