Trust Your Instincts


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Follow Your InstinctsI was playing in a low stakes Full Tilt Poker sit and go the other day when I got myself into a situation when my poker strategy instincts were telling me that I was beat.  However, I ignored my instincts and proceeded to get myself into trouble, losing most of my stack and getting eliminated on the next hand.

We were only a few hands into the sit and go, but were already down to seven players out of the original nine.  I was the chip leader of the table after knocking out one of the two poker players.  I was dealt AKo in cutoff seat and raised after the UTG player and two other poker players called.  The UTG was the only caller and the flop came AQ5 rainbow.  The UTG bet out immediately, and I had to decide what he had.  The only hands I was afraid of at this point was AQ or 55, since I was sure he would’ve raised preflop with a better preflop hand (such as AK, AA, AQs, etc.) instead of simply calling my raise.  I was pretty sure I had the best hand, but I wanted to put him on a hand before I acted.  My gut was telling me that he was holding AJ or A10, giving me a monstrously dominating hand over him.  Logically I deduced that he had to have an ace and I went with my gut and raised 3x his bet.  My opponent pushed all-in and I called, having already decided he had AJ.  Sure enough, my opponent turns over AJ and his avatar vanishes from the table.

On the next hand, another player is knocked out when his middle pair is eliminated by the top pair of the player I will refer to as Player B, leaving us with two stacks more than double the starting amount with most of the others around the starting amount, as we were only 4 hands into the tournament at the time.  A couple of hands later, I find myself holding pocket kings.  I raised from middle position.  The player to my left raises, and Player B raises his entire stack, enough to force anybody, except me, all-in.  The action is folded around to me, and I have to make a decision.  This was a low stakes game and the table had been extremely loose so far.  However, my gut was telling me that Player B was holding pocket aces, and I couldn’t shake that feeling.  Yet I ignored my gut and made the call, believing in the looseness of the table and wanting to take an absolutely dominating chip lead with almost half the chips in play..  Player B turns over pocket aces just like my gut said, and I am left with a couple hundred chips which I throw in on the next hand with A10.

There were numerous reasons why I should have folded here, including the early stage of the tournament and how I could have been beaten by a lot of hands even if I was holding the best hand at the time.  The biggest reason though, is that a poker player must trust their instincts.  Mine were telling me I was beaten, and I ignored them, as I wanted to have the mountain of chips.  My instincts had served me well earlier in the game when they told me my opponent had AJ, and they had been right on for several sessions actually, so I knew I should have trusted them.  I was a fool on that hand and it cost me.


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