Independent Chip Model

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In poker, the Independent Chip Model (ICM) is a mathematical model used to calculate a player's overall equity in a tournament. The model uses stack sizes alone to determine how often a player will finish in each position (1st, 2nd, etc.). A player's probability of finishing in each position is then multiplied by the prize amount for that position and those numbers are added together to determine the player's overall equity.[1][2]

The term ICM is often misunderstood to mean a simulator that helps a player make decisions in a tournament. Such simulators often make use of the Independent Chip Model but are not strictly speaking ICM calculators. A true ICM calculator will have the chip counts of all players, as well as the payout structure of the tournament, as input and each player's equity as output.[3]

The ICM can be applied to answer specific questions, such as:[4][5]

  • The range of hands that a player can move all in with, considering the action so far and the stack sizes of the other players still in the hand
  • The range of hands that a player can call another player's all in with, and recommends either calling or moving all in over the top, considering all the stacks still in the hand
  • When discussing a deal, how much money each player should get


  1. ^ Fast, Erik (2012-03-20). "Poker Strategy -- Introduction To Independent Chip Model With Yevgeniy Timoshenko and David Sands". Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  2. ^ "ICM Poker Introduction: What Is The Independent Chip Model?". Upswing Poker. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  3. ^ Walker, Greg. "What Is The Independent Chip Model?". Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  4. ^ Selbrede, Steve (2019-08-27). "Weighing Different Deal-Making Methods at a Final Table". PokerNews. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  5. ^ Card Player News Team (2014-12-28). "Explain Poker Like I'm Five: Independent Chip Model (ICM)". Retrieved 12 September 2019.

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