How To Improve Your Sit N Go Bubble Play With An ICM Calculator

Understanding ICM Can Help You Make Your SNG Play Profitable.
Refining Your Play With An ICM Calculator Will See Your Profits Rocket!

Planet Mark's Update! In my opinion, SNG WIZ is no longer the go-to ICM Calculator, and I have switched my recommendation to one way more up to date and powerful - ICMIZER 2. Sure, Wiz still does the basics, though for flexibility, you really can't beat ICMIZER. You can try this new tool out, with up to 3 calculations per day free. See for more!

A Good understanding of ICM Bubble Strategy is the basis of Profitable Sit N Go Strategy in 2018 Making all-in or fold decisions based on prize pool equity and not chip counts will give you a significant profitable edge over opponents who do not adjust for this. SNG Wiz is a calculator created for bubble math decisions based on prize pool equity, it has two key functions:

  • First to help you learn how to crush the bubble by playing with different situations and seeing how the math is affected.
  • Second to identify leaks in your game, by analyzing hand histories and highlighting those spots which you could improve on. After a just a few sessions of leak finding, you will find your game is better than the vast majority of your opponents.

If you are not yet familiar with poker’s Independent Chip Model then I recommend you read my beginners introduction to this subject – this shows how thinking about SNG decisions in terms of prize pool equity will revolutionize your game (and hopefully your poker bankroll too!)

Planet Mark's Thought: I have lost count of the times I hear people say that they 'do not need', or 'prefer not to use' an ICM Calculator when learning to beat SNG tournaments. Back in 2011 people could get away with a rough idea of Push / Fold math - in 2017 by ignoring this you will simply be donating cash to those who know the percentages - a few dollars at a time!

Investing in ICMIZERis the best investment you can make as a SNG player - My recommendation is not to let any misplaced pride get in the way of improving your profits - check out for details.

If you play a number of Sit N Go tournaments online you will encounter similar situations again and again. The blinds are high as a proportion of your stack (and your opponents stacks) leaving little or no room for post-flop play. Your options are to push all-in or to fold... but which one is mathematically optimal?

ROI Sit N Go  Blueprint

Best ICM Calculator - High Blind Situations Are Mathematically 'Solvable'

At the bubble stage of a SNG tournament the ‘correct’ ranges of hands to push, fold or call withl are solvable with math. That is, there is an optimal play for each situation. This is based on ICM principals and your assessment of what your opponents will push and call with. As you gain experience you can find out those optimal push-fold plays by (expensive) trial and error – or you can invest a few buy-ins in a software tool to do this for you right now – and start crushing the games today!

Best ICM Calculator - Training Between Games

ICM Calculators are not used while ‘in-play’ instead you upload your hand history after the SNG and find out which plays were ‘+$ev’ (profitable over time) and which were ‘-$ev’ (cost you money in the long run). The examples below are from an older tool, these days I recommend ICMIZER, which is way better - you can make up to 3 of these calculations per day for free.

Once you have uploaded your hand history you will see a display like this. This shows which hands you played ‘correctly’ and which ones the math indicates might have been played differently. Take the questionable hands and look at the detailed view.

SNG WIZ - Questionable poker hands ICM CALC - Detailed View

This shows you the math, allows you to assign probable calling ranges to your opponents and then shows you whether your push (or fold) would have shown a profit or a loss.

The great thing about poker ICM calculators is that you will quickly learn the optimal ranges for pushing and folding which can be applied in real-life situations. Any future hand or situation you are unclear on can be separately uploaded and analyzed. Before you know it your Sit N Go bubble play will be significantly better than that of your opponents – leading to massively improved profits for each game you play. I now have a more in-depth article on this subject here (though I recommend you use the tool for a while before reading the advanced one, or it will not make too much sense!).

Unlike some other SNG Poker Tools the functions of SNG wiz do not stop there. Situations where one or more opponents have limped into the pot can be analyzed, graphs can be used to display those push / fold ranges in detail. The easy to use graphics and interface allow you to check a variety of opponent calling ranges to see how often your all-in will get called. This works for a ton of Sit N Go variations too, including Double or Nothing, Fifty50 and Multi-Table SNGs.

Check out ICMIZER now  – your results will improve so much you’ll wonder how you managed without it - see for more. 

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