Some consider themselves “feel players” drawing on intuitive experience. Some will say they are “math players” having devoted a great deal of time learning and understanding the mathematical reason in a given situation.
If your a winning player or professional it’s most likely that you fall into both categories – or rather, you should!
If I had to pick one category to define myself I would have to choose intuitive, This is not to say that I do not know the mathematical reasons for every play, I just spend a greater deal of thought during a game using intuitive experience.I have devoted a great deal of time and energy (math never was my favorite subject) understanding the math as I knew that the foundation of a winning play would always be in the math! I start with the math – for instance:
I have 92 otb, should I raise? I check my HUD and realize my opponent is folding his BB 30% of the time, I do not need to “calculate” as I already know that at this rate I MUST open 100% of my buttons. The math has shown me that this is the correct play.
This thought process in real time =000.12 seconds
Now, intuitively I know that if I continue to be a bastard and raise 100% of this guys BB’s he is going to get pissed and stop folding, hell he might even start 3-betting more – I could use the correct mathematical play and force him to play better vs me..!!
Conclusion: Math= raise, math + intuitive experience = let this one go and keep him on the hook.
I rely on both and I truly believe that every expert in his/her game does this as well.. There are formats within poker that will require a bit more of one or the other and an example would be:
9man Super turbo SNG’s = stick to the math!
Heads Up deep stack = exploitive play and game flow become more crucial!
This is an example a fellow player made that I think sums this up quite well:
“The brain is constantly making mathematical calculations without you even being conscious of it. For example, something as simple as catching a football requires an extreme amount of mathematical calculations involving speed, velocity, geometry, etc., even though the player does it by “feel”.”