In No Limit Hold'em, all of the great players have developed the instinct to pick up more of a ethereal part of the game that can't always be expressed succinctly after the fact. This is one of those masked qualities that tends to rise out in necessary situations in successful players. I have seen it come about in me at various times. The key is to realize when you have to trust it. Just right now I took a hard knocks lesson as to when to trust myself. A hand will illustrate what I am trying to say perfectly:
6am 5-10 NL game @ commerce casino. Game is fairly loose passive and I start the hand off with ~$750.
UTG limps, I limp in 2nd position with As6s, cutoff and button limp, SB completes and BB checks. 6 way $60 flop comes down Qc Js 2s. Checked to me and I bet out $45. Folded to SB who min raises to $100, BB calls and then folded to me and I call.
Now before I go on, I will say that I have not played with SB very long at all, maybe 10 hands max and I had not seen him win a hand or showdown a hand as he just moved to our table from a broken game with more $$ than me but I had the feeling he was very tight.
The turn card in the 3 way $360 pot came down the Qs for a board of Qc Qs Js 2s. I now have the nut flush. The SB is sweating and twiching now and bets out $100 and the BB calls $100. I decide to raise here for 2 reasons. First, off, I know the BB is a bad player and will pay me off with a worse flush, a bare Q, or maybe something worse. Secondly, I really felt like the SB had Q2. Everything in my gut told me he had Q2. So if he were to reraise me or call and then bet/push the river, I could be sure and easily fold. But, no. He just calls and unfortunately, the BB folds. Now the river comes the 3c. He checks while still being quite twitchy and agitated. Now I am super confused. Is he really pulling this move on me with me only having $350 left in a $900+. Is he really trapping here with me being pot committed and having to call his river value bet? (or so he should have thought)? I thought there was no way this could possibly be the case. Did he have AQ/KQ, a lower flush, a worse Q, J2? Somehow all this clouded my crystal clear read of 10 seconds prior that told me he had Q2. So, of course, this new found bungled thinking bewitched my hand into pushing my last $350 into the pot as a voluntary bet. And, yes, of course, he called and showed me Q2.
I sometimes have the instincts. Now I need to learn how to listen to them.