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.