Ruling! #4 – Showing for a Reaction

By Kelli Mix | June 25, 2009

The Scenario

A player is all-in and everyone folds except one player who considers calling. He verbally declares that he has a pair of 10′s. The all-in player remains silent, and the opponent turns his pair of 10′s face-up to try and gauge a reaction from the all-in player. He decides to call the all-in player and wins (10′s vs. AK). The loser asks for a ruling – was he allowed to show his hand?

Kelli’s Ruling

In a live-action game, yes, a player heads-up may expose his cards to gauge a reaction from his opponent. In a tournament using TDA or World Series of Poker rules, no, players are not allowed to expose their cards. The losing player however would still not be rewarded the pot if this were the case. Instead, the player who exposed his cards would keep the pot, but be subject to a penalty of sitting out one hand for each player at the table.

By Kelli Mix

Kelli is the author of the 'Game Day Poker Almanac - Official Rules of Poker'. She lives in Carrollton, Georgia, where she is the state director for the Poker Players Alliance.


2 Responses to “Ruling! #4 – Showing for a Reaction”

  1. Maverick
    June 19, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    These rules suck. If it’s down to HU, I see no problem with showing ones own cards. I’m sure there is a game out there where no one shows their own cards or talks about their own hands, but that isn’t poker. Poker is a game of pyschology. If you want a purely mathematical gambling game, go shoot some craps.

  2. Jimulacrum
    July 28, 2012 at 1:28 am

    I don’t think this should be banned outright like it is in WSOP events (I disagree with a lot of the rules in those events).

    That said, I don’t especially like when an opponent tries to do it to me. In fact, this just happened to me in a $1/$2 game recently. I had QQ, and my opponent had AK, and I had just shoved on him on an undercard flop. (He said he thought I might be trying to make a play on him.) The way I see it, I gain no real benefit from looking at his cards, so when he flipped them up, I stared blankly at the table in front of me. The less information I give him, the better.

    I later learned that he had AK because of his reaction to the dealer rabbit-hunting for him—running kings after he folded.

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