The good news is you are Federico Butteroni and you are at the Final Table, you have locked up a million dollars and have had months of dreaming of the bracelet.

The bad news is you sit down with the shortest stack of 15.5BB and you are in the small blind. This small blind and ante just took about 5% of your stack.

The good news is by some miracle it folds around to you.  You are in a perfectly well mathematically defined spot here. What hands are you willing to shove with?

Paging Doctor Nash!

You want them to know today is a new day and you won’t be pushed around. You are going to shove or fold. Even with 15.5BB to start the hand what can you profitably shove with? Let’s ask ICMizer2.

You can push pretty wide. Shoving in with A3s is supposed to net you $50,000 for instance. We might want to hold off on shoving 53s because while it is a plus EV move, it will net you $851. We are not that thin in our value shoves and this is just a rounding error amount of money considering the big prize.

Let’s say your “Ship-It phone” does not ring for less than $50,000. Fair enough.


This is a lot tighter and a push range that many people would find a lot less gut wrenching.

In the same way now you are in the Big Blind as Neil Blumenfield.  Federico Butteroni just shipped it into you. You have done the math. You know 100% that Butteroni has one of the $50,000 hands: 44+ A3s+KJs+, KQo or A7o+. Your “Call hotline” only rings for $50,000 also. What can you call with?


Would you call with 88? It is worth $57,000 if you do (on average!) in this exact situation.

But when does it ever happen that it folds to the blinds? More realistically, it folds to Joseph McKeehen with his monster stack. He opens to 2.25BB He is in the Cut-off and you figure he is trying to set a tone at his table.


He is opening with this 18% range. You are Patric Chan with 16 BB you only ship it for $50,000 in EV or more. What do you ship here with?


Funny thing is, you should be folding those pocket Nines and pocket Tens sneaks in just under your $50,000 threshold.

This becomes tough because the big stack should be calling your re-steal this wide. He is not nearly as sensitive to the fluctuations as the short stack is.


Very few of us will ever find ourselves in this big of a tournament where ICM mistakes of $50,000 are rounding errors. We will find ourselves in little tournaments where ICM still applies. I know if I were a November Niner, I would be putting myself to sleep with ICM drills every night.

Pick up ICMizer here.