Winning SNG Tip
Negative EV Plays
When to Ignore ICM

Winning SNG Tip - Negative EV Plays - When to Ignore ICM: There will be times when it's correct to make a Negative EV play (according to ICM) in a Sit-N-Go. EV stands for expected value by the way.

Winning SNG Tip #1: One situation where it's proper to make a negative EV play is when you want to try to maintain a stack that will have good fold equity on future pushes. Example: you have about 4 BBs and the blinds will be hitting you soon. In this spot, you should be pushing wider than ICM would dictate.

So you are actually not ignoring ICM completely. You should just be willing to shove with anything that's not TOO negative.

You are accepting something bad to try to avoid a likely something worse. The something worse is (for example) having to call an all-in from the big blind a couple hands later with 96-offsuit, because now the blinds have gone up and you're getting odds to call.

Winning SNG Tip #2: Another proper use of the "Negative EV" play is when you are on the bubble (4 handed in a SNG) and in a distant 4th place. The stacks are 1300, 600, 600 and 200 in a Super Turbo and the blinds are 30/60. The big stack is shoving every chance he gets, knowing the middle stacks can't call without a monster and you can't hurt him with your tiny stack.

You're going to need to pick a spot and gamble. It might as well be now while you have 200 instead of when you're down to 110 a few hands from now. You're on the button with J9s and the big stack shoves from UTG (your immediate right). SNG Wizard is going to have a conniption fit if you make this call, but it should be made. It's not a great situation, but it's likely to be the best chance you have to get back into contention.

If you call and win, you'll be up to 490 and you'll have a stack with some fold-equity with which to possibly terrorize the other middle stacks. Also it will encourage the other players to become more aggressive toward each other since they won't be waiting around for you to go broke any more. This is good for you and worth the risk. But if instead of J9s, you were dealt J3s, you should just fold and take your chances.

It takes some experience and study away from the table to get good at deciding when it's correct to make Negative EV plays, but in order to maximize your edge, you need to know when to do it.

END: Winning SNG Tips article

related article: ICM - What You Need to Know

related article: The Advantages of Specialization

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