In a limped pot, you have QTo. On a Q8532 rainbow board, the villain fires for 1/2 pot. He bet the flop and the turn also, and you've called him down because you think your hand is best. You're not all that happy with calling, but you think you're probably good, so you call.
The villain shakes his head. "You're good," he says. You have no reason to believe he's shooting an angle on you.
Answer: You show down your hand, fully expecting him to muck. You rake the pot.
All too often, I see the caller (or someone else at the table) insist that they see the action player's hand. You don't want that
. Here's why:
- He just bluffed off a bunch of chips to you over three streets.
- He says his hand is no good, and so you want to humiliate him by making him show?
- You might say "I called, he has to show! I paid for that information." Well, how much information is it, really? Since we believe he's not shooting an angle, we know he can't have top pair. He can't have an overpair. He can't have two pair. He can't have second pair. All he can have is a pure bluff or a busted draw. You know his hand, essentially. What's the difference between 69 and T4 here?
Now let's look at it from the bluffer's point of view:
- I just lost another 1/2 buyin on a stupid bluff.
- He's making me showdown another stupid bluff.
Possible results that occur from what you've just done to the bluffer:
- He tightens up so that he's loses less / is shamed less.
- No change.
Basically, you've gained no useful information, but you've made an EV- play, because it's a possibility that the bluffer will improve his play next time by being made to showdown this time.
Finally, there's the rules argument. We all know that the player to initiate action on the last round is to showdown first. He bet the river, we called. Therefore, duh, we get the advantage of seeing his hand, and then we can fold if he's got some stupid two pair hand or a big hand. Right? I fully planned to say, at this point, that yes, although the rules say that, you should showdown first anyhow in consideration for the bluffer and because it's good for the game (as explained above), despite the rule. So I looked it up in RROP 11. And here it is:
Originally Posted by RROP11 Chapter three: general rules of poker
8. 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.
So yeah, he shows his hand first, right? But wait, I forgot about the end of the rule.
In order to speed up the game, a player holding a probable winner is encouraged to show the hand without delay.
Okay? The rule says you show down first, since you hold a probable winner! Bet you didn't know that, did you? I didn't, until seven minutes ago.
If you're the bluffer.
The best thing to do is to insta-roll your bluff without shame or embarrassment. Yeah, you bluffed, so what? It's good for the table to see you're capable of the three-barrel. It's a game of adjustments, and now that they have that knowledge you can adjust accordingly.
Many confuse my last paragraph (if you're the bluffer you should go ahead and showdown) with a rationalization of their natural inclination as the caller in this spot. "I'd show down right away. So you should too!" This logic is flawed. It doesn't matter what you would do. What matters in this case is a) moving the game along and b) allowing a bad bluff to go un-needled. Point A is always good, because live poker is slow and we don't need to slow it down any further. Point B is good because it's our job to make our opponents feel happy while losing, not to humiliate them by making them showdown their trash.
Ready for the cliff's notes?
Situation: you call down on the river with a hand that you think could be best. The bettor basically tells you your hand is best. He seems not to want to showdown. What do you do? You show your hand. Why?
- It moves the game along.
- If you have no reason to believe you're being angled, your hand is probably best here.
- It's important not to humiliate the players in your game (otherwise they may not come back, or *gasp* improve their game).
- You don't rate to get any valuable information for making him showdown.
- The rules say you should showdown first.
Note: In my first draft, I referred to the villain as an "action player." I realized, as I read it over, that I had done that to try to strengthen my case for showing down first, not needling, et cetera. I've gone back and fixed all those references, b/c it doesn't matter
. Whether the player is strong or weak, bluffy or tight, showing down first here is correct, unless you have reason to believe you're being angled.