Once players reach the final table of a tournament, Full Tilt Poker’s Automatic Tournament Deals allow those players the option of making a deal for all or part of the remaining prize pool. By choosing either automatic or custom deal structures, players decide how the prize pool is awarded.

Types of Deals

Players choose from three formats for establishing final payouts when making a deal:

  • Independent Chip Modelling (ICM) – The Independent Chip Model (ICM) calculates the probability of each stack finishing in each prize position to determine the true equity for each player and compute the fair payouts
  • Chip Ratio - Chip Ratio awards payouts in direct proportion to stack size. Please note that the top payout cannot exceed the first place. The following payouts are limited in the same fashion. For example, the top two payouts cannot exceed the sum of the top two prizes and so forth for the remaining payouts.
  • Custom Deal – The player in control of the deal enters payout amounts into the Custom fields and adjusts until all players agree

Please see below for further details.

Making a Deal

Players may choose to make a deal when they reach the final table, whether they’ve reached the money or not. Once all players select Make a Deal, the Make a Deal screen will appear and they’ll be able to discuss terms in the dedicated Tournament Deal chat box.

Making a Deal

The player in control of the deal is responsible for selecting deal terms and completing required fields based on input from the other players. Control of the deal is assigned to players as follows:

  • Flop-based games: the player who would be on the button in the next hand
  • Stud-based games: the player in the fixed button seat
  • Mixed Games: the player who would be on the button in the next flop-based game hand

Making a Deal

Any player may decline the deal at any point in the process by selecting Cancel Deal. Additionally, the chip leader can choose Pass Control of Deal and select another player to enter details into the Make a Deal screen.

Play will be paused for up to 20 minutes while a deal is being discussed – only players involved in the deal will be able to participate in the Tournament Deal chat box. If a deal takes longer than 20 minutes to complete, the deal will be cancelled and normal play will resume.

Making a Deal - Pass Control

Once a deal has been proposed, players can accept or reject the terms. All players involved must select Accept for the deal to be confirmed. Please note that once a deal has been accepted by all players, the conditions are final.

Making a Deal - Confirm Deal

Take advantage of Full Tilt Poker’s Automated Tournament Deals and strike a deal the next time you make a final table.

ICM: More Details

Determining the true value – or “equity” – of each chip stack in a tournament can be a complicated process. One of the best ways to do this accurately is by using the Independent Chip Model (ICM). With this method, the probability of each chip stack finishing in each possible prize position is computed. Those probable finishes are then combined to obtain an accurate approximation of each stack's fair value.

In more detail, the values for all players and all positions are computed recursively. The chance of a player finishing first is assumed to be directly proportional to their fraction of the chips. This algorithm works as follows:

  • If Sarah has 20% of the chips, her chance of winning the tournament is set at 20%
  • Now Sarah's chips are removed from the total, and the values for each of the remaining stacks finishing in 2nd place are computed
  • Similarly, the process is repeated from 3rd place to last place

Eventually, every possible outcome of the tournament is covered, yielding the full matrix of probabilities for every player finishing in every position.

It is an expensive calculation, but Full Tilt Poker programmers have developed the fastest known algorithm to compute these values, thereby making the fairest possible settlement values readily available to our players for tournament deals.

Chip Ratio: More Details

In the Chip Ratio method, the payouts are essentially proportional to the size of the chip stacks, with a few exceptions.

Compared to the fairer ICM method, Chip Ratio tends to give too much to the larger stacks at the expense of the smaller stacks. The two methods are equivalent for a winner-take-all tournament, but not for tournaments with multiple prizes. In fact, using the straight Chip Ratio method without any restrictions can result in highly imbalanced payouts.

To make this a fair and viable option for all players involved, Full Tilt Poker developed a specific algorithm that refined the Chip Ratio method in a way that ensures more balanced payouts. Because of this, no player's payout is allowed to exceed the maximum or minimum possible prize, in full generality.


The following examples will make this clearer.

Example 1:

The highest payout cannot exceed the first place prize, since a player can never do better than finishing first.

Example 2:

All players are guaranteed of getting at least the amount of the next place prize, since they can never do worse than being the next player eliminated. Note that the next prize could be zero, if the players are not yet "in the money".

Example 3:

The top two payouts together cannot exceed the top two prizes together. More generally, the top n payouts cannot exceed the top n prizes.

For example, consider the following chip stacks in single table tournament with prizes of $50, $30, and $20:

Player 1: 5000 chips

Player 2: 4000 chips

Player 3: 500 chips

Player 4: 500 chips

With the pure Chip Ratio method, the deal amounts for each player would be $50, $40, $5, and $5. This would be unfair because the two large stacks would receive more than they could actually win by playing to the end of the tournament. The two small stacks would receive only $5 each, even though one of them must finish in third place, earning $20. A fair settlement would have to award each small stack a minimum of $10. (Under ICM, the fair amounts are $38.62, $36.02, $12.68, and $12.68).

With the restrictions in place, the top two payouts can never exceed $80 (the sum of 1st and 2nd place), regardless of stack sizes. Conversely, the bottom two payouts can never be below $20 (the sum of 3rd and 4th place).