How to gain an edge in MTT Poker in 2022: ICM and Multiway spotlight
Many players are improving their MTT poker game using available chip EV training tools, but miss focusing on these two crucial elements of ROI
By Brandon Wilson
Multiway pots are very common in MTT poker
Especially in the early stages of tournaments, many flops will involve three or more players (and even more so in live MTTs). It is very easy to make mistakes by extrapolating concepts from heads-up play that are not as effective multiway. For example, let’s suppose Lojack, Button and Big Blind go to a flop of A-9-3 rainbow with 70 effective big blinds to play. Lojack checks, and the button bets 33% pot. As Big Blind, having a check-raise range makes sense and should occur at some frequency. However, in this case it would generally be a mistake to continue in way other than calling. This is in part due to the uncapped nature of the Lojack range that is supposed to check at a very high frequency. Furthermore, the Lojack c-bet and Button stab equilibrium strategies are different from the heads-up iteration that excludes the presence of the Big Blind. Minimum defense frequencies also change dramatically, as MDF becomes shared as opposed to one player’s responsibility in heads-up pots.
This is one of many multiway scenarios in which the strategies of each player differ from their heads-up counterparts, hundreds of which have been simulated and made available to practice by DTO 3-way. Drilling these spots will help to avoid making costly errors in multiway pots and diagnose those of your opponents.
ICM knowledge is essential for tournaments
While we covered two key mistakes players make in ICM scenarios in a previous article, it’s a concept well worth expanding on.
While it is true that, in general, covering another player in an ICM scenario is an advantage that allows the larger stack to be more aggressive, it is far from binary and dependent on many other factors such as surrounding stacks, time and/or number of hands until the bubble or final table, future game, etc.
For instance, one error many players make is proceeding as if they have a very low or nonexistent bubble factor against someone they cover, which often leads to poorly calibrated aggression and strategies that are far too chip EV-oriented (learn and practice better ICM strategies with DTO ICM). Not only must the player consider his own bubble factor in a given scenario, he should also account for his opponents’.
For example, consider the following money bubble scenario: 150 players paid, 152 remain, and there are 12 players in the field with 8 big blinds or fewer. A 10 big-blind stack goes all-in on the button, and the small blind, with 100 big blinds, has pocket fours. The big blind has 30 bb. In this scenario, while it is true that the SB does not have much of a bubble factor against the button, the button has quite a large one against both the SB and the BB. If the small blind player does not consider this and decides to call as he might for chips, he would be making a costly error due to the nature of the significantly bubble factor-influenced Button range.
Such all-in preflop decisions represent only the tip of the iceberg, as bubble factors also significantly impact everything from preflop 3-bet and calling range construction to postflop strategies and bet sizes, all of which can be studied and practiced using DTO ICM.
To start improving your MTT Poker game today, subscribe to DTO Poker for both preflop and postflop chip EV and ICM study.