$1,000,000 Mistake?

The Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) concluded a couple of weeks ago and one hand that got Twitter talking was this shove by Jeff Gross at the final table of Event 01-H, a $1,050 buy-in phase event.

A9o Shove

As you can see there are 8 players left at this final table with Gross (kidwhowon) the shortest stack. He talked about how this was the correct shove since an app (SnapShove) told him so. Now this sounds reasonable until you consider than SnapShove only works out +chip EV shoves and doesn't take ICM into account.

Patrick Leonard (@plenopads), a Party Poker ambassador, and Brian Rast (@tsarrast), a close friend of Gross, seemed to disagree on whether this was a shove. Even SnapShove creator Max Silver (@max_silver) weighed in on the debate saying that the shove was fine.

So who are we supposed to believe? Well, the best thing to do in this situation is to work it out yourself. I'm going to save you the trouble by running the simulation in Holdem Resources Calculator. The key thing to remember here is that Chip EV is very different from ICM and the ranges that the software suggests will be vastly different. The reason is that your equity in the tournament overall needs to increase every time you shove to make it profitable.

As you can see, A9o is a very positive Chip EV shove in this spot, but now let's look at the effects of ICM on the situation:

So here you have it: the range of hands that Gross should have shoved according to ICM.

But wait!!!

0.02% of the prizepool doesn't sounds like a lot, right? How much is that worth?

Given the prizepool was a whopping $5,821,000, 0.02% = $1,164.20, about the cost of the buy-in of the tournament. At this point you'd have to work out if increasing your equity on average by a buy-in was worth it given that first prize was just over $1,000,000!

I'm yet to see any advice on interpreting the lower numbers in these results, although Leonard did suggest 0.07% was a good threshold. That works out at $4,074.70. 4 buy-ins seems a lot better in this spot, but no back-up was provided as to why 0.07% was the right threshold.

I guess it all comes down to how much you want to increase your equity in real terms.

The key thing to remember here is that shoves at the final table will be vastly different from shoves earlier in the tournament. It looks like Gross made the 'correct' shove here, but that didn't stop him making a mistake earlier in the final table when he shoved 77 UTG. I'll leave that discussion for another day. It just goes to show that the top pros are getting it wrong sometimes, so there's hope for us all.

Good luck at the tables!

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