MTT Poker ICM in 2022

What is Poker ICM ? When you play tournaments, have you wondered how much your chip costs. Some may answer, that they count their tournament chips in Big Blinds, but this too is not enough.

• When you are in the tournament and wonder how much is your stack worth, things like blinds
• average stacks
• players remaining
• hand ranges
• prize pools
• bounties ( if any)

– all come into the equation. It is very difficult to calculate this in your head on your own. Therefore, ICM (Independent Chip Model) comes to the rescue.

This is a special algorithm that helps determine its value in relation to the prize pool. Poker ICM is applicable only to tournaments, because for the calculation it is important to understand what amounts are at stake.

In cash games, the model is not relevant: there the value of each chip is predetermined and does not change in the course of the action. This is not the case in tournaments.

How to implement Poker ICM to your game ?

The Independent chip model is sophisticated tool, from the arsenal of poker professionals. ICM is almost impossible to use in the course of the game, to figure it out in your head, no matter how well versed you are, in poker strategy.

To use ICM, you need to use special software. Most poker rooms prohibit the use of such software, as it gives unfair advantage.  ICM calculators, however, can be used to analyse the tournaments that have already taken place.  With such software, you will find out your mistakes, analyze and develop tactics for the future . Yes, you will not be able to play perfectly and do all the equations yourself, but you can come very close to perfection.

This is how ICM calculator work in theory. Now, let’s take a look, how they work in practice .

For example, there is a tournament in which 10 players participate, each one entered with 200 USD.  This makes a prize pool of 2000 USD in total. Player who comes first, takes 1000, second best 600 USD and whoever is third – 400 USD.

Not to overcomplicate things, let’s imagine there are 4 players left at the end. Each has exactly the same amount of chips. In this situation, everyone has 25% equity of the prize pool – or 500 USD.

But as the game progresses , one player can get 70% of all chips, which will make him chip leader with 1400 USD equity of the prize pool. ICM calculators, take these things into account and develops the perfect strategy for you to dominate the game. The strategy for the chip leader will be vastly different , from the ICM strategy of the other players, with lesser equity to the prize pool.

The interface of ICM programs is quite simple, you will master it, in no time. In a few seconds, ICM will show which action will be most successful at any stage of the game, and will help you compose a scenario, which to follow ahead in the tournament. This will help you memorize certain similar spots and take the right course of action, next time you are in identical spot.

But if you want to master ICM thoroughly, not just use the calculator,  you can sign up for the training program of ICMizer. Even if you want to  improve a simple aspect of the MTT game, when to push all in as short stack and when to fold – you will develop much better understanding with Poker ICM software.

Some basic Poker ICM rules

Our example showed an interesting trend. Leader chips are much less valuable than the rest of the players. Professionals are well aware of this, so they rarely show serious activity closer to the final. The winner will not be the most aggressive player, but the one who makes the right decisions and does not make mistakes.

In contrary to many strategies, which average player implement – you do not need to be super aggressive, when in the lead. You risk portion of your stack, to increase your lead, but remember, your chips are not of the same value, as the shorter stacks.

In the final tables, often knowing when to fold, is making the biggest difference between winning and losing. If you know about this and your opponent is also aware of how Poker ICM works, you can exploit your opponents at the table. For example, you can force them to fold  some hands, which otherwise, they will not.

To summarize, the MTT Poker ICM shows a simple pattern: the more, the less. By winning chips, you reduce their value. This is called the Bubble Factor. Therefore, in poker tournaments, strategy is much more important than the number of chips in front of you. If you are already using ICM Poker Calculations, we bet you will crush those poker rooms.