Here’s a fairly common poker scenario: You’re playing no-limit Hold’em at Bodog Poker, you’re on the river with middle set after betting both the flop and turn and getting called. You bet again, your opponent shoves, and you’re just about to mash the Call button when all of a sudden, this strange feeling grips you. It’s like your Spidey-senses are tingling, telling you that something is up. What should you do? Go with your original thinking, or trust your gut?
 

It’s an age-old question that poker players are still coming to grips with. There’s a lot more to becoming a winning player than figuring out the right strategies for beating the game; poker is a mind sport, and just like any other athlete, there are things you can do to make your mind work better. Diet, exercise and time management are key, but to really separate yourself from the pack, you need to start with a proven poker strategy that relies on data and solid, rational fundamentals. Then allow yourself the option to deviate when you get that hinky feeling in the middle of a hand.

Let’s return to our original scenario: You’ve got middle set on the river and you’re intuition tells you to call. If you’ve been playing rational poker up to this point, you’ve opened with a mathematically sound range of starting hands, which you may have tweaked to exploit certain player tendencies at your table. You’ve whittled down your opponent’s shoving range on the river to nuts or air. You’ve calculated the pot odds. If you’re still undecided what to do, and it looks like a marginal situation either way, go with your gut and call.

Don’t leave it there. Whatever the result of the hand, make a note of it, and keep track of future hands where you went with your intuition on a marginal play. This will help you decide whether your intuition is helping you make the right choices. If so, keep trusting your instincts, but either way, keep working on your poker game so you can make better rational decisions on the felt.