How to calculate ICM poker

If you want to catch up as a professional in the modern poker world, one of the things you have to learn is ICM poker. By learning how to calculate the ICM correctly, you can be confident that you will begin to create a good foundation. Consequently, evolving in this highly competitive market will be easier for you.

What is the ICM?

The acronyms refer to the English term Independent Chip Model . Its main objective is to know the value of each of the chips within a certain moment of the poker game.

It must be taken into account that the value of a chip is not the same at the beginning of the game, in the middle or at the end of it . For this reason, more and more professionals are betting on learning how to calculate the ICM.

What does the ICM really measure?

There is a big difference between cash games and poker tournaments. While cash players always know the value of the chips, tournament players do not know for sure. This is where the ICM is at stake, which allows us to know more or less what the value of each chip is at each moment of the game.

How can I calculate the ICM?

As we saw in this article about ICM poker , learning how it works and calculating ICM is not an easy matter. It takes a lot of time and, above all, interest in learning to be able to perform all the necessary calculations little by little. Although the interest that the subject arouses for poker players of all levels is such that we no longer have to beat our heads doing calculations, but we can use an ICM calculator to help us do the calculations automatically.

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On the other hand, the stack is really very important . Each jump of prizes causes that the value of a chip is one or the other. Depending on the number of points we have at each moment, we will have more options to jump to the next prize or not. To get used to the idea, the more evolved we take the game, the more value we will lose when losing chips. That is, if we lose 10 blinds in half, we can conclude that the moves have been a disaster. On the other hand, if we have 300 and we win the five that we have lost, we can say that it is an irrelevant movement.

The objective of the ICM is to measure each stack of those remaining from the tournament and thus calculate the probabilities we have of winning the tournament or being in the different positions . Calculating the first position is the easiest, but calculating the following positions is more complicated, hence many people choose to use the calculator.

ICM example

To fully understand how it works, we are going to give a clear example. Let’s suppose that there are currently 4 players left in the tournament and that the tournament is 10 euros. This makes the results look like this when jumping to the next level so that there are 3 players left:

  • 50 euros
  • 30 euros
  • 20 euros

Taking into account that, if the chipleader has half of the chips that are 5000, the shortstack 1000 and the other two 2000 each, we can conclude that, when calculating the ICM, it will be as follows:

  • 5000 chips: 37.18 euros
  • 2000 chips: 22.33 euros
  • 1000 chips: 14.17 euros
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Evaluating the values ​​achieved, which can be easily obtained through the ICM calculator, we realize that the stack of more chips has a much higher value than that of the second prize. It is the value that the chips have at all times, but that value will be modified.

Normally, the player who has more chips is more likely to win more in the medium and long term than those with fewer chips.

Tricks we learn with the ICM

In reality, the ICM cannot be calculated on the fly unless we are very agile and have an ICM calculator. To understand it, the best we can do is study it and use it in questionable situations so that we can draw our own conclusions. With these conclusions it will be much easier for us to obtain our own general rules of thumb.

Actually, with the previous example and knowledge of some basic concepts, it will be easier to understand the dynamics and thus be able to act appropriately in a poker tournament. As in everything, you have to practice and the tournaments that are televised are of great help when it comes to getting practice.

  • It is important to know that the ICM always advises better in closed call ranges in tournaments than in cash.
  • We must learn that the first token we have is the most valuable , for that reason we have to take maximum care of it. Remember, doubling in points does not mean doubling the money value of the stack. That value is always less than double.
  • If we play correctly following the ICM rules, it has more impact on the bubble than on the rest of the jumps within the interesting prizes.
  • Unless we have a lot of advantage against our rivals, we must avoid all-ins to the extent. Especially when there are players with much less chips at the table.
  • A medium stack would always have to prevent flips inside the bubble.
  • Normally, when we are inside the bubble it is easy for bigstacks to try to attack the middle stacks to try to eliminate them from the game.
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