Principles of the Independent Chip Model

May 28, 2014

SNG tournaments call for well-planned decisions, thoroughly worked out to get the best possible outcomes in the game. Contrary to cash games, SNG tournament games present much more of a challenge.

Even when you’re winning chips in SNG tournaments, you might not be winning big. Collecting a huge stack of chips in an SNG game does not necessarily hand you the advantage, as number of chips you hold doesn’t correspond to their actual monetary value.
Every decision you make in an SNG tournament game should be thought through in terms of its monetary value, instead of winnings measured in expected chip value.

To better help players make informed decisions in terms of earning profitable winnings, the Independent Chip Model (ICM) is a god send, in many ways. The ICM might be a bit puzzling to wrap your head around, though once understood, it will make play a lot easier and far more lucrative.

Basics of the Independent Chip Model

The ICM is the best way to get around correctly judging by the value of chip stacks in any poker game. Of prime assistance in SNG games, the ICM helps players better calculate when it is worth holding on in a game, how to go about placing bets as well as how much to raise your bet and blind by.

The ICM is used in most tournaments to help figure out the dollar value to chip stacks. Any given chip stack’s monetary value can be rated by totaling the equity it holds in the pool. Value of equity is placed on the probability of the player finishing in a certain position on the board, based on the stack size.

Based on the principle of probability as to how many times a player is certain to win their projected place in the tournament. When these average projections of a player’s winnings are calculated, it determines the monetary or dollar value of a stack.

ICM basically centers on the idea that each chip stands for the possibility of being able to bring in the dollar and make a profit. Every chip won advances a player’s position, thus developing better gain.

Very simply the larger your stack, the better your chances at doubling bets and going all-in, risks that will win you the pot.

Assessing your stacks according to the Independent Chip Model

Every player would like to have a ball park idea of how much of the winnings they can expect to take home. Or if their profit could be increased by doubling up before the bubble, or if it would be safer to just ride it out and get through the bubble.

Payout structures in poker tournaments make determining probable profit even more tricky; where the number of chips in your stack might not be as correspondingly valuable. Learning how much your chips are worth throughout the game progression is where the ICM comes in use.

The ICM isn’t easy to work through. There is a complex mathematical formula that assess the probability or chances of finishing in certain average positions in the game, and lets you know the probable payout for each possible position on the board as well.

This is done by dividing the number of chips in a player’s stack by the total number of chips in play according to the possible finishing positions in the game. It is important that every dedicated poker player learn the intricacies of ICM and over time, with practice, develop a natural understanding of its functioning. This will help gain better judgment while making informed decisions based on close estimations.

Various limitations and assumptions of the Independent Chip Model

Since the ICM uses such complex mathematical computations, it is nearly impossible to manually calculate your average position during a game at the table. However following the ICM module helps beginner players get a better idea about how to work through critical game play.

Using the ICM will help make tremendous improvements in game play besides establishing proper reflexes and how to operate during certain situations and plays at the table. Based on mathematical guidelines, the ICM makes certain assumptions in order to create possible equations.

While evaluating probable player tournament scenarios, the ICM does not take into consideration the player’s current position at the table. Player skills, as in the ability to read hands, call bluffs and intimidate your opponents cannot be factored into the program.

The ICM does not consider status of blinds either, thus the approximate amount of your chip stack might probably not be as close to home as you like. Without the addition of these assumptions and limitations to the ICM and its computational process, the model is far too complex to create finish scenarios as well as add up probable stack value.

Regardless of its drawbacks and limits, the ICM continues to be a widely used and recognized model by which player and tournament situations are worked out.

Banking on the ICM will improve your game in one way or another. With several online tutorials and training modules available online, the ICM is a good workout in terms of getting your game back on to good odds.

The ICM usually plays it safe in terms of bets by recommending players to keep ranges on bets close and tight, thereby minimizing risk of being burned out early in the game. As chip value continually deteriorates during the game, initial chip value is always the highest and the most valuable.

Working with different algorithms and permutations of game scenarios, help players make better informed decisions, thus increasing player confidence apart from handing critical strategic advice, crucial to every player looking to come up ahead at the table.

Using the ICM correctly helps players deliver impacting strategic moves throughout the game while at the table.

MSPT Fire-keepers Stop at the Casino

May 26, 2014

The fifth season of the Mid States Poker Tour (MSPT) got underway on May 14, 2014 with the $1,100 Main Event at the Fire-keeper’s Casino in Battlecreek, Michigan. Every MSPT series has seen an eventual rise in the number of players and the size of the prize pool generated during the events. Read more

2014 PokerStars EPT Main Event Winner Antonio Buonanno’s Experience

May 12, 2014

It took seven eliminations and one of the longest final table heads-up battle that lasted way past the morning hours of the next day for the Italian Poker pro Antonio Buonanno to claim the hefty purse of €1.24 million. The main event held in the Monte Carlo Casino received around 6,663 entries with the contested prize pool measuring up to €37.7m.

Antonio Buananno has made history by joining the ranks of players like Tom Middleton, Oleksii Khoroshenin, Sotirios Koutoupas, Julian Trac and Vicky Coren Mitchell by winning one of the most prestigious poker tours in the world. The tenth season of the tour culminated in the main event held between April 26 and May 2, 2014 with a buy- in of €10,600.

The final table players of the event were Kenny Hicks, Sebastian Bredthauer,

Jack Salter, Magnus Karlsson, Sebastian von Toperczer, Mayu Roca, Antonio Buonanno and Malte Moennig Of the eight players who made it to the final table, Buananno was the only person who had not entered the event via online satellite.

The heads-up play between Buananno and Salter lasted until the morning hours of the next day with Buananno playing as steadily as ever prevailing solidly on Salter, 20 years his junior. Even though Buananno played short stacked during the initial period, he made up for it with good play and some brilliant strategy.

Final table results

The 2014 PokerStars EPT Grand Final €10,600 Main Event found its winner after a final table match that lasted 300 hands and 18 straight hours of play. Although the elimination of the six players lasted 74 hands that constituted 24 percent of the final play, the duel between Buonanno and Slater lasted ten hours. The fifth day of the event saw Englishman Jack Salter dictate the terms with the added advantage of having the chip lead.

Salter’s chip lead was short-lived as he went for an aggressive check-raise with an all-in on a turn of 47 10 8 on the board with a A 4 against Buonanno. A call of 8 8 for a turned set saw Buonnano double up on J river with Mayu Roca leading the chip tally.

The heads up play between Jack Salter and Antonio Buonanno lasted several hours into the early morning as chips were wagered back and forth throughout the play. A failed float attempt and a long tank that resulted in a fold left Slater with a 3-1 chip deficit.

The gradually forming chip deficit was followed by the final hand that saw Buonanno raise with A 4 as Salter shoved with the K 7.This was followed by Buonanno calling and holding onto a board that had J 9 2 Q 3 to secure him the much anticipated victory and send Salter home with €765,000 for the second spot.

The verbal engagement between Buonanno and Salter in the early stages of the day indicated a rivalry that dated back to the main event in Vienna where Salter had managed to eliminate Buonanno. After an epic battle that lasted 310 hands and some crucial double ups Buonanno ended the play at Salle des Etoiles to win € 1,240,000 and an exclusive Slyde watch to go with it.

Ups and downs during the play

The modest final playing field this year at Main event of EPT was a stark contrast to the star studded final event last year. Seven out of the final eight players had made it to the event via an online Satellite.
The first player to get eliminated at the eighth spot was Sebastian Bredthauer who went all-in with A 8 only to find Salter with a better hand of A K. Bredthauer picked up a neat €128,800 at his first professional poker tournament and was soon followed by American Kenny Hicks who lost a flip at Hand#24 to take home €188,500.

Sebastian von Toperczer was eliminated at the sixth spot with earnings that totaled to €258,300. The Swedish player Magnus Karlsson moved in all for 1.4 million during the 40,000/80,000/10,000 level with 33. Malte Moennig went on to re-raise all in for 1.6 million with 8 8 while the chip leader Mayu Roca called with a 99. This gave Moennig the opportunity to spike an eight on the flop, eliminating Karlsson in the process while doubling through Roca.

Roca finished fourth with €419,000 leaving the final three to come up with a deal. The lengthy discussions amounted to nothing as the play resumed with Moennig opening 205,000 pre-flop with A5 and then moving all-in for 3.3 million after Buonanno made it 550,000 with AK. A snap call by Buonanno and a board that read 2J 9 28 undid Moennig at the third spot as he took home €547,000.


Chris Karambinis Wins Chicago Poker Classic Event #1

May 9, 2014

With a collection of $168,039, Chris Karambinis has won this year’s Chicago Poker Classic. He has topped the playing field of 3,092 over the course of two days play, before grabbing this year’s first-place title. The Sixth Annual Chicago Poker Classic received over 3000 entries for its $5000 Double Qualifier Bonus event, coming up to a million dollar guarantee, which was announced by the casino.

For Chris Karambinis, this was a third big win since 2011, when he first started participating in live poker tournaments. In the $365 NLHE Six-Handed Event, held in Southern Indiana in 2012, Karambinis bagged the first prize of $15,795 along with a gold ring after beating 207 players at the event.

Karambinis is also credited with winning a gold victory ring multiple times in other poker tournaments. He became the fourth player to have won the gold ring more than once, adding him to the list of big name poker players like Caufman Talley, Samuel Panzica and Chris Parsons.

After defeating 106 players at the $580 Pot-Limit Omaha Triple Chance Event, he won $15,902 in prize money. He also beat his previous score of $36,485 which he earned in 2012 during the $1K event at the Binions Poker Classic. He shared a table with a few well-known players like Kyle Julius and Steve Brecher.

After this recent win at Chicago Poker Classic Event #1, his total winnings from live poker tournaments have gone up to $358,505.

Players at the table and final standings

Jacob Baumgartner and Oleg Badmayev gave tough competition to Chris Karambinis. Oleg Badmayev came in second with $103,104 in winnings. Igor Hot collected $66,895 in winnings and came in third. Finishing off 4th and 5th were Jared Palmer and Shawn Rice. Their winnings came up to, $46, 208 and $32,806 respectively.

Javier Figueroa came in 6th position with $24,114 in earnings followed by Ryne Johnson with $17,723 in 7th position. Aaron Garrison and Nick Jivkov finished off 8th and 9th with $14,512 and $11,882 in winnings.

About the tournament

Chicago Poker Classic series, held at Horsheshoe Hammond, lasted 14 days with 10 events and 26 side tournaments happening throughout. With two events, the guarantee offered is of $2.5 million and with $250, 000 as added bonus. The second main event will feature $1500 buy-in, a million dollar guarantee and a seat for $10,000.

This first event had eight starting flights and the organizers of Chicago Poker Classic offered a $5000 bonus to players who succeeded in advancing to Day 2 of the tournament. The players, who surrendered the most chips because they qualified twice in the tournament, received a $10,000 seat in the World Series of Poker Main Event with a $2000 additional cash bonus. Matthew Kirby from Minnesota, bagged this prize.

With 112 players still in the game on Day 2, Jacob Baumgartner was in the lead. However, by the end of the game, he was the last one to finish. Karambinis, on the other hand, was number two in terms of chips and finished in first place.

The prize pool for this event had accumulated to $927, 600, but the staff at Horseshoe Hammond added an extra $50,400 in prizes to reach the million-dollar guarantee along with the $22,000 double qualifier prize.

The $350 Re-Entry event was also held which included some notable players who finished at good positions. This re-entry event was held at Harrah’s Horseshoe Casino Hammond. This event had a million dollar guaranteed prize pool. Some of the players who finished the event on a strong note are Austin Buchanan finishing off at 89th position with earnings of $1,376. At 66th position was Bob Whalen with $1,745 in earnings. 

Aaron Massey came in 47th with $2,287 in winnings. Matt Kirby and Zal Irani came in 29th, and 25th position each, with $3,461 and $4,442 in earnings respectively. Ralph Massey finished off at 19th position also earning $4,442 in winnings.

The four remaining events in this series are lined up in the upcoming days along with the $250 NLH Re-Entry Event on May 10th and 11th. The series concludes with the $350 NLH Turbo Event, which is the tenth event of the series.  

Day 2 of WPT Championship Sees Miles Austin Among Final 68

May 5, 2014

Day 2 of the Borgata 2014 Spring World Poker Tour Championship began with 200 players taking to the poker tables in Borgata’s Signature Room. The second day had the same enthusiastic energy with the crowd playing it out through six 90 minute levels. The action that followed through the 90 levels reduced the playing field to 68 players.

Canadian pro Eric Afriat emerged as the chip stack leader on the second day with 1,003,000 chips to his credit. Afriat, fresh from his last week win at the 2014 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown where he raked in over $1,081,184 to claim the title. Afriat’s chip tally was nearly double that of the second place contender Athanasios Polychronopoulos whose stack stood at 592,500. With this massive deficit in the chip tally with his contenders Afriat may be eyeing a back to back WPT title this year.

Eric Afriat put up a spectacular performance early on by playing through one of the toughest fields, eliminating 2010 PCA winner Harrison Gimbel in the process and claiming a huge pot. Afriat went on to maneuver further winnings against pros like Loni Harwood by playing some big pots as he prepared to head into the third day with a massive stack. NFL wide receiver, Miles Autin made it through the second day of the play.

Players at the table

The rapid progression of the game on day 2 saw the original playing field with 328 entries being scaled down to 68. The early stages of the day saw Mukul Pahuja bagging the Season XII World Poker Tour Player of the Year award. Although Pahuja got eliminated early during the day leaving Shaun Suller hopeful as he was still in contention for the award. But Suller’s chances were remote as he would have had to win the Championship in order to beat Pahuja to win the coveted Player of the Year trophy.

Other players who made it to the end of the day as they featured in the top ten list of chip holders were Tony Gregg(567,000), Scott Seiver (539,500), Ryan D’Angelo (519,500), Jason Koon (500,500), Maurice Hawkins (433,500), Glenn Lafaye (423,500), Jonathan Tamayo (411,000) and Hans Winzeler (397,000). Poker Hall of Fame member Phil Helmuth advanced to the next day with a chip tally of 54,000 along with the surprise addition of NFL wide receiver Miles Austin who had a stack of 74,500.

David Daggett is one of the online qualifiers from who survived through the second day with a reasonable stack of 368,500. Jonathan Tamayo from is another online qualifier who found himself a spot in the overnight Top 10 list.

Austin’s NFL career

Miles Austin is the latest addition to the list of celebrity poker players looking to make it big in the professional league of poker players. Orel Hershiser is another well known sports personality to have made it reasonably good in the poker circuit after his retirement from the Major League Baseball.

Austin’s association with National Football League (NFL) goes back to 2006 when he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dallas Cowboys. His raw potential made him a classic choice for special games where he returned about 29 kickoffs for 753 yards with a recorded 5 tackles to boot. The last game of the season against Seattle Seahawks saw Miles returning 3 kickoffs for 136 yards which included a 93 yard touchdown return. This historical first touchdown return for Dallas Cowboys in 55 post season games made Miles their main kickoff returner.

The 2009 season saw Miles get the first NFL start against the Kansas City Chiefs. He replaced an injured Roy Williams to make a record-breaking 10 catches for 250 yards with 2 touchdowns that included a 60 yard game winner in overtime. He was selected for 2010 Pro Bowl in the same year that saw him finish third overall in NFL rankings.

Miles agreed to sign a six year contract extension which began in 2011 and included a guaranteed salary of $18 million. With a deal worth $3.168 million signed in June,2010, the total value of his contract was calculated at $57 million. His second consecutive Pro Bowl saw him replace an injured DeSean Jackson. The year 2011 was the high-point of Miles’ career as he made a career best 3 touchdowns and 9 catches for 143 yards to win the match against the San Francisco 49ers. The rest of 2011 was marred with hamstring injuries and poor performance as he missed the next six games.

Austin began 2012 quite productively with a key touchdown that caused an upsetting win over the defending Superbowl champions New York Giants. Rest of 2012 was marked with multiple injuries as Miles pulled through with 943 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns and 66 receptions. After a spate of discouraging performances in the year 2013, an injured Miles clocked the least number of receptions as rookie Terrance Williams looked ready to fill in his shoes. An announcement made on March11, 2014 stated June 1 as his date of release which will bring to an end Miles’ short but illustrious career as a Dallas Cowboy.