# Poker Video: MTT/SNG by vandweller (Micro/Small Stakes)

## Blackboard: Vandweller (#2) - ICM from Scratch

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### Blackboard: Vandweller (#2) - ICM from Scratch by vandweller

Many SNG players claim to "understand" ICM, but, as vandweller explains, it is one thing to know how to approximate the moves that ICM demands of us and quite another to really understand how the different mathematical factors relate to each other to generate the specific numbers that actually underlie our push/fold/call decisions. In this video, vandweller starts with a blank spreadsheet page and, right before your eyes, generates a working (though ugly) ICM calculator. This is the math that is fundamental to all SNG theory and every serious SNG student owes it to himself to see it worked out at least once.

DeucesCracked coaches hit the blackboard in these theory videos. Class is in session!

### Video Details

• Game:
• Stakes: Micro/Small Stakes
• 95 minutes long
• Posted over 4 years ago

## Comments for Blackboard: Vandweller (#2) - ICM from Scratch

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#### vandweller

466 posts
Joined 12/2008

The whole point of the video is so that you will actually take the time and do all the work out yourself and see first-hand how TEQ affects your push/fold/call decisions. So at first, I was not going to post a copy of the spreadsheet. But for those of you who get phobic about these things, I didn't want you to miss out on the benefits of having your own spreadsheet to work out risk/reward scenarios with.

So I'm posting a link here to the ugly 4-handed spreadsheet I built in the video (or something very close to it anyway), as well as a much nicer looking sheet with 10 players. Still only three payout spots in the 10-handed sheet though, as working it out even to four spots makes for several thousand different payout scenarios to code. I'll probably add these in the future so you can do satellites and DoNs with it, but for now, three spots will have to do. Also, as a special exciting treat, I added an "Alternative Models" section that tells you your equity as calculated by the Proportional and Landrum-Burns models.

For those of you who are all like, "not another long-winded %&@#ing Blackboard video", you'll be happy to know that after this one, it's going to be Mentor and Push videos for a while.

#### Twogianteggs

90 posts
Joined 08/2008

Hey vandweller; thanks for the effort put into this. I can't seem to get the .xls file. Is there any other way I can get a hold of it?

Thanks

#### Entity

8014 posts
Joined 11/2006

Hey vandweller; thanks for the effort put into this. I can't seem to get the .xls file. Is there any other way I can get a hold of it?

Thanks

90 posts
Joined 08/2008

Thanks Entity

466 posts
Joined 12/2008

ur the bestest

#### forker

988 posts
Joined 05/2008

Thank you for this brilliant lecture Vandweller.

#### realestate

8 posts
Joined 02/2009

nice! looking forward to push videos

#### paratacus

22 posts
Joined 04/2008

nice vid watched and made the spreadsheet, glad to know your SnG's skillz > Excel skillz haha but seriously good vid just beginning to donk around with sngs as a break from cash. I got SNG wiz etc, but like learnt a lot more in this vid than playin' around with that thing for a few days. waitin on ya next vid, keep up the good work, peace.

#### shark_fishin

265 posts
Joined 03/2008

Hey, im trying to learn MTTs, can i use this ICM for those? or will this only work for SNGs?

12 posts
Joined 09/2008

Very nice Vid.

I already used your spreadsheet in practice and it turned out to be very helpful because using pokerstove u can assign more accurate Hand Ranges than e.g. in SNG Wiz.
But there is one thing i got a little confused about. I wanted to calculate a shove SB vs BB. When i set up stacks for equity "now" i have to substract the SB from my Stack and add it to BBs Stack, is that right? Because in Minute 81, it seems you do calculate a SB vs BB shove, but dont substract the 100 Chips from SBs Stack.

#### vandweller

466 posts
Joined 12/2008

Thank you for this brilliant lecture Vandweller.

nice! looking forward to push videos

Thanks. I actually prefer making these blackboard-style videos, but I gots to give the people what they want. So live play it is.

nice vid watched and made the spreadsheet, glad to know your SnG's skillz > Excel skillz Wink haha but seriously good vid just beginning to donk around with sngs as a break from cash. I got SNG wiz etc, but like learnt a lot more in this vid than playin' around with that thing for a few days. waitin on ya next vid, keep up the good work, peace.

Doing this kind of stuff is certainly going to help you more than just screwing around with SNGWiz. The spreadsheet engages your mind by making you consider the inputs and the calculations, while SNGWiz spoon-feeds it to you. SNGWiz is a great tool, obviously, but over-reliance on it can stunt your growth as a SNG thinker.

Make sure and watch my first vid if you haven't already.

Hey, im trying to learn MTTs, can i use this ICM for those? or will this only work for SNGs?

This particular spreadsheet won't cover MTTs, because there are too many payouts and players for me to have the knowledge, time, and patience to add, from a programming/Excel perspective. The basic method however of calculating your tournament equity is exactly the same whether it's 3 or 3000 entrants, it's just longer.

In larger-field MTTs though, especially early, your starting equity is so low relative to the final attainable equity, that the hand-value skewing effects of the payout structure are largely irrelevant from a practical perspective, until you get fairly close to the bubble. And even then, depending on the how flat the payouts are it might not change very much besides.

We'll have some content about MTT and SNG payouts, in some form, in the relative near future. So be on the lookout.

Very nice Vid.

I already used your spreadsheet in practice and it turned out to be very helpful because using pokerstove u can assign more accurate Hand Ranges than e.g. in SNG Wiz.
But there is one thing i got a little confused about. I wanted to calculate a shove SB vs BB. When i set up stacks for equity "now" i have to substract the SB from my Stack and add it to BBs Stack, is that right? Because in Minute 81, it seems you do calculate a SB vs BB shove, but dont substract the 100 Chips from SBs Stack.

There is actually somewhat of a hot-button issue for me, and actually quite interesting. The SNG orthodoxy, I am to understand, considers primarily your equity before posting the blinds in risk/reward analysis. I wanted to give what is more or less the standard presentation, because my view, I am continually suprised to understand, is controversial.

I believe that your equity should be calculated on the basis of decision points. And your decisions come at the point of having already posted the blinds and antes, and the risk and reward scenarios similarly should account for what your equity will be on the next hand after the blinds and antes are posted.

A question then arises, do the blinds in the middle have an equity value? If they don't, then all players equities should total 100%. If they do have a value, then that means the total equities of the players would total slightly less than 100%. I tend to favor the latter viewpoint, for the simple reason that if we assume players equities will total 100%, that means the blinds have no equity value...but if they don't, why are we fighting over them and why do they add value to our equity when we win them?

These are all really more technical/philosophic issues which are outside the scope of this video, but I do intend to cover them in future content. But to answer your question, I personally use equity values *after* posting, but don't be surprised when you run into people who believe otherwise.

Thanks for your comments and questions, guys. I truly believe this video has potential to be the least-watched video in DC history. And I am ok with that. 95 minutes on a spreadsheet for SNGs...what was I thinking?

#### AMT

2019 posts
Joined 01/2008

Thanks for your comments and questions, guys. I truly believe this video has potential to be the least-watched video in DC history. And I am ok with that. 95 minutes on a spreadsheet for SNGs...what was I thinking?

No one is sure really, vandypants, but it looks pretty cool.

1 posts
Joined 01/2009

How does this apply to HU sng's?

#### vandweller

466 posts
Joined 12/2008

How does this apply to HU sng's?

All the actual ICM stuff does not apply at all to HUSNGs or any tournament with only one prize.

Since you only get a prize if you finish first, your chances of finishing in other positions aren't relevant in terms of mapping those finishes to payouts, as there aren't any payouts. So all that matters is your chance of finishing first, which means that your chips are valued linearly, where losing one chip and gaining one chip hurt and help equally.

The stuff about shoving, calling, and risk/reward though are absolutely and directly applicable to any format, as long as your method of valuing your stack and potential gains or losses is correct. In a HUSNG, you can make decisions solely from your chip odds.

#### DucksCracker

4 posts
Joined 10/2008

this is personally the most useful video I've ever seen. thank you, very much appreciated.

#### vandweller

466 posts
Joined 12/2008

this is personally the most useful video I've ever seen. thank you, very much appreciated.

This is personally the most appreciated comment I've ever read. :-)

#### Hood

1088 posts
Joined 08/2008

Wanted to add to the sycophancy because i don't think i commented on this or the previous video. Both of them, paired with the classic AMT vids, make perhaps the best 10 sng vids around. Your first one especially made me re-think everything i thought knew about ICM calculations. I'm really looking forward to more in the new season. You're def. at home doing this lecture-style vids so hopefully you've got some slots for more of the same in the next 8 weeks.

Your first vid was responsible for at least two new DC subscribers from recommendations.

#### vandweller

466 posts
Joined 12/2008

Wanted to add to the sycophancy because i don't think i commented on this or the previous video. Both of them, paired with the classic AMT vids, make perhaps the best 10 sng vids around. Your first one especially made me re-think everything i thought knew about ICM calculations. I'm really looking forward to more in the new season. You're def. at home doing this lecture-style vids so hopefully you've got some slots for more of the same in the next 8 weeks.

Your first vid was responsible for at least two new DC subscribers from recommendations.

#### isacsen

84 posts
Joined 03/2009

Excellent video! I just subscribed and watched both your blackboard videos, and I'm very impressed. I've been using Wiz for some time and I agree that its too easy to speed through the hands after having finished the game, passively watching the advice from Wiz.
Thanks for putting out a completely different perspective on SNG's!
I hope you get to do more blackboard videos!

#### Joeyg50

435 posts
Joined 05/2009

I have to agree w/ that guy that said this is the best sng video ever.
Deuces cracked does not even specialize in sngz and u guys are close to being the best sng site between u and AMT. Once u guys put some sweat sessions up then this will be the best sng site hands down. I appreciate the time u put into making the excel sheet. Keep up the good work.

#### nonamepaul

2 posts
Joined 08/2009

Excellent video, easy to follow, this type of video is exactly the reason I signed up to deucescracked. By the way i'm pretty sure i'm even more anal when it comes to creating spreadsheets - colours, type, layout, etc.

129 posts
Joined 10/2009

hi there van, really good vid, i was playing with excel doing something similar but for cEv, which is way easier than icm. having watched this vid helps a lot to understand the math behind icm. thanks for that.

just as a quick tip, on pokerstove you can type in hand ranges and percentages in the main window, so you dont have to go all the way into the hand selection window to enter the percentage or select the hands.
for example: A2o+, A2s+ for any ace, or 10% for ten percent; for percentages you type the percentage and the move the focus away from the input (with tab or clicking somewhere else), and the range will be auto filled.

old news perhaps, but thought n mention it

thanks again.

#### splashi

117 posts
Joined 04/2009

Wow im totaly impressed right now! One of the best videos i have ever seen. This makes me re-think everything i believed to know about poker.

#### DrGrip

461 posts
Joined 10/2009

Even though I have yet to watch this video I think it was a great idea to make something along these lines. Several months ago I was trying to gain an understanding of the underlying mathematics of ICM and just reading about it tended to confuse me a bit so I decided to take the difficult route and do the math myself in an excel spreadsheet that's not unlike yours. I can tell you from first hand experience that actually learning the math behind the theory helped in a huge way as opposed to just simply reading about it and gaining rudimentary knowledge of it. Now I can look at my stack, the stacks of the opposing players (along with their playing styles), and say either A) "I need to move now because my equity is terrible and I have a good situation" or B) "I have time to hold on and wait for someone to make a huge mistake equity-wise".

#### Jayecob

5 posts
Joined 12/2009

first of all, one of the best sng vids i've seen! Great job!

I am using this calculator often, but i don't know if I use it right in situations where e.g. I (BB) raise the BB and he shoves. How do i calculate my equity in such spots.

Example:
Blinds 75/150

CO: 1500
BTN:2000
SB(Hero): 3000
BB: 2500

CO + BTN fold, Hero (ATs) raises to 400, BB shoves allin

I give him a range of 88+, AJs+, AQ+. How can i calculate whether i have to call or fold?

Do i have to calculate it as if I just have to call an allin and make it the way vandweller shows it in the vid (1. Tournament EQ now, 2. Tournament EQ if win, 3. Tournament EQ if lose, 4. NEEDED WIN%)? If so, isn't it the same calculation, if we are BB (3000Chips) and SB shoves (2500Chips) with the exact range (88+, AJs+, AQ+)?

sorry for my english, i hope you understand what i mean

#### vandweller

466 posts
Joined 12/2008

In this case the "TEQ now" means the TEQ you would have if you folded. That means you take the 400 chips out of your stack and put them in your opponent's. So you would look at your equity in this situation:

CO: 1500
BTN: 2000
HERO: 2600
BB: 2900

We are trying to accomplish a comparison of the various outcomes possible in the hand, how often they happen, and what value they have when they do.

The possible outcomes are:

You call and win.
You call and lose.
You fold and are left with 2600 chips and their corresponding equity.

5 posts
Joined 12/2009

great. thx

#### bumbling_ass

19 posts
Joined 06/2009

Van, I spent like 4 hours building the spreadsheet yesterday for 10 players up to 3 places paid, and I think I'm finally starting to understand ICM, and how to use my computer!! I do have a question for the forum, though- Do I need to change settings for three-handed play?
In my post-game analysis, I have gotten some surprising results in a satellite structure that I've been playing (41/41/18 ---> two players=entry, 3rd gets a little more than the buyin back). It seems like there are three-handed situations in this structure using the spreadsheet where even though I have an M of like 5, (7.5BB) in my stack, and the other stacks are 2-3 times the size of mine, my equity is still so close to the other players that it advocates a fold unless I have like QQ+. Does this sound about right, or do I need to change some settings for three-handed play?

#### vandweller

466 posts
Joined 12/2008

When you are doing your risk/reward calcs three-handed, keep in mind that your equity doesn't go from, say, 30% to 0% if you bust out. It goes down to 20%, since that's what you already have locked up by virtue of finishing ITM. Forgetting that little bit might account for any absurdly tight results you get. Otherwise, it should work fine 3-handed.

#### bumbling_ass

19 posts
Joined 06/2009

That makes perfect sense- Thanks!

#### Kaboooomm

1 posts
Joined 01/2010

Great video i just watched it and spent about 3 hours building the xls sheet, but it was worth every minute. While building it i really started to see the logic into the calculations and got a better understanding of the icm concept.

Tnx for the vid! Do you have any new sng series comming up?

#### hansgeertsma

611 posts
Joined 05/2009

Although I've watched this episode before, I never took the time to create the spreadsheet and play around with the numbers,

having done that now I'm really shocked by the results and I realize I call off way too loose unneccesary versus most blind steals.

Also if you player around with the numbers when all stacks are equal people will be shocked what they should fold (AK, almost never good enough to call)

Thanks Vandweller for this great video and absolutely a must watch for everyone going to play SNG's

#### Right_InThe_Nut

13 posts
Joined 01/2011

Hey Van, I just joined DC and I've recently started dabbling into the world of online poker and I love playing SNG so far!

This video was so helpful with figuring out the mechanics of push and shove (its hard reading about the math, but once you actually do it for yourself it really comes together!)

I just had a quick question because I wanted to add to the spreadsheet and my knowledge. How would your shove and call equations be modified for pushing through from the big blind or the cutoff? I can kind of determine that it will of course be along the same lines, because you are risking and losing and gaining, but how do you add the extra players you will be pushing through? Would you simply have an added "Call equation" for each situation? So to break it down, would you have the following situations:

1: Everyone folds
2: SB Folds, BB calls
3: SB Calls, BB Folds
4: SB Calls, BB Calls

Would you yeild:
ShoveEV = Fold\$bb(EQ%)+Fold%sb(EQ%)+Call%bb(Win%bb*EQ%-Lose%bb*EQ%)+Call%sb(Win%sb*EQ%-Lose%sb*EQ%)

It feels like its on the write track, but I feel as though there is something missing still.(mainly to do with the call and fold % for each situation listed above)

#### Right_InThe_Nut

13 posts
Joined 01/2011

I've been doing some thinking.

Would your chances of the 4 situations:
1: Everyone folds
2: SB Folds, BB calls
3: SB Calls, BB Folds
4: SB Calls, BB Calls

be the %fold and calls% multiplied by each other, for instance...

if BB had a 25% of calling and SB had 25% chance of calling, would it be 6.25% (0.25*0.25) chance of both BB and SB calling you, and 18.75% chance of one of them calling you (0.25*0.75)

if you add them all up( they are all in 16ths) 1/16 (call, call) +3/16 (call, fold) +3/16 (fold, Call) + 9/16 (fold, fold) you get 16/16 ( all the possible situations equal 100%)

Do you think this is correct logic for this situation?

Haha and sorry if this is so much writing, I'm just so interested in all of this and the math portion! I tried playing a couple SNG's and did alright, then hit a big drop in my bankroll, so I decided to get a membership to DC and fix it and learn everything I could, and since I joined, I've slowly made my way back up!

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