So many times I have spoken to people in casinos or to regular online grinders and they tell me about a hand they played. I am standing there wondering why they made the play they did and their reply is always “It was a gut feeling”. What does that really mean? I think it is just an excuse for why they made a bad play or a reason they came up with because they wanted to gamble.
The most common time this occurs is on the river and the opponent put in a big bet and you are holding a weak hand. You are curious as to what the opponent is holding, have they just made a flush? Did they flop a set? Everything in the hand indicated that they have a better hand than you. So you should fold right? Well this is when most people will tell you that they had a feeling they were bluffing! That is what their brain tells them but really they just want an excuse to call to see if they are right.
When you have a feeling, think about it. Does it make sense? Do you have any logical reason for this feeling. For example did you pick up on a live tell from your opponent? Or maybe they have been playing very aggressively all night and that leads you to believe that they may be bluffing. Whatever it is that you notice about your opponent always have a logical reason to back up your feeling. If you don’t then you are just gambling and you don’t want to be a gambler, you want to be a poker player!
Sometimes these feelings of yours will be correct even when you can’t think of a reason why. These are excellent times to learn from. When you get a feeling like that and you are right but can’t explain it then think a lot about that hand and the game you played in to figure out what it was that your subconscious noticed. You will start to see patterns and that is when you will start to become a very very good player.
Don’t even make a decision just because you had a feeling. Always look for logical reasons to explain the feeling. Poker is a logical game and to win at it you must make logical decisions.