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When to Show Your Hand

Many poker players believe they should show their poker hands fairly often – at least, often enough to try and put their opponents on tilt. This means showing bluffs, and while some professionals occasionally do, the majority of them always say, “never show your bluffs.” That begs the question, then, of “when should I show my hand?”

If you are called down, then you have to show your hand – in just about any other case you don’t. You have the option of mucking your cards, something that keeps information hidden from your opponent. Despite this, even the biggest name pros can be seen flipping over their cards when they don’t have to. Why do they do this? If you pay close attention, you will notice that they do it very selectively in order to control the other players perception of how lucky and how good they really are.

In any given tournament day, if you watch a poker professional at his job, you’ll notice that the only hands he shows are monster hands. A pair of aces here, a pair of Queens there. If you were to believe only the cards they show you, you’d think they never got anything but good hands – which is exactly what they want you to believe.

Showing down big hands after your opponent folds or after you lose is a way to convince your opponents that you’re always hitting the cards. Showing bluffs might certainly tilt your opponent, but it also hardens their resolve – you’ll notice on them coming after you, putting pressure on you, and trying to take you out. This might work if you happen to hit a monster and they have the second-best hand, but mostly this is just going to put unneeded attention on you and keep you from stealing pots.

Should you show your hands? Absolutely – but be very selective about when you show them and which ones you show.


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