Push Ranges difference in ICM

• Bronze
Joined: 11.07.2010
I was playing around with the ICM trainer and put these as stack sizes of 4 players:

BB 5000, SB 3000, BU 1100, CO 900. When the game is 6 handed their push ranges are: CO: 32.1%, BU: 32.1%, SB 37.25% and BB 100%.

When the game is 9 handed push ranges change dramatically despite the same stack sizes: CO: 17%, BU: 19.4%, SB: 24.5% and BB 100%.

Blinds are kept at 100/200.

Where does this difference come from? Why push so much tighter in 9 handed when there are 4 players left?

Does the ICM justify pushing wider for 6 handed because the money is farther away? If this is so shouldn't the CO go wider in 9-handed since he's very short-stacked? (I assume that 6-handed payout structure is always 66% 1st place and 33% for 2nd while 9-handed is the standard 50-30-20).

Anyone who's in maths care to give an explanation for this difference?
• 4 replies
• Bronze
Joined: 17.05.2009
In a 9max game this is the bubble. You have put the bigstack on the BB, and on a bubble noone wants to shove into the BS, everyone is waiting for someone else to shove into him. If one shortie (or the midstack) collides with the BS there is significant chances that the other 2 get ITM right away, that means a lot.

In reality CO might want to be a bit wider as he is about to loose FE, and SB wants to be tighter for the same reason.
• Bronze
Joined: 17.06.2010
In your example, you have players pushing in front of the big stack who is not very risk averse. In that situations, adding risk aversion to the pusher means the pusher should be tighter. So, players should be tighter on the bubble in a 50-30-20 SNG than before the bubble of a 65-35 SNG.

With other stack sizes, you may find that it is right to push a wider range when the risk aversion of all players increases. The cost of getting called may be outweighed by the lower chance that anyone can call even when they put you on a wide range.

It's a common misconception that when you have a short stack, you should panic and push widely in front of several players. Usually it isn't good to do this.
• Bronze
Joined: 11.07.2010
So is it correct to say that the biggest issue here is fold equity?
• Bronze
Joined: 17.06.2010
No, fold equity isn't the point at all. Your opponents call less in the 50-30-20 tournament, and yet it is still right not to push as widely even though you have more fold equity.

The big stack in the big blind is not risk averse. If you push a wide range he gets to call you a lot. If you get your whole stack in on a coin flip, how do you feel? That is a disaster if it is the bubble. It's not so bad if it is not the bubble and you will probably have to double up at some point to make the money. When you are risk averse and you are pushing into a bigger stack who is not risk-averse, you have to push a tighter range than you could if you were not risk-averse.