How do you determine which player needs to show their cards first

How do you determine which player needs to show their cards first?

When all the cards are out and betting is done, which player is required to show their cards first? Does it vary based on whether or not there was betting in the final round? Is there a standard accepted rule or is this one that varies from casino to casino?

2 Answers 2

This rule will vary from house to house. The two options are:

  1. The last player that made an aggressive action (bet or raise) must show first. If no aggressive action occurred on the final betting round, it would be the last aggressive action from the round of betting before that, and so on.
  2. If no aggressive action occurred on the final round of betting, the player to the left of the dealer/button must show first.

In any case, after the first person shows, the onus to show (or muck) proceeds clockwise around the table.

The most common rulebook used is Robert's Rules of Poker. Chapter 3, THE SHOWDOWN Section, rule 8 lists:

If everyone checks (or is all-in) on the final betting round, the player who acted first is the first to show the hand. If there is wagering on the final betting round, the last player to take aggressive action by a bet or raise is the first to show the hand. In order to speed up the game, a player holding a probable winner is encouraged to show the hand without delay. If there are one or more side pots ( because someone is all-in ), players are asked to aid in determining the pot winner by not showing their cards until a pot they are in is being settled.

Which is equivalent to option 2 above.

In a number of casinos, I have seen the rule enforced that players only need to show their cards if they are seeking a claim on the pot. This practice is why many live players will verbally declare "you have me beat" without exposing their cards, in hopes that their opponent will show and take the pot without further incident. The player making that declaration may even go so far as to discard their hand into the muck.

The only time this practice creates a major problem is when someone at the table suspects cheating of some sort. This is where the live rule emerged that made it acceptable (if frowned upon, since you are essentially accusing the other players of cheating) to request to see the hole cards of all players who were in the hand at show down. That rule, in turn, is what led to the common practice of online poker sites showing all players hole cards in the text of their hand histories.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged rules dealing or ask your own question.

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Who Shows Their Cards First in a Poker Showdown?

When showdown is reached in a poker hand, it can often be a confusing moment for live poker players. Deciding who shows their cards first is a common argument in both tournaments and cash games. Lets settle what the showdown rules are once and for all.

Who shows first in a poker showdown? The showdown rules of poker state that the player who took the last aggressive action on the final betting round shows their hand first. If everyone checked during the last betting round, the normal order of play is followed and the closest player to the left of the dealer shows their cards first.

While the order of showdown after the river is fairly straightforward, there are a few nuances that need to be addressed. Whether you play Texas Holdem, Pot Limit Omaha, or some other form of poker, these rules will apply to you. Below is some more information you might find use

Table of Contents

Why Does the Last Aggressor Have to Showdown First?

In many river scenarios, a player will face a large bet from an opponent and have a tough decision on whether to call or not. If the call is made the player is rewarded by getting to see the cards of the person he called first. He or she is said to have, paid to see the hand.

Why Is the Showdown Order Different When Everyone Checks?

If everyone checks on the river the normal order of play is followed. Since there has been no bet and no call, no one has bought the right to not have to show first.

A typical river scenario is an out of position person will have check-called the flop and turn and now has a decision on whether to also check-call the river. Were the action to go check-check, the out of position person would showdown first. However, when it goes check-call the out of position person has purchased the right to not have to showdown first.

Does the Showdown Order Vary from Game to Game?

The showdown order remains the same whether the game is Texas Holdem, Pot Limit Omaha, Stud, or any variant of poker.

Do I Have to Show My Cards in Poker?

There is generally no requirement to ever show your cards in poker. You can fold or muck your hand anytime during play. In fact, the only time you are required to show your hand is in order to win the hand at showdown .

To win a pot, a player must table both cards face up to qualify for winning the pot. Just keep in mind that some card rooms do have slightly different rules regarding showing hands, be sure to ask the dealer if unsure.

Beginning players sometimes misread their hand may even fold a winner. So until you become a skilled winning player its probably best to always show your cards at showdown, just in case.

Can I Just Show One Card at Showdown?

You can show just one card at showdown. However, showing just one will not qualify you to win the hand even if that one card is revealed that you definitely have the best hand.

It is a universal rule among all card rooms that both cards must be tabled faced up in order to win a pot.

What an Opponent Refuses to Follow the Correct Showdown Order?

Some players will often try to get their opponents to show their cards out of turn so that they can try to avoid giving away information. If you encounter this situation and they are attempting to get you to flip your cards first, my advice is to politely say, its your action, please either show your hand or muck your cards.

If the opponent still refuses to follow the correct showdown order, ask the dealer to step in and enforce the rules. Do not let a rude or forceful person get their way. Poker is no place to get bullied.

Are There Any Exceptions to Following the Correct Showdown Order?

There is one exception to the rules of showdown order. If you hold the nuts or a very strong hand, it is a common courtesy to just instantly flip your cards over on the river no matter what the showdown order is. Otherwise, you might be accused of slow rolling.

If I Call the River Can I Ask to See My Opponents Mucked Cards?

Sometimes part of the reason a player will call is to gain information from his or her opponent. While it is mandatory for your opponent to show their hand if you request them to, it is almost universally frowned upon as bad etiquette if your opponent wants to muck their hand.

The reason it is bad etiquette to ask to see mucked cards, even if you are entitled to, is that it will often embarrass your opponent. It is widely accepted that just winning the pot should be enough for a person making a correct call. Rubbing it in your opponents face by forcing them to show their inferior hand or bluff is in poor taste.

What If Someone Shows Their Hand out of Turn?

At showdown there is no penalty in just flipping your cards up out of turn. However, most people like to see what cards people acting before them have before deciding to show or not. If you are beat, you can simply muck and not give away any information to your opponents.

What If There Is a Side Pot and Someone Is All-In on the River?

Sometimes a player will be all-in and there will be two or more other players who still have chips behind. In this case, the betting round continues until showdown is achieved.

Once showdown is reached it is generally good form for the non-allin person to show his or her cards last, regardless of their position.

Are the Showdown Rules Different Between Cash Games and Tournaments?

In general, showdown is the same no matter what format you are playing. The only exception is that in cash games a person may show one or both cards at any point during the hand without penalty.

In tournaments, if a player exposes their cards, whether intentionally or not, the hand is usually considered dead.

Is There Ever a Time to Showdown a Weak Hand Versus Mucking It?

If its your turn to showdown your cards and you have a hand that is obviously losing, you generally want to just muck and not give away any information. However, there are a few instances you may want to go ahead and show the hand.

  • You want to project a particular image to the table
  • To encourage the rest of the table to showdown and not muck there hand, that way you possibly gain some information
  • Misreading your hand is a definite possibility, if you always showdown every hand there is no chance of ever mucking a winner

Related Questions

What is considered a muck in poker? The meaning of mucking a hand in poker is to fold or discard a hand without revealing your cards. Players often much their hand to avoid giving away information to their opponents.

Who goes first on after the flo? The order of play on the flop, turn, and river is the same. The small blind always acts first and the dealer button always acts last.

How does all-in work in poker? All-in means that a player has no more chips behind to cover any future bets made. In this case, the player is declared all-in and will keep his or her cards face down until the showdown is achieved. An all-in player cannot win or lose any more than is contained their starting stack.

Final Thoughts

Showdown at poker is one of the situations that few players truly understand the actual rules. The cool thing is that once you know exactly how it works you can use the information to your advantage .

My advice is to never show your hand until it is your turn to do so, unless of course if you hold the nuts or near nuts. Never slow-roll your opponents. Unless of course you like being disliked by everyone in the poker room.


2 players check on the river one player shows his hand the other player goes to muck his cards must he show his hand if requested
I know that if there was a bet and call on the river he must show thanks

If its a check-check situation, you only have to show your cards if you want to win the pot. Unless there is some house rule that overrides this.

On a cash game, if someone has 200 left, and the other player bet 195, he put all of his 200, the other call, who shows first ?

The person who was called must show first. However, often the player who made the calls the bet will quickly show if he has a really strong hand. This is etiquette not to slow play. Even so, I always suggest you should wait for the person you called to show before you do. This is a battle of information, and seeing those cards is important.

In a cash game, the betting on the turn card, was utg player checks, hj player bet, utg player goes all-in, hj player calls, on the showdown hj player shows his cards and utg player mucks his cards and says I have no outs. Is the utg player obligated to show his hand? And can hj player request to see utg players hand and is there a penalty for the utg player?

Since the HJ made the call, he is definitely obligated to see the UTG players cards if he wants to. Just keep in mind that it is bad etiquette to not allow the player to muck. Even so, you can request to the dealer to see the cards. You paid to see it, after all.

Who shows their cards first during showdown for Texas Hold em/.

If you bet on the river and get called then you show first. If you call a bet he shows.

No action on the river: players show in order (clockwise) starting from the player who was first to act. Action on the river: agressor show first and players show in order from there. All money goes in before the river (tournament): same as river action above. All money goes in before the river (cash): players show in order from the UTG player (same as no action in the river above) regardless of who the agressor is.

A lot if people get confused about the last two. Cash and tournaments are different. In a cash game, players are not obligated to turn over their cards right away if the money goes in before the river card is dealt. After the dealer turns up any remaining cards, players in later position can wait until early position players show or muck their cards, even if they were the agressor in previous streets.

Also, note that regardless of how many players make it to showdown in a cash game, when it's your turn to show, you can choose to table your cards or muck (you can muck even if you're the first to show). If a player shows his hand first and you can't beat it, you are never obligated to show if there are others holding cards behind you (there is an exception here in the case of all ins, in which anyone at the table can ask the dealer to table your cards after you muck. However, this is considered bad etiquette and the rule is there only to prevent collusion. In addition, if the player who asks the dealer to table the mucked hand is the one trying to claim the pot, he will forfeit the pot if the player misread the mucked hand and is better than the asking player's tabled hand)

Lastly, in tournaments, most places will make you table your hand if you call all in on the river and can't beat the hand the agressor tables.

Who shows cards first at the showdown in poker?

Weve all been there. The river card is dealt, all action has completed, and now it is time for the showdown.

But nothing is happening. No showing is going down.

For online poker players, this is a non-issue. When you play at PokerStars and its time for the showdown, the cards are automatically revealed. But in live poker, even experienced players might not know who is supposed to show their cards first.

Sometimes the hesitation before players turn their cards over has something to do with gamesmanship. Or maybe a player has bluffed and gotten called and is embarrassed to show, and now is hoping not to have to reveal his cards. Often, though, the pre-showdown delay is simply due to confusion — players just dont know who is supposed to show first.

Whats the rule here? When it is time for the showdown, who shows their cards first? Also, is there any etiquette we should be aware of as well, when it comes to showing your cards at the end of a hand?

Who shows first when there is no betting on the final round?

The rule regarding who shows first is actually not very complicated. What sometimes makes it confusing, though, is the fact that the order can be affected by the action on the final round of betting.

Lets say you and I are playing Texas holdem and we are the last two players remaining when the action gets to the river. The dealer deals the card and completes the board. Im in the big blind and I check, and you decide to check as well from the button.

When the action goes check-check on the end like this, the showdown follows the same order as the betting. The player in the earliest position shows first, then it continues from there clockwise around the table. In this case, Im in earliest position, so I have to show my hand first. You can then show yours or, if you have lost, you can fold your cards face down and not show.

Wed follow the same procedure if there were others in the hand, too, and it checks around on the river. Starting with the seat left of the dealer button (the small blind), wed go around the table clockwise with those in the earliest positions showing first in order all the way around to whoever is in last postion.

Who shows first when there is betting on the final round?

Things potentially change, though, if there is betting on the last round. In that case, the showdown rule is that the player who took the last aggressive action on the final betting round has to show first.

Aggressive action means betting or raising (not just calling). Once that player shows, it again proceeds clockwise around the table from there with the remaining players showing their cards in turn, or mucking if they have lost and dont want to show.

Lets return to the hand the two of us were playing. Im in the big blind, remember, and after the river card is dealt lets say I check. You then bet and I call. In this case, since you made the last aggressive action (by betting) you are supposed to show first, then I can either show or muck.

Again, if there are several players still in the hand, the procedure is the same. Whoever made the last bet or raise on the river that got called is the one who shows first, then action proceeds clockwise from that person around the table with players showing their cards in turn.

By the way, there is no rule against showing your cards early. Unlike during a hand when acting out of order is a big no-no, at showdown it is perfectly fine to flip your cards over before it is your turn. In home games, for example, you often see all of the remaining players simply show their cards at once at the end.

In truth, the showdown rule about order is only there for those times when players arent all willing just to show their cards and move on to the next hand.

Have the nuts? Dont slow roll!

So thats the rule — simple enough. The player who takes the last aggressive action on the final betting round shows first, unless there is no betting on the last round in which case players show their in the same order as the action starting with the player left of the dealer and going clockwise.

When it comes to etiquette, one thing you dont want to do on the river is wait around for others to show first when you are holding the nuts — an unbeatable hand. That would be slow rolling, and while its not against the rules it will certainly be regarded as unfriendly (at best).

Imagine its a four-way hand with the final board showing A J 4 9 K . The small blind and big blind both check, a player in middle position bets, and the button calls. The players in the blinds then fold — time for showdown.

Technically the middle position player who led with a bet on the river is supposed to show first, since he was the last aggressor. The button waits and lets him turn over his hand — A K for two pair. The button then flips over his hand — Q 10 for a Broadway straight. The button has the nuts, and had chosen just to call the middle position players river bet hoping that the blinds might call or raise.

This is a case, though, where the button should just flip his cards over right away once the last player folded and the action ended. By waiting, he let the middle position player think he might have a winner with his top two before dashing his hopes. Dont slow roll like that… think how youd feel if someone did that to you!

The more you know

There are multiple reasons why it is good to know the rule about who shows first at showdown.

For one, it helps keep the game moving, which everyone likes.

Secondly, if you know the rule, you can avoid showing your cards in situations where you dont have to

, and thereby avoid unnecessarily giving away information about how you play. If you dont have to show first and your opponent does, and your opponent turns over a winning hand, you can muck and keep that info to yourself.

That said, be careful not to be too hasty about mucking without showing. Even experienced players sometimes misread their hands. If you are new to live poker, you might be better off just showing your cards, anyway, especially if you have any doubt at all in your mind about whether or not youve won or lost.

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