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blind battles with chipleader on final tables

    • gavinonymous
      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      If you're on the final table and you're fourth or fifth, but there are a couple of stacks shorter than you, what is the value of letting them bust out before you vs getting into +$EV situations with the big stacks?

      I often tighten up if there are short stacks, because I figure effectively you are that much closer to the win as they are likely to bust before you.

      I can think of many many times where I confronted the chipleaders only to bust out, while a nit with 2BB ends up third...

      e.g. say we are BB - five handed - chipleader in SB shoves. I have second biggest stack and A7o. If there are two short stacks on the table, should I call? (assume 45man MTT structure)


      If I win I'm massive chipleader and can dominate the table. If I lose I'm out. Calling is basically the best thing the short stacks can hope for me to do there. A collision is ++$EV to them. Often I survive the bubble with one or two BB as collisions occur in the bigger stacks.


      I lose some $EV if SB is shoving ATC. The short stacks are likely to bust and I move up the money with a good shot at winning HU.

      How tight am I calling here? ATo? JQs?
  • 1 reply
    • Asaban
      Joined: 22.09.2006 Posts: 9,183
      The concept behind your considerations is ICM. You may find further information about the Independent Chip Modell in this article:

      Unfortunately the article is for silver+ users, so I would recommend playing on one of our partner sites in order to gain strategy points:

      The ICM concept basically influences your decision making on final tables by assigning a $EV to your hands in addition to the standard ChipEV. Not every hand that accumulates chips is profitable if you look at the $ winnings of it. Therefore you have to play tighter in various situations. Especially if there are shortstacks.

      Your example can't be answered without further information. For an ICM calculation you will need stacksizes from ALL remaining players (including their positions) and the payouts for all places left to be played for.

      I guess that your hand is an easy fold in most situations at a final table because of ICM. At the same time it is impossible to give you a possible calling range without the information required. It might be as tight as AA only. At the same time even A8 might be possible under rare circumstances.

      If you'd like to practise these decisions based on ICM calculations I would recommend checking out our ICM Trainer (available for free). You may find it here:

      If you have any further questions feel free to ask!