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Play_Analyst Rank 10
Rank 10

Hi guys I've just finished playing for the day after my instincts told me to quit. I'd been making steady progress and despite running KK into trip 9's (a hand I'll come back to in a bit and no, it's not a bad beat story lol) something in my gut was screaming at me to stop playing. I'd managed to get back to a small profit despite virtually stacking off with those kings and had the tables I was playing on pretty much worked out.

I find I use a mix of the odds and gut instinct but I have found that if I ignore my gut instict I usually end up regretting it. This is what happened with the KK hand. Even before we started playing that particular hand I was feeling uneasy. Hard to believe given that KK is the second best starting hand but something in the back of my mind was telling me to fold it out right there and then pre flop before the action had even opened.

Going against my instincts I decided to raise 3xbb pre flop. I got one caller, a really tight player who on any other day I'd have rubbed my hands together at "catching".

Flop came down 9 high. I made a half pot sized bet not wanting to scare away my customer. (My instincts where still screaming at me to fold lol) Needless to say they not only called but re-raised my bet ............ oooo not a good sign and I should have folded there and then given how tight they had been playing.

For me all the indicators where there that they either had aces or trips and yet I went for the percentages figuring they had a hand like QQ.

Needless to say by the river we were both more or less all in and they turned over 99 giving them 999 Sad

If I'd gone with my gut I'd have lost the bare minimum and I've been playing long enough to know that I shouldn't have ignored it.

So my question to you is when you're playing do you rely purely on the numbers, ie working to the stats such as calling if the price is right,do you go with your gut instincts or do you use a mix of both?

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8 REPLIES
AndreiBN Rank 25
Rank 25

I go with my instinct,but also pay attention to what has been played in the last hands.I've noticed in the last days,after i was busted with AA by 62 ,and he made a streight,when we had all in a big amount and i would have never went all in with 62,but he knew something.It stuck in my mind and everytime when there was a 62 in the game,90% there was a streight coming.And it happend to often now to cinsider it a coincidence.So i guess there are some paterns in every software and if you play enough hands ,you get to know what is coming.

And with AA it s the same story,almost always you lose when you go all in with the best pair,but ,in this case,even if i know this,i still go all in in most cases Very Happy

"When things are bad, it's the best time to reinvent yourself"
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Magicadil Rank 25
Rank 25

Your gut was telling you to fold KK preflop. It might be that you felt you were done for the day, but since no one had raised before you, your 3x raise was the best play. Once the flop hit, you were pretty much committed. I rarely take numbers into consideration when playing. It's just something that happens subconsciously without me even thinking about it. I do rely on gut instincts quite a bit but only if I have a feel on how opponent has been playing.

The only logical reason I see for your gut telling you to fold is that you played a lot & your brain was tired. Even though you lost the hand, you made the right move since you had your opponent crushed. There's many hands he could have when he raises that flop that you still crush (A,9 suited, QQ, JJ, etc)

The only question left is why your gut was telling you to fold. Did you play more than you usually do? Anything in your daily routine you did differently? It's extremely hard to answer, & only you will know the answer.

I debate
Should I smile like everything's good and pretend that life is great
Or should I let the world see the real me and not hide this pain
I tried to be like the rest of y'all, sorry I just can't
I'ma probably die this way
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radge1 Rank 17
Rank 17

It's a good question...all   I can say for sure is "the KK curse is real"! :robotwink:

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JohnnyKings Rank 10
Rank 10

Know I'd get the mickey taken for my theories, buy there are patterns and your gut probably knew what was coming.

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Unibet Employee Jamie-Unibet
Unibet Employee

Play_Analyst wrote:

Hi guys I've just finished playing for the day after my instincts told me to quit. I'd been making steady progress and despite running KK into trip 9's (a hand I'll come back to in a bit and no, it's not a bad beat story lol) something in my gut was screaming at me to stop playing. I'd managed to get back to a small profit despite virtually stacking off with those kings and had the tables I was playing on pretty much worked out.

I find I use a mix of the odds and gut instinct but I have found that if I ignore my gut instict I usually end up regretting it. This is what happened with the KK hand. Even before we started playing that particular hand I was feeling uneasy. Hard to believe given that KK is the second best starting hand but something in the back of my mind was telling me to fold it out right there and then pre flop before the action had even opened.

Going against my instincts I decided to raise 3xbb pre flop. I got one caller, a really tight player who on any other day I'd have rubbed my hands together at "catching".

Flop came down 9 high. I made a half pot sized bet not wanting to scare away my customer. (My instincts where still screaming at me to fold lol) Needless to say they not only called but re-raised my bet ............ oooo not a good sign and I should have folded there and then given how tight they had been playing.

For me all the indicators where there that they either had aces or trips and yet I went for the percentages figuring they had a hand like QQ.

Needless to say by the river we were both more or less all in and they turned over 99 giving them 999 Sad

If I'd gone with my gut I'd have lost the bare minimum and I've been playing long enough to know that I shouldn't have ignored it.

So my question to you is when you're playing do you rely purely on the numbers, ie working to the stats such as calling if the price is right,do you go with your gut instincts or do you use a mix of both?


Contrary to popular belief, these two things are inextricably linked, and a solid strategy requires both theory crafting and the ability to interpret subconscious information (commonly referred to as "gut feeling" or "instinct").

The problem with weighting more towards "instinct" is that it's unreliable. Your "gut" is far too easily impacted by your emotional responses, and since poker is a game with so many emotional elements, it's a mistake to rely solely on your instincts. Of course there are players who have made careers by relying heavily on their instincts over theory-crafting (Phil Hellmuth, Negreanu to some extent), the game has changed a lot since they started playing and you simply can't get away with that anymore as there is so much information avilable to people.

That being said, your instincts are very important. The perfect scenario is to develop a strong, theory based game, but also leave yourself the ability to deviate from that strategy in order to make big calls/folds/adjustments. This is particularly key in live tournaments and cash games, where due to getting very few hands, maximising each hand can often be more important than losing a few BB/100 in a vacuum. We have all been there where we *knew* that someone "has it", but have rationalised ourselves into calling through theory, and on the other end where we have convinced ourselves that someone is bluffing when your range analysis suggests they have little to no bluffs. It's all about balance.

In conclusion I'd recommend relying on theory (understand range construction specifically) predominantly as theory is not affected by external variables like tilt, ego, emotions, hunger, fatigue, unlike your "instincts" which are. However being able to deviate from long term strategy in roder to make big calls/folds to maximise profit in the short term is something which you need to be able to do. Probably make it a 75/25 split, if not 80/20 in favour of theory. 

 

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Unibet Employee Jamie-Unibet
Unibet Employee

JohnnyKings wrote:

Know I'd get the mickey taken for my theories, buy there are patterns and your gut probably knew what was coming.


Have you read "Blink" by Malcolm Gadlwell? It's all about how much sublte information our brain absorbs from our environment which is interpreted by our subconscious. 

E.G You have a gut feeling that you're going to see your mate on your way to work today, but in reality it's simply because your brain has absorbed information about their schedule from your previous interactions which made it likely you would run into each other on that day. 

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BookTheWin Rank 13
Rank 13

The more you play, the stronger the force will become.  It's a huge part of my game, I feel it pretty much every all in and have a good idea whether im ahead or behind.  That being said it's not always right and you could be making huge mistakes by ignoring the math.  Just like the player folding quads in the million dollar one drop, sometimes your instinct can be making you look silly.

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Play_Analyst Rank 10
Rank 10

Thanks for the reply guys all very informative and definately food for thought.  I'll be giving that book suggestion BLINK a look, always on the lookout for anything that can improve my game.

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