Positives: Dara O’Kerney and Lexi Gavin Mather
Craig Tapscott: What do most players get wrong with the standalone chip model (ICM)?
Dara O’Kerney: ICM It is a concept that a lot of players basically misunderstand for many reasons; The single biggest mistake is ignoring it completely and playing it too loose. For most players, playing more tightly in the later stages of a tournament will likely improve their bottom line.
However, one area where you often see an inverse problem with this is end tables. Playing an end table as if it were a cash game is a big mistake and playing it as if it were a satellite game is also a bad idea.
ICM The pressure is usually at its highest as the final table bubble approaches. A common misunderstanding people have is that jumps in wages are a good measure of how high they have risen ICM At what time. This is exactly the opposite.
As I explain below, on a final table ICM It is at its greatest at the start (when the next jumps in wages are the smallest), and actually decreases with each stop (and increasing the size of the next jump in wages). The biggest wage jump in any regular tournament is from second to first, however this is the only point in the tournament when there is no ICM!
A very common misconception is that short stacks are the most extreme ICM. This is true in the money bubble, but in the final table the sum of the short stack, combined with the chipleader, is actually less than the lowest amount of ICM Pressure.
Lexi Gavin Mather: The biggest myths about ICM is that the preflop ranges are similar to the early and middle stages of the tournament and you don’t have to adjust them. This is completely wrong. for you RFI The ranges (lift first in) will shrink significantly if they are large ICM Effects (specifically the final tables).
when it comes to you RFI Bands, it’s very important to have blockers. Intermediate pairs and suitable connectors have no removal effect. So, you are not blocking your opponent’s ascent or push ranges.
The main goal of ICM It is to increase your capital and to exert maximum pressure on your opponents. For example, suppose we are at a final table with 20 big blinds. Six players left. for us RFI ranges from UTG It’s going to be pretty narrow, about 16 percent of the hands, and we’re going to fold the 2-2 pairs into the 9-9.
I know this sounds crazy! (Shout out to Matt Affleck, fellow coach at PokerCoaching.com for doing the math on this stuff RFI ranges.) The hands we want to unlock are pretty heavy mind you. Both aces are suitable, (A-2 offsuit +) and a lot of our ax combinations (A-5 offsuit +). Hands like the KQ offsuit + open well because they block a lot of our opponent’s ongoing range. The fact that these hands don’t play well after the flop doesn’t matter much if it reduces the chances of our competitors ante betting us.
Another legend about ICM Is this skill a factor. this is not true. ICM It assumes that every player is of equal ability.
What do most players get wrong ICM is that they limp ICM Situations. In general, you should play to a lesser extent when you are in a bubble or at an end table. When you lift, you should choose a larger size. Limping allows you to play in a wider range, which is not optimal for it ICM. In addition, limping allows your opponents to see a lot of failures, but remember, ICM It is all about creating times the equity. So, stay away from the limp ICM Situations.
Craig Tapscott: If you’re short-stack at a final table, how do you balance the “ladder” of pay jumps and chip accumulation to try to win the entire tournament?
Dara O’Kerney: Rollover is the term we use when a player is essentially sitting around until another player goes bankrupt to ensure the next jump in salary. It is 100 percent correct to pass marginally profitable points if two other players look like they are going to war and there is another jump in wages. It is also wrong to ignore a final table to try to make another wage jump.
I could write an entire book on it ICM errors (and in fact, I did) but to really simplify my point, see the chart below. The bubble factor is a measure of how losing affects more than winning in MTTs. If you have a bubble factor of 2, this means that for every $2 of equity, you only risk gaining $1 of your capital. I won’t get into the math now, but with bubble factor 2, you need 66 percent equity to justify risking your life on the course.
The bubble factor changes during a cycle for an average stack, however, the average of the stack are those with the highest bubble factor (ICM Pressure). In the final table for example, the operational leader has a lower bubble factor because no one can break them, but the shorter group also has a low bubble factor because they have the least amount to lose.
Bubble factors are not mutually exclusive. When a short stack is playing against another short stack, or against a high buildup, both players have a low bubble factor. When a short set or a comfortably covering chipladder plays against a mid set, they have a low bubble factor, but the middle set has a high bubble factor. The key as a short stack is to put pressure on those middle stacks that you can damage the most and will lose the most in an encounter with you.
Lexi Gavin Mather: If you’re in a short stack, it really depends on the other stacks on the table. If there are still other small groups left on the field, you can miss certain edges in the hope that they will collapse. But if I were among the remaining short groups, I wouldn’t try to tighten up or try to climb. I’ll be looking for a place that doubles fast so I can build up a stack and be a contender for winning the tournament.
Remember, there is justice in folding. You make money by having your opponents bust each other, so it’s okay to stay tight and try to level up.
Now, I’m not saying never bluff or venture into a final table bubble or pay jump, because you’re going to want to accumulate chips. Eventually, if you dig deep enough, you’ll be in a situation where literally all the jumps in wages start to matter. for this reason ICM It becomes less important at the final table as more players walk out.
For example, if you get to the top three players and the first place is $100,000, the second place is $80,000, and the third place is $60,000, then their salaries are great, but there are only three players left. So going over some ledges to the ladder wouldn’t be a smart thing to do here. Play to win!
Craig Tapscott: Most people know ICM Important in tournament bubble, but does it matter in the early stages and after the bubble burst?
Dara O’Kerney: The bubble factor (see chart) starts low (but contrary to what most people think it’s not 1.0 at first) and then rises sharply in the money bubble to 1.6 before dropping dramatically once players are in the money. Then it rises sharply before the final table to 1.7 and then drops again, not as sharply, until the face-off.
When directed, it becomes Bubble Factor 1, or ChipEV, because ICM no longer applies. These are the average bubble factors, and will be much higher or lower depending on your stack and the stack of the person you are playing against in any given hand.
Not surprisingly, the average bubble factor is high in the bubble, hence the name. However, many were surprised by the final table. It is highest level just before the final table and decreases with each push. Many players assume that it will be the highest at the final table where the prizes are bigger and increase with each subsequent loss, but in reality the last two tables are where ICM heavier.
Why does the bubble factor decrease with every exit at the final table? Because you all have realized a lot of property rights. The next salary jump in the $50 cycle when you get nine hands out might be $1,000, then $2,000, then $3,200, which seems like a lot because the money amounts to something to you relative to your original subscription. But at this point, your capital might be $10,000, so it’s not relative much. Also, once you reach the $2,000 salary jump, $2,000 has been made by everyone who stayed on the course, and there is still less competition for the prize pool.
Lexi Gavin Mather: I would say, you don’t have to worry ICM In the early and middle stages of the tournament. This is because you are still far from having to make decisions based on financial leaps. ICM It actually exists from the beginning of the tournament, but becomes more important as the tournament progresses.
As you approach the late stages of the cycle, money bubbles, final schedules, and big jumps in wages, you need to make some important adjustments to some of your strategies. Where it may be true to raise a certain hand or make a knock call in the early stages of the tournament, it may be wrong to raise the same hand or make the same call if you are in a final table bubble or big pay jump.
I think a lot of guys make the mistake of stressing too soon, mistaking it for reality ICM The effects begin. They make ICM It folds hours before the actual bubble starts, and either collapses or falls short so you don’t make money.
Do not worry ICM Immediately after the bubble burst. Yes, there are wage jumps but they’re usually small (unless you’re playing the $100,000 high ball or something). There is a lot of volatility right after the money bubble bursts. The short stack is desperately trying to double, the middle stacks are trying to punish bubble busters, this is the time to collect chips and not stress because ICM. ♠
Dara O’Kearney is an Irish former international runner turned poker professional. While Dara has plenty of seconds on his resume, he actually has far more wins, as evidenced by his eight PocketFives.com Triple Crowns. Dara is also a Coach, Poker, ShareMyPair Ambassador, and Author of Endgame Poker Strategy: the ICM book. Co-host GPI Poker Award winning podcast “The Chip Race”. Dara became Unibet Ambassador in March 2017 and Cardschat Ambassador in August 2021. You can keep up to date with all the latest developments at www.daraokearney.com.
Lexy Gavin-Mather is a professional poker player, coach, and content creator. She splits her time between Las Vegas and Northern California, and for the past few years has been among the top women in poker. She is a trainer at Jonathan Little’s PokerCoaching.com and owns her own coaching site, Pokerclarity.com. Lexy’s passions include charity, dancing, and creating content for her YouTube channel (LexyGavinPoker). Visit lexygavin.com for training. Follow us on Twitter and IGlexygavinpoker.
* Some photos provided by WPT.