If you have been to any poker forums, you have probably seen the acronym ITM. What is ITM in poker? In poker, the term ITM (In the Money) means you've successfully outlasted enough opponents to secure a prize payout, typically by reaching a tournament's designated cash positions.

Furthermore, ITM can be expressed as a percentage, representing the frequency with which a poker player gets in the money positions after entering a tournament. This detailed article will explore ITM's profound elements in poker, implications, tactics, and influence on players' decisions.

Tables are full in the Early Tournament Stages

Calculating your ITM is vital for dedicated tournament players who want to evaluate their performance. The frequency value shows how often you finish in paid positions compared to the number of played events.

Long-running room with lively cash games and eight-figure MTTs

GT Bonuses



Bitcoin and US-friendly room that allows HUDs

GT Bonuses



Global crypto-only room with bad beat jackpots and weekly leaderboards

GT Bonuses

To determine your ITM percentage, divide the number of times you've cashed (placed in the money) by the total number of tournaments you've played, then multiply by 100. For instance, if you have played 100 tournaments and cashed in 25, your ITM percentage would be (25/100) * 100 = 25%.

Payout structure for players ITM based on the number of entrants

In this case, the player cashed 25 out of 100 events for an ITM percentage of 25. Given that the player finishes in the money around 25% of the time, this suggests a consistent performance.

Calculating your ITM % may help you improve your poker abilities and overall tournament strategy. A more incredible ITM % indicates that you understand when to play aggressively and when to play more cautiously. If you cannot calculate ITM percentages on your own for websites like PokerStars, you can use multiple online ITM calculators that will do the job for you.

So, what ITM percentage should tournament players aim for? There isn't an all-inclusive answer. The ideal ITM % varies greatly depending on a player's skill level, playing style, and tournament types. A decent ITM percentage for casual players may be in the range of 10% to 15%. It shows that they often advance far in tournaments and sometimes win cash.

Intermediate players should aim for an ITM of 15-20%. It indicates a good understanding of tournament strategy and a more consistent ability to reach the money. ITM percentages for professional or highly experienced players often go above 20%. These players regularly overcome tough fields to secure cash prizes.


Example of an MTT Payout Structure that Pays Top 5 Positions

The conventional wisdom is that you should aim for an above-average ITM percentage. Therefore, if 12% is paid, you must be ITM 14-15% of the time. The issue is that players in the money do not necessarily make a profit. Most players with a high ITM percentage min-cash most of the time, and while any cash is great, you must earn more than the min-cash to be a profitable tournament player. Even if you are in the money 30% of the time, you can still be a massive loser.

A "good" ITM percentage for you inevitably varies depending on your objectives, bankroll, and skill level. Remember that while a high ITM percentage is a positive sign, it's equally essential to keep an eye on your return on investment (ROI) to determine the overall profitability of your tournaments.

In poker, being ITM is every player's goal, meaning it signifies reaching the payout stage, where your skills truly pay off. Whether playing on GG Poker, 888 Poker, or AmericasCard Room, the thrill of going ITM remains the same. These renowned poker sites offer diverse tournaments catering to players of all levels.

Player Rating
Players online
Deposit bonus
100% up to $600
Mob. client
Auxiliary software
Huge tournament prizes
Lots of unusual games and promotions
Easy deposits and cash outs
Bonuses from the GipsyTeam
100% Deposit Bonus up to $600
Bonuses for active players
Player Rating
Players online
Deposit bonus
100% up to $1,000
Mob. client
Auxiliary software
Weak opponents
Lots of freerolls
Bonuses from the GipsyTeam
$88 no-deposit bonus
Player Rating
Players online
Deposit bonus
100% up to $2,000
Mob. client
Auxiliary software
Playing with amateurs from USA
Regular rake races
Bonuses from the GipsyTeam
Help with withdrawals and deposits
Bonuses for active players
Players are guaranteed a cash prize when they make it to ITM

Although reaching ITM is great, it is not the ultimate goal in poker tournaments. Explore the following techniques to make the most of being in the money:

  • Stack Management: You must have a big stack to achieve a top finish and win more prizes. It entails avoiding excessively risky plays and protecting your chip stack for subsequent stages. If you have a massive chip stack, try isolating players with smaller stacks who are desperate to survive and advance to move up in the pay rankings. It may be lucrative to put pressure on short stacks.
  • Consider ICM: The worth of your chips in a tournament is determined using a mathematical formula called the Independent Chip Model (ICM) based on the prize money distribution. A better understanding of ICM may help you when faced with tough decisions. There are multiple ICM calculators available online to assist players with these calculations.
  • Adapt to Changing Blinds: Be ready to modify your strategy as the blinds increase. Meaning you are supposed to steal blinds more frequently or aggressively defend your blinds. Consider employing a push-fold strategy when your stock becomes critically short. Various factors, including your position and stack size, may entail going all-in or folding with speculative hands.
Players change their strategy when they reach ITM

Importance of Reaching ITM in Poker

Understanding the significance of ITM in poker tournaments is critical for devising a successful strategy. Below are a couple of main reasons why reaching ITM is essential:

  • Profit and Bankroll Growth: You are guaranteed a cash prize if you make it to the ITM stage, meaning you will leave the tournament with more money than you initially invested. It is necessary for growing your poker bankroll and ensuring you keep participating in future tournaments. The potential rewards steadily increase as you progress further in the tournament.
  • Tournament Experience: Every poker event is a chance to learn. Getting to the ITM level gives you vital experience in navigating the latter rounds of a tournament when the action gets more intense and strategic.
EarlyTight and cautious play to survive
MiddleGradually loosen up and seek opportunities
LateMore aggressive play to accumulate chips

Strategy for Different Stages of a Tournament