Spurius Furius (spuriusfurius) wrote in pokertalk,
Spurius Furius

When to show 'em

Last night I played in a no-limit cash game on line in which there seemed to be a higher than usual incidence of players showing their cards when a hand didn't end in a showdown. This was great for me because it gave me a lot of insight into these players' strategies; that insight helped make it a very profitable session. I don't understand why they kept doing it, but then I don't understand why anyone would ever show cards they don't have to. But I'm admittedly new to seriously studying this game, so I ask y'all -- is there a good metagame reason to occasionally reveal your hole cards? If so, when do you do it?

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I play in a baby-stakes home game with some completely terrible players. One guy loves to give action and gamble it up. But he wasn't giving me any action when I first started attending. I quickly learned not to bluff in this game, there was no reason since I almost always got action with good hands. There is just no real reason to waste money on bluffs that are almost always going to get called down by bad players. However, this one guy, this guy who loves to give action, he would never call me down.

So one day I bluffed the hell out of him with 75s. I made him lay down trips on a scary board and I had nothing but 7 high. So I showed it. For weeks after that, he would always call me down, SURE in the knowledge that I was bluffing him.

He gave me a lot of money, except for the suckouts!

I hear a lot of pros say you should NEVER show, but I feel that's not quite true...I say you should NEVER show UNLESS you are trying to change your table image. For example, if you're at a very loose table you want to try, generally, to have the image of being a rock, this will possibly win you smaller pots, but quite a few more of them because you'll be able to bluff more often and get away with it. If the table you're playing is a very tight one you want to show a bluff or 2 to let them think you're loose so when you get a big hand you'll get paid off. I think Ronsrants gave a very nice example of this. False Image, like false tells, can make you a TON of money if used properly and your timing is just right.
Sometimes you can put people on tilt if you bluff a big pot and then show your cards. I've done this in live games before.
From experience its a rattling technique that I have given and recieved in my opinion. Particularly in tournaments when the blinds start creeping up and the weak player has just made a bad call, it seems to either do two things, shake them up into playing something dangerous or really tighten them up so you know they are only going to play premium hands, and try to limp in on others.

Then again, there are animals that love showing their bluffs just to make them unpredictable. I tend to tighten up and be a bit more patient.
All of the above are good. Another instance is when you have won 4 or 5 pots without a showdown you can show some good cards so the players don't think you are bullying and play back at you.
I never, ever show cards in a cash game online. I think if you're concerned about the metagame you need a huge amount of history vs. a particular villain before it becomes useful.

The only exception is when you're against an aggro donk who clearly thinks poker is a game of who-has-the-biggest-balls and considers folding an unmasculine thing to do. Showing bluffs is like insta-tilt for these cretins.

Live it's fine to show cards, and usually fun to do so. Maybe you shouldn't but I can never resist it.
I'll show when it's a semi-social or social game and it's between friends.

As far as advertising in a normal/competitive game, I won't do it unless it's basically the DMW situation and if I played the hand in a very conventional manner.

Online - most players (myself included) have the auto-muck option enabled, which is a huge reason you don't see cards shown often.
I agree with occasionally showing just to mess with people's heads. Funny thing is, even if they know you are trying to mess with their heads, they still let it effect them. It's just how the brain is wired.

Also, I had a couple of situations where I've shown AA or KK only to get that or something similar a hand or two later. People just can't imagine that it can happen twice so quickly.