When not to follow ICM?

    • BllackWolf
      BllackWolf
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.03.2010 Posts: 18
      Two situations:

      1) Say we're down to 4 players and I'm first in from SB, according to ICM I should bet with 80 - 100% of hands depending on chip stacks (in the push or fold stage). As well, the BB should only call me with around the top 25% of hands. I find that I'm pushing with cards like J4o and I'm being called too loosely with hands such as Q5s and losing as a result. It's -ev for both of us if he calls me but it happens a large amount of the time anyway. Is it correct that I just keep playing ICM and getting bubbled this way and hope I get luckier next time? Or should I play a lot tighter than ICM suggests? If so how much tighter would you say?

      2) I often find with SnG on stars that I'm down to the last 3 or 4 players and we are nowhere near the push-fold stage yet, should I just be sitting tight and playing the steal blind, steal-reraise game? If I do this the majority of the time the blinds will eat me up enough and I'll be in the push-fold stage. Or should I play looser? How would you recommend I play in this situation?

      Thanks!
  • 2 replies
    • z4tz
      z4tz
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.05.2008 Posts: 2,043
      Hi BllackWolf.

      On your first question.
      Pushing 80-100% of hands i assume you get from the ICM-trainer or alike. A major misconception here is that this is ICM. This is a nash-equilibrium of ICM which is where all opponents push and call in the best way possible and no one gains anything. Its kinda the perfect way to play, BUT only against just those ranges.
      If someone else push or call with another range we can abuse that by adjusting our range (according to ICM-calculations) and that is what you are up to here since our bad opponents call very loose here. We need to tighten up quite a bit if they start calling with such bad hands.
      A tip is to download sng-wizard where you can analyze your hands and adjust your opponents ranges to see how your range changes with that.
      Keep in mind that the ranges given in SNGwiz when you load up a situation is just a guess from the programs model and quite often not very correct so you have to change them before looking at the results.
      I know there is a video about how to use it here on PS, just search and i think you'll find it.

      Sorry for the long response here ^^ but on to question two.

      This is a quite annoying situation indeed. It depends much on your opponents and how the game is going. Is it likely that they will bust each other with 4 players left so you can go into the money for free that is just wonderful and very very good for you. If they just play and play and no one busts its a bit worse. Then you have to get a bit active yourself but don't go crazy or hyper-aggro if you are on the bubble. It's not worth busting when you have a good stack. Pick your spots, if they are horrible postflop use that and so on but dont do stupid things so close to the money, i'd rather be passive then and try to pick good spots :)
    • nibbana
      nibbana
      Bronze
      Joined: 04.12.2009 Posts: 1,186
      Originally posted by BllackWolf
      2) I often find with SnG on stars that I'm down to the last 3 or 4 players and we are nowhere near the push-fold stage yet, should I just be sitting tight and playing the steal blind, steal-reraise game? If I do this the majority of the time the blinds will eat me up enough and I'll be in the push-fold stage. Or should I play looser? How would you recommend I play in this situation?
      I disagree with z4tz that this is an annoying situation. I find this a really nice situation as your opponents are often playing too loose. As you state in your question it's the stack sizes in relation to the BB that dictates our play more than the number of opponents left. Obviously if you feel you're getting abused by a particular player then your range can loosen vs that player but I find that in these situations and also where you find yourself in the money with small blinds that playing tight until you have a better feel for your opponents can be prudent.