Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Combating ICM SNG Play - Some Faulty Logic - Part #2

Ok, in the last post we looked at how to combat opponents using ICM at the bubble of a SNG buy examining the only variable we have any control over - our calling range.

The conclusion was that calling 'light' cost us money - real money, not some hypothetical poker dollars! What we wanted to look at next was whether this outlay in real cash would benefit us at this same bubble against the same ICM-using opponents.

Of course, the effect will be to tighten your opponents pushing ranges for a few hands. Now, how could we benefit from this?

The question is this - if our opponents 'put us on a range' and push / fold accordingly, then we have to assume that any shove into us already accounts for the looser range seen last time. If this is the case then we have to tighten against even our previous 'neutral' range, which means folding a lot of hands, in other words our 'light push' forces us to call tighter next time round (since we have to account for our opponents adapting to a range which is not our usual one).

We may get a walk we would not otherwise have received... but rarely. If an opponent mentally adjusts your calling range from 10% to 15% the shoving hands become slightly narrower... but only slightly - what we are talking about is a fraction of the 5%... this should demostrate:

Previously you called with a top 15% hand, adjusting the perceived folding percentage from 90% to 85%... now your opponent expects to be called 85% of the time (he is wrong as it happens*). Out of those extra 5% of calls he wins 30% to 40% of the time on average - taking the marginal difference caused by your light push to just a couple of %,

* since to benefit from your looser image you need to go back to your previous range - otherwise you allow opponents to push correctly again.

So, for me at least the answer is clear - learn what your opponents are up to with ICM and adjust your own play accordingly whether or not you choose to use it. Poker is all about adapting to your opponents... next time you hear 'ICM is bullsh*t' from someone just think about this - what they said is 'I am refusing to understand how my opponents are thinking'.

Gl at those tables, Mark

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