SAGE / Nash / ICM Trainer controversy

    • Th334
      Th334
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.11.2012 Posts: 971
      Hi all,

      I decided to check how close are the results from SAGE and Nash equilibrium charts, and ICM trainer suggestion.

      Here they are:

      Cards: 6 :spade: 4 :spade:
      Blinds: 300/600
      Effective stack: 4360
      Position: SB


      ICM Trainer correct action: push 64.4%, that includes 64s (marginally)
      SAGE: R=7, PI=18, PI needed=26, result=easy fold
      Nash: push with less than 16.3 bb, that is indeed the case, easy push

      I know the values cannot be the same, but I didn't think they can be so controversial. Particularly, Nash chart and SAGE chart give very different suggestions. ICM trainer was somewhere in the middle with a marginal push.

      Actually, SAGE would fold 64s even with 2 bb effective stack! Sounds a bit unreasonable for me. Also, SAGE does not account for connectors. I.e., 54s would even have a lower PI=16 and would be a fold even with 1 bb stack (what the hell?).

      Could anyone explain this to me please?

      EDIT: It's also still a mystery for me why ICM trainer is here at all. It generates HU situations, you can select HU-only mode there, but chips value is proportional to $ value in HU (there're no bubble situations where $EV is much less than cEV).
  • 10 replies
    • kurrkabin
      kurrkabin
      Bronze
      Joined: 12.10.2010 Posts: 5,976
      Hi, Th334!


      HU is always cEV, not $EV, no matter what the pay out structure is. There is no ICM tax. I personally have always used nash as a starting point and adjust afterwards with SnG Wiz to master the situations. Usually it goes like this- for 8bb or less, I push nash vs people who I think call nash(good competent regs). I will push looser against people who I expect to call tighter than nash(tight unknowns, many fishes, many micro stakes bad regs, by usually going for any 2 or close)with 8bb+, I will try to adjust according to my opponents. I will sometimes min raise/fold vs someone who I expect to never flat and will 3bet shove his value range only. I will min/raise call to induce an aggro opponent or trap a loose passive opponent who is not aware of effective stack sizes and might scare himself out on a push. Antes would also make the difference. Vs someone who will flat and play tricky post or re-steal a lot, I would even push k7s for 15bb, or 33 for 20bb f.e. Do whatever you think is best vs this opponent. Sometimes I would also limp/shove these hands if I expect to get abused on my limps a lot.

      My advice would be like this: use ICM trainer as a starting point. And it is a good starting point. So are the push/fold charts. Sooner or later though, you would have to buy tools like HEM1 or HEM2 together with SnG Wiz. Games are getting tougher nowadays, so you need to use every advantage possible to gain edge over your opponents.

      As for Sage-64s, I would always push. Regardless. Not only for 2bb, but for 5bb or even 10bb.
    • Th334
      Th334
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.11.2012 Posts: 971
      Really awesome advice, thanks! Though, I will borrow only the idea of adjusting -- copying your ranges might not be that good, since I doubt that you play at the same level ($1 buy-ins) :f_biggrin:

      Are you saying that HU we still use cEV (estimated by ICM), not actual $EV as if we played cash? Why I'm asking is because I've seen another PS staff member claiming the opposite. I guess I might have misunderstood him or it was a typo then...Just making sure that you didn't make a typo :)

      I will push looser against people who I expect to call tighter

      It's so hard :) Why? This approach is good for stealing blinds, imo. The tighter the opponent, the more we can steal. If he 3-bets -- we just fold. But here we risk the whole tournament: the moment he calls, it will be usually over, since our range will rarely win his.
    • maxwi
      maxwi
      Black
      Joined: 23.08.2007 Posts: 451
      But here we risk the whole tournament: the moment he calls, it will be usually over, since our range will rarely win his.


      In poker there are very few good starting hands.
      Your opponent will usually be holding junk hands and more often than not he will loose a substantial part of his stack waiting for a good hand while you are pushing and gaining chips with nearly every hand.

      Math can prove this. So keep pushing even if your 64s is being called 3 times in a row with Ax or a pair. It is a winning strategy.
      Calculated aggression wins in short stacked heads up battles.
    • ghaleon
      ghaleon
      Black
      Joined: 17.10.2007 Posts: 5,877
      Originally posted by Th334
      Are you saying that HU we still use cEV (estimated by ICM), not actual $EV as if we played cash? Why I'm asking is because I've seen another PS staff member claiming the opposite. I guess I might have misunderstood him or it was a typo then...Just making sure that you didn't make a typo :)
      I think you have misunderstood some concepts. Sorry if my earlier explanation was not clear.

      cEV is expected value in chips. Meaning it has nothing to do with ICM. So every chip that we lose or win has same value. So it could be thought as cash game. Except in tournament HU we will have no reload option obviously :)

      $EV on other hand would be expected value that accounts ICM tax. Like situation where we have three or more left in tournament we would want to define if play is +$EV, because then ICM would say that chips lost are more valuable than chips won. Meaning that play in e.g. 9max bubble can be greatly +EV in chips, but when accounting ICM tax it would become clearly unprofitable in actual dollars or in $EV.

      One example could clear it even more or maybe mess things further (heh):

      In 9man sng there is 50/30/20 price distribution. So what does that mean? It means that 4th player gets nothing and when we have three players left everyone has guaranteed 20% of pricepool for themselves. At that point 40% of pricepool is still undistributed. So we can now think to be in tournament where winner takes 75% and second 25% of remaining pool..When one drops out other two are guaranteed 10% more of total pricepool. Now we are in HU tournament where winner takes all of remaining price pool and second gets nothing!

      So from this example you can see that when we are 3 or more handed we have risk aversion or ICM tax. But in HU winner takes all and by folding we have nothing to gain. So in this situation we want to make plays that are profitable from chip view.
    • Th334
      Th334
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.11.2012 Posts: 971
      Oh, I see. I got it perfectly right but the other way round! :f_biggrin: (so absolutely wrong)

      Well, after you wrote a poem like that, I feel that now all my questions about SnG are answered :)

      One more thing though. I my HM2 (I finally got it!) I set HUD to display me stats:

      #players, min, max
      2: 2, 2
      3: 3, 5
      4: 3, 5
      5: 5, 10
      6: 5, 10
      7: 5,10
      8: 5, 10
      9: 5, 10
      10: 5, 10

      So f.e. if there are 3 people at the table, my HUD will only show their stats for when they played hands with 3-5 people at the table. Why 3-5, because only 3 or 3-4 would be so narrow that I would hardly ever have enough stats to make decissions.

      And the question is about the 3-5 player range. I assume here that people play similarly when there are 3, 4, and 5 people at the table. Well, a t least differently from when there're 8 people or they are HU. Is it reasonable?

      As far as I understand, on the bubble we play the tightest; when we already got the 3rd place, we play a bit looser; and when we are HU, we have nothing to loose :) right?

      Thanks so much.
    • kurrkabin
      kurrkabin
      Bronze
      Joined: 12.10.2010 Posts: 5,976
      Let's just put it this way- on the bubble-it depends hugely on how we entered the bubble(as a big stack, mid stack, small stack), who the opponents are, game flow, our recent moves. Usually it goes like this:

      As a big stack, you need to put a huge pressure on the others, especially the mid stacks who will be very unlikely to try mess with you.

      As a midstack, you will put pressure on the other midstack and small stack, but try to stay away from clashing with the big stack.

      If you are a small stack, you will be looser calling/pushing vs the mid stacks and tighter vs the big stack. It's a theory that can go on and on for hours and I can't really explain it in one, two or 3 posts. But you get the idea. Ask further questions, post hands, put in some playing hours and you will get the feeling, the knowledge and the improvement will come.

      As for filtering the stats, I will make it 2/2(HU), then 3-3, then 4-6, then 7-9(10). I agree you wouldn't have big enough of a sample for most people, so, I guess you can go 3-4 as well. 3-5....I am not a big fan of, although could still be working.
    • Th334
      Th334
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.11.2012 Posts: 971
      Awesome! I had some similar observations, but it's much better when someone explains it in more detail.

      As for big stack on bubble or 3-handed. I still tend to fold on action, if I have someone behind me (e.g. from SB). The least I want is to play with more than two players in the pot. Plus it's nice when the player behind you responds to the aggression and in the end someone is out.

      Of course with some particular reads it might change, we never play the same against everyone. But as a rule of thumb, is it okay?
    • kurrkabin
      kurrkabin
      Bronze
      Joined: 12.10.2010 Posts: 5,976
      Depends, if BB is the small stack and BTN is stealing wide and is a midstack, you can re-raise(re-steal) a very wide range and none of them can do much. BB will never come in between for all his chips with a marginal holding, because once he enters, BTN will fear much less coming along for the 3-way pot. That's because in a 3-way action BB(the shortie) will need to win against you all in order not to bubble. BTN, on the other hand, need to lose vs you and BB to win the 3-way pot in order for him(BTN) to bubble out. In other words, if you push and BB calls, BTN will much less risk averse. But when BB folds, he will be super risk averse against you and can't do nothing, but fold everything rather than the nuts. I hope it doesn't sound very complicated. That being said if both players are competent. If not- don't expect them to be familiar with risk aversion, ICM tax, therefore, play a different strategy.

      Once again, I don't wanna give too many general ideas as it's really very player/table dependent. But you will get what I mean very soon when you get some more experience.

      Cheers!
    • Th334
      Th334
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.11.2012 Posts: 971
      That's interesting. I thing it would already be a decent strategy article if someone put it all together :) Thanks guys.

      Kurrkabin, am I right thinking that by "putting pressure" on our opponents who have a smaller stack, you mean re-stealing their min-raise? F.e. in this case, if BU shoves, we cannot put pressure on him, since there's no fold equity any more :)

      Or our calling range gets wider if we are a big stack too? As I understand it, it more depends on the player pushing. I always put myself in his position, look at his tack, consider how much he's risk averse, and if I think that he can push from SB with any king having 5 bb's, I might call him with any ace.

      Still, to be honest, I'm not great with calling pushes, especially on the bubble. If I don't think that the villain should shove most of his hands, I prefer just fold without a hand like KQo or ATo. I guess it is particularly good at the lowest buy-ins, since players rarely push 87s, unless they have a couple of bb's left and have no choice.

      Am I even close to understanding how a big stack should call when 3-4 handed? Because ICM trainer is only confusing me in this situations. F.e. it the very similar scenario: bubble, I'm SB and a big stack, the rest are middle stacks, BU pushes, I fold TT ?(
    • vuciitis
      vuciitis
      Bronze
      Joined: 19.02.2011 Posts: 1,314
      i think u should never fold TT vs one oponent if u are a big stack and i also would call SB-small stack pushes on the bubble-BB with any ace as bigstack ;)