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Old 09-05-2017, 08:36 PM   #1
zues126
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Can ICM be suboptimal depending on player population tendencies?

I've played online MTTs for around 10 years. Until about 2-3 years ago I didn't know anything about ICM. I played very A/B/C, probably blinded down too far, and rarely made any kind of a move.

Then I started learning more about ICM, preflop shove ranges, etc. "How to build a stack without cards" and that kind of thing. The consensus was that you have to risk loss, put your chips in play, and make some moves when it makes sense to build a final table stack. Sure you might bust out here and there, but you're playing to win, right?

My experience is screaming that this isn't working for me. Sure, small sample size because I don't have 10K MTTs or anything. And tournaments have gotten tougher since 3 years ago, so maybe I was just running good back then and playing softer players. But the way I used to play I'd cash in a lot of tournaments, then in a few of them I'd run sick and build a big stack just through coolers and flips. By trying to build a big stack taking chances, I've ended up in big races far too often to make it even to the money.

It got to the point that I almost thought the whole "play aggressive" was a conspiracy told to noobs so the top players could watch us all punt our stacks. I just couldn't reconcile the discrepancies between what works for me (nit tight, ABC, blind down to 7-8 bigs and try to get it in ahead) vs what the pros are all saying.

Then I thought about the player pool I play in. I'd say they make calling mistakes far more often than folding mistakes. They limp/call off their stack with 3-3 for 12 bbs. They call with two all ins in front of them with A-2 suited. Things like this. And so on.

So my question is this- hypothetically, suppose you knew that you had 0% fold equity on a pre-flop shove, and that 100% of the time at least one villain would call you. Would that change what ICMizer would tell you to shove with?

It seems like it would have to. I mean, without fold equity, would we really want to jam Q9s from the button with 12bbs? Or would we rather wait two more orbits to see if we could pick up AQ?

I'm curious about that. Because it seems to me that my survival value is worth a whole lot. And because the player pool makes calling mistakes, when I do get a hand I almost always get action. AA is almost a guaranteed double up. AK is almost as good. If I was getting a ton of folds then I can see shoving Q9s, but as is I feel I have to blind down a bit and then when I get a hand the payoff is much greater than it would be if I was playing better players. So yeah, if I was playing at a tough table with observant opponents I'd be a fool for blinding down to 7 bbs and then shoving KK only to be shorter than I was a minute ago. But at the micros, I'm talking $5-10 MTTs, this isn't happening.

For now I'm returning to ABC unless I have specific reads and have seen opponents fold. Of course I'll mix in a few steals, a few resteals, pound the limpers here and there. But for the most part my game will consist of patience, value hands, and having a better post flop game and tighter stack off ranges.

Thoughts?
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:12 PM   #2
Frogman3
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Re: Can ICM be suboptimal depending on player population tendencies?

On a FT then yes 100% because if a player calls your shove too wide then a lot of benefit goes to the other players at the table since they may get a "free" payjump if the shortest stack loses and busts . So when a player is going to call you too light it hurts both him AND you so you need to tighten up significantly

For example imagine you are in a satellite with 4 places pay and 5 players left

you 100k
Player A 100k
Player B 5k
Player C 20k
Player D 10k

folded to you in sb and player A is bb

blinds 1k/2k

You can shove 100% of hands here and player A should fold everything including AA

If player A is dumb and wants to call your shove with KK+ ? Well now you should shove 0% of hands . You have to fold everything because HE might make a stupid call with KK or AA

That's an extreme example of course but even in normal tournaments with normal payout structures your shove ranges will change dramatically depending on opponents calling ranges

If you're talking about midstages of a tourney where icm is not such a big factor then sure adjust to an opponents ranges but don't be too paranoid remember that if you are shoving the button then you are facing two random hands and theres a lot of possible poor hand combos . So Q9s for 12bb on btn I would def go ahead and shove regardless of opponent type because enough of the time they have complete junk hands or hands like A3o which you do fine against . You're giving up too much edge if you make folds like this and with a 12bb stack you don't have a lot of edge/time to pass up on spots

Last edited by Frogman3; 09-05-2017 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 09-06-2017, 04:11 AM   #3
ArtyMcFly
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Re: Can ICM be suboptimal depending on player population tendencies?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zues126 View Post
So my question is this- hypothetically, suppose you knew that you had 0% fold equity on a pre-flop shove, and that 100% of the time at least one villain would call you. Would that change what ICMizer would tell you to shove with?
The short answer is yes. A huge amount of your EV comes from fold equity, so if you lack it, your shoving range needs more hand equity, which typically means it should be tighter, and built slightly differently.
FWIW, people that call my "optimal" ICM shoves with sub-optimal ranges are the bane of my existence in satties. It's a constant annoyance when the fish call with hands that should be snap folds, but are actually ahead! /rant
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Old 09-09-2017, 12:03 PM   #4
robert_utk
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Re: Can ICM be suboptimal depending on player population tendencies?

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Originally Posted by ArtyMcFly View Post
The short answer is yes. A huge amount of your EV comes from fold equity, so if you lack it, your shoving range needs more hand equity, which typically means it should be tighter, and built slightly differently.

FWIW, people that call my "optimal" ICM shoves with sub-optimal ranges are the bane of my existence in satties. It's a constant annoyance when the fish call with hands that should be snap folds, but are actually ahead! /rant


Arty, can you expand on this a little? I think the point ITT is that overcalling is a common weakness in small stakes fields of weaker players. Have you made any adjustments, or just stay with GTO shoves?

Thanks.
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Old 09-09-2017, 06:38 PM   #5
ArtyMcFly
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Re: Can ICM be suboptimal depending on player population tendencies?

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Originally Posted by robert_utk View Post
Arty, can you expand on this a little? I think the point ITT is that overcalling is a common weakness in small stakes fields of weaker players. Have you made any adjustments, or just stay with GTO shoves?
Sometimes when there is a whale in the BB that I know is bad enough to call with a hand like A4o (when he needs something like AT+), I'll fold some of the lower ranked hands in my 'GTO' shoving range (hands that would be +EV against regs), because I don't have enough fold equity for the jam to be profitable against that particular player. Unfortunately, I'm not particularly good at making these adaptations on-the-fly, so I often find myself losing stacks if I make an "obvi-jam" without considering the opponent.
A similar thing happens in cashgames when I 4-bet light on auto-pilot against a nit/fish that has no 3-bet/folding range. My 4-bet bluff might be "GTO", but it loses against a player that has no bluffs in his 3-bet range.
As the old saying goes, "Don't try bluffing the fish". GTO play includes a lot of bluffing.
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Old 09-13-2017, 04:56 PM   #6
Ari88
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Re: Can ICM be suboptimal depending on player population tendencies?

You can modify opponents calling ranges on ICMizer, so just edit a couple players ranges as wide as you think they could call with and see how it affects your pushing range.
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