ICMIZER is a killer tool for helping you suss out the best play for a particular situation by dealing out pre-flop poker analysis for Sit 'n' Go, Spin 'n' Go, MTTs and cash game players.
This program helps you decide where to go and what to do when you're facing an all-in, or when you want to go all-in yourself – a situation common in short stack games, in the late stages of tournaments or in 3 or 4 bet pots. It can be used to navigate pushes, limps, raises, re-raises or open shoves before the action gets to you.
Seeing that ICMIZER is a sophisticated piece of poker software, it should come as no surprise that it requires an informed approach to use effectively – and this is what I’m going to help you acquire today.
See ICMIZER in Action!
Steps to Using ICMIZER Effectively
There are several variables to account for when analyzing a hand with ICMIZER. To keep things as simple as possible, I’m going to start with the big functionalities, and then narrow my focus.
Let’s get to it.
The Main Window
First, select the number of players, which you can select from the dropdown menu. Next enter the blind level, which you can also select or create via dropdown menu. You'll see you can select or deselect SB (small blind), which is handy if there’s a dead small blind in the hand.
You'll find this option at the top left hand corner of your screen. Once you select it, the pop-up will appear and you can choose whether you want to show results in EV% or EV$.
You'll also see you can select from Chip EV or Chip Big Blind (BB) EV, which is super useful if you're playing a cash game, heads-up in a tournament or a heads up sit 'n' go. A note to the MTT player: Chip EV or BB EV should be used anytime you are far away from the money
Next over, there's the FGS check box, which is for future game simulation. Future game simulation factors in future hands and if you will be hitting the big blind sooner rather than later. This has a big impact on shoving ranges, because if you're stack is about to get smashed by the blinds, you'll probably want to shove a little wider than you otherwise would (think 6max vs. 9max).
Below all this you can select from different poker networks and different types of games within the network. If the game you want to analyze isn't listed, you can create a new one, selecting things like the poker network, format and the game structure. You can also choose to display in terms of money or percentage and add a prize pool.
Other variables you'll want to configure include stack sizes, the number of players at the table and the ranges at play. Always try to use the exact stack sizes for all the players at the table in the spaces provided for each player in the ‘Stack’ column – not just the short stack. They're all important for ICMIZER calculations.
Beside the ‘Stack’ column, you can enter the action of each player and the amounts. So, for example, if a player raises $400, you can enter that exact amount. There are also selections for folding, calling, sitting out and going all-in.
Tournament Configuration for MTTs
All this is fine and dandy if you're playing a single table, but that's not always going to be the case. ICMIZER also has functions for MTTs.
To get the goods on your MTT analysis, you'll need to check the MTT tick box, which will unleash the configuration matrix. Use this functionality to set the number of remaining players, the total chips in play and average stack size.
You'll also notice you can choose random or manual. In manual mode, you can change the stack sizes with the sliders and you can enter the exact stacks, if you have that intel handy. Scroll up or down using the bar at the side to enter info on all your tables.
At the bottom right-hand side of the MTT matrix, you'll see how many short, medium and big stacks remain, which is amazing info to have at your disposal.
Of course, ICMIZER also lets you account for ranges. You'll want to do this to get a full, profitable picture of what – or who - you're up against.
Click on the range percentage for each player for each particular move, whether it be a push (P) or open push (O) or big blind calling (BB Call) and so on. Once you've entered the info, press ‘Calculate’ and presto! - instant insight into the minds of your opponents.
Word to the wise: make sure to go into both ICM EV and Chip EV to get the best analysis. This is important because ICMIZER wants to account for what goes on even after we fold. This shows opponent tendencies. I strongly recommend setting up some sample situations and mucking around with this program's tools for awhile to get comfy with its scope. You don't want to be so busy messing around with ranges that you miss out on the action, right?
Calculate Nash Equilibrium
Actually, no matter what you do, sometimes trying to account for everything and everyone and every move they make can and will be almost impossible if you want to actually... you know...play poker. That's why the ‘Calculate Nash equilibrium’ button is Godsend of a function. It speeds things up by calculating for what ICMIZER calls a 'toy game' where every player in the game has the opportunity to fold or go all-in. That's it.
Now, while this is good for most tournament and short-stack situations, it's not going to be useful when it comes to deep-stacks. Still, the equation is pretty damn close when it comes to calculating how the game is played otherwise, so use it to save yourself some time and energy.
If you want to get in-depth visuals on ranges, click the ‘Chart’ button. In the ‘Results’ tab, you can cursor over the dots and see the results for that percentage of calling range at the bottom of the ‘Chart’ screen. Easy as pie – pie that tastes like sweet, sweet victory.
You can also use the ‘Range Chart’ tab to get a better idea of an opponent’s range trends, and the ‘Results’ tab to get another look at the outcome, which you already saw when you first entered the ranges.
Paste and Load
On the top left-hand corner of the screen, there are buttons to allow you to paste and load hand histories that you've saved to Notepad. To do this, copy the hand history using the ‘Copy’ button at the bottom-right and save it in Notepad.
The copy function is extremely useful for revisiting and studying past play and behaviours in certain hands and/or tournaments. In the event you have more than one hand history loaded, use the arrow buttons to navigate back and forth between them, or right to the first or last, depending on what you want to see.
Another great tool for analyzing past plays is the Replay button, which lets you see the hand play out again. You can find this next to the Copy button.
When to Use ICM and Who Should Use It
You should also note that ICM should only be used when close to the money or in the money.
Also note, if your opponents don't understand what ICM is all about, then using the ICM ranges is a disaster. In these cases you should use CHIPEV.
When two players make an ICM mistake (like calling off with the wrong hands for an all-in), it's not only the caller that loses equity, but the shover as well, and the benefactors of the equity or EV are everyone else on the table. So make sure you know your opponent, and know which baseline to stick closest to.
For what it's worth I often think that ICM suggests shoving too tightly, so it's good to get a gauge of what proper shoves look like if payouts aren't a factor so that you can make your own decision. You don't want to just end up becoming a poker robot; you want to trust your instinct and intuition, two intelligent impulses that are actually considering even more factors than ICMIZER does (e.g. game flow, setup of players, skill of players, ability to chip-up in small pots, etc. etc. etc.)
Programs like ICMIZER give you baselines (ICM + Chip EV) from which to work, and you'll often want to choose somewhere in the middle. Sometimes you might want to just throw the math out the window, but usually adjusting your opponents calling ranges to extremes will yield the same value and prove that your crazy strategy actually isn't all that crazy, because opponents are rarely calling 'perfectly' - which is what the Nash Equilibrium calculates.
Just remember: you want ICMIZER to be a powerfully dangerous weapon you can wield against your opponents – not yourself.
This why, as I already mentioned, you’ll want to try ICMIZER out before you put it to use – and when you do put it to use, make sure you’re comfortable with the stake level and game type so you can use those new ranges and extreme ranges in play. You should never use the program while playing.
Like most poker software, your ability to use it – and use it well – depends on your skill and understanding standing of the game as much as the program’s own capabilities, so if you have never used poker software before, take your time with it. Respect it and your current abilities - and then use it to crush your competition.