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StrategySit & Go

Independent Chip Model (ICM)

1. Introduction

In this article
  • What is the ICM
  • How do you use the ICM
  • ICM programs and limitations

Imagine that you're on the bubble in the BB at a standard PartyPoker Sit and Go tournament. Blinds are 300/600.

CO 10000
BU 2000
SB 2000
BB 6000 (Hero)

The chipleader is banking on extreme aggression and is dominating the table with reckless all-in pushes. The CO pushes all-in, BU and SB fold. You estimate the handrange of the CO around 90% and have AK yourself.

Is now a dream situation for taking over the chip lead or should we fold our AKs with a heavy heart because of the risk of not getting ITM? What would you do? If it's a simple call for you, which other hands would you call and against which handrange would you fold AKs? If you tend toward the fold, how good must your hand be to call and how loose must the CO be so that you would call with AKs?

The ability to answer such questions correctly is the single most valuable skill for successful SnG play. You can be good in the early phases - but if you make the wrong decision in the endgame, you'll seldom win. And the honing of this skill which is the aim of this article.


That's not the entire article...

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Comments (16)

#1 styc0, 15 Apr 08 18:14


#2 mouse89, 06 Oct 08 15:01


#3 Vargan, 05 Feb 09 19:20

This article is full of Harry Potter references. Hermine vs Harry, Philosopher stone, wave of a hand. Very niceky written, though ICM still is not 100% clear to me. ;>

#4 SuperHandz, 17 Feb 09 18:30

erm, yeah. Gonna need to read through that a few more times but the penny will drop!

#5 tigerace999, 02 Jun 09 09:36

if you have read all the previous articles and used ICM trainer this should be very clear. it is to me ;

#6 oFISHnCHIPSo, 24 Oct 09 22:46

How to use ICM is the easy part. How to get it right by correctly assessing your opponents' various ranges is the hard part, and a slight error there can make using ICM completely -$EV in itself. :)

#7 Hahaownedlolz, 30 Nov 09 08:13

i don't see how the ICM could affect your play in a bad way. You don't have to follow it 100%. you don't have to push with a 4-8 suited when it tells you to.

For me it just made it so much easier to push with for example a K high or 6-7 suited. i understand the true value of a hand way better now.

#8 HarveyFP, 09 Dec 09 14:14

It hurts my head thinking about it - will need to come back and work out how to apply on the fly.

#9 pokerplayer05, 28 Jan 10 18:32

i try to understand how to calculate the $EV but i can't.can anyone give an example on a table with players and so on??
thank you

#10 Koshburger, 10 Feb 10 02:25


#11 Asaf92, 05 Apr 10 08:34

I didn't understand this article one little bit.
How do you calculate how much your chips are worth in real money?

#12 SPADES1, 03 Feb 11 18:06

About: Mathematically, there is a closed-form solution for obtaining the probabilities of placement using conditional probabilities. But I think this metaphor is sufficient for our explanation.

I'm sorry to contraddict the author but you don't need to explain in detail conditional probabilities. It's much easier with an example and the only mathematical concept you need is very intuitive i.e. events occurring together (by the way it's a mere multiplication).

I suggest to readers, in order to have a clearer idea, to have a look to the book of Dan Harrigton: 'Harrington on Holdem Volume 3'.

#13 werall1, 23 Feb 11 10:09

no clue...gonna go read all the other articles,tiger...just came here cos this just opened up for me....fairly new to the site...love all the great info that ive checked out so far...goodluck every1

#14 delanonunes, 18 Aug 11 23:38

$EV = 0.15*$50 + 0.17*$30 + 0.20*$20 = $16.6

This was the Klaus example...where did the $50 come from? and the $30 and the $20......if i could work out where these numbers came from i might stand a chance...til then i'm off to bang my head into a brick wall.....aaaaarrrrrrggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

#15 David, 19 Aug 11 08:40

@14: This is the assumed payout structure: 1st gets $50, 2nd $30 and 3rd $20.

#16 delanonunes, 30 Aug 11 21:37

thank you sooo much David, penny has finally dropped...durrrr it was staring me in the face the whole time, thank you thank you thank you.......alot clearer now : D