ICM - Why am I supposed to push with this?

    • Salivanth
      Salivanth
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      I've been using ICM trainer, and learnt a hell of a lot in the last couple of days, but I've now learnt something that confuses the hell out of me. In the small blind, as the biggest stack, being first into the pot, it appears that up until the big blind has about 25 Big Blinds, I should be pushing literally any two, any time. Like, I would do 50 simulations with the bottom 10% of my range, and still be pushing every single time.

      Why is this the case? I don't want to just do something because a program tells me to: I don't believe that's the best vehicle for long-term growth. So if someone who understands the principles behind ICM could explain that to me, that would be great. I can understand pushing most hands, but why any 2?

      Thanks in advance!
  • 4 replies
    • YinYangS
      YinYangS
      Bronze
      Joined: 09.10.2010 Posts: 1,077
      i believe ICM is there to help us understand the game. i also practiced with it. as you play, you'll understand your own playing style more and get a grasp of which moves are profitable.

      so i suggest, just get a feel of ICM but develop your own game. as a poker player, we should continually learn and adopt to situations.

      GG fishes! :s_cool:
    • Salivanth
      Salivanth
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      Thanks. I guess I was hoping there'd be some magic reason why the ICM works here like "The BB will fold like, 95% of the time because of this reason, and therefore it is profitable to shove with any two". I guess it's not that simple. I like to understand the systems I use (which is why I HATED doing Trigonometry with calculators) but I guess that will come with time.

      Thank you very much.
    • evertonroar
      evertonroar
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.06.2009 Posts: 737
      Originally posted by Salivanth
      Thanks. I guess I was hoping there'd be some magic reason why the ICM works here like "The BB will fold like, 95% of the time because of this reason, and therefore it is profitable to shove with any two". I guess it's not that simple. I like to understand the systems I use (which is why I HATED doing Trigonometry with calculators) but I guess that will come with time.

      Thank you very much.
      in icm YOU need to say how often the villian will fold. if the range you have (or the software has if you havent inputted your own range) is so tight that he will only call with aa/kk and you have less than 10bb then most of the time it is right to push atc. play around with the ranges to see what effect this has. knowing the maths of ICM is the easy part. its putting your opponent on pushing and calling ranges that is difficult
    • pzhon
      pzhon
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.06.2010 Posts: 1,151
      ICM Trainer tells you the Nash equilibrium, or a close approximation of it. This is a set of strategies for each player so that each has no incentive to change even though he knows exactly what his opponents are doing. If the Nash equilibrium strategy is to open-push ATC from the small blind, that means this gains ICM equity even if the big blind knows you are pushing ATC and adjusts appropriately, calling with only the hands which are calls against a random hand. In many SNG situations near the bubble, or earlier if you risk your whole stack to play a large pot (say over 5000 chips). Your opponent might need 60% equity against your range to call, and not many hands have 60% equity against a random hand. You can use my program ICM Explorer to see how much equity the big blind needs to call, and then use the PokerStrategy Equilator or PokerStove to find out which hands have enough equity against a random hand.

      Pushing with a hand like 32o can be a powerful semibluff. Much of the time you take the blinds, and when you get called by a good hand like AJo, you might draw out anyway. To determine whether it is profitable, you have to consider how often you will get called, how much equity you will have once you are called, and how risk-averse you are. Even if you are quite risk-averse, pushing trash hands can be a good gamble if your opponents are more risk-averse and will not call very often.

      That said, in many situations it is not correct to push ATC from the small blind, even as the biggest stack. The Nash equilibrium pushing strategy is not always ATC, although by my Golden Rule (see my first video) the Nash pushing range is at least as wide as it would be heads-up, which means you can push a wide range. If you feel that your opponents will call too widely, then this may make the weaker semibluffing hands in your range unprofitable.