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A Monte Carlo method to simulate the plasma characteristics of an electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) microwave discharge system is presented. We use the method to predict the ion behavior in the downstream region of an ECR argon plasma. The pressure and space dependences of the plasma potential, the effects of gas pressure on the ion velocity and angle distribution and the evolution of distributions are examined and discussed in detail. Our results of the simulation show that the ion parallel velocity distribution appears to be bimodal and is strongly dependent on the gas pressure, whereas the ion perpendicular velocity distribution is mainly determined by the applied magnetic field, and the ion beam tends to be parallel to the magnetic field. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.