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Old 04-10-2009
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You've Called Down With Top Pair: Showdown Etiquette for the Non-N00b.

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.

Now what?
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:

Quote:
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.
Quote:
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.
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Old 04-10-2009
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Re: You've Called Down With Top Pair: Showdown Etiquette for the Non-N00b.

Nice article. Not humiliating people is not only advantageous, it's also polite and courteous.
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Old 04-10-2009
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Re: You've Called Down With Top Pair: Showdown Etiquette for the Non-N00b.

Good stuff.
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Old 04-10-2009
Josh's Avatar
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Re: You've Called Down With Top Pair: Showdown Etiquette for the Non-N00b.

...but what if it's live and he's the table A-hole?
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Old 04-10-2009
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Re: You've Called Down With Top Pair: Showdown Etiquette for the Non-N00b.

Nice article, I can't stand peope who demand to see a hand that the villain has intentions of mucking, it ust causes rifts in the game, and a bad atmospere in general.
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Old 04-10-2009
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Re: You've Called Down With Top Pair: Showdown Etiquette for the Non-N00b.

another possible result for ya from RROP:

If the winning player asks to see a losing playerís hand, both hands are live, and the best hand wins.

**
wouldnt that be a shame to be a d*ck and end up losing the hand.
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Old 04-10-2009
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Re: You've Called Down With Top Pair: Showdown Etiquette for the Non-N00b.

Nice article. I was also unaware of the addendum from RROP, but I have tried to explain the strategy of a quick showdown against a "you're good"-bluffer literally dozens of times to one of the players at my home game. He's a consistent winner, but one of those guys everyone hates because he is constantly smarmy and condescending. Maybe I'll print this post out and leave it lying around tonight at my game.
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Old 04-10-2009
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Re: You've Called Down With Top Pair: Showdown Etiquette for the Non-N00b.

I agree with the article but info wise there is a big difference between a player who fires three barrels here with 67 and one who does the same with T4. Thanks for the read.
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Old 04-10-2009
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Re: You've Called Down With Top Pair: Showdown Etiquette for the Non-N00b.

Great post JoJo,

Here is my OPINION on this and I see it a lot:


First, I dislike the concept of "cards speak"
  • If I say "raise", I must raise
  • If I say "call", I must call
  • If I say "fold", I must fold
  • But if I say "You Win", it means nothing, "cards speak"
So in this case if the "villian" says "You're Good" and DOES NOT immeadiatly muck his cards as he says it I will ALWAYS assume:
  • He is not sure of that statement, and might have the winner as "cards speak"
  • He is "angle shooting" in which case I will always choose to gather the information I paid for or retain the right to muck myself if I am beat
If I am "Good" then muck your cards when you tell me that, you are still going to see my hand
I was not the one who choose to "fire three bullets out of position" knowing at the showdown if I was called down I would have to show a bluff or muck.

If keeping the game moving is a concern, then "villian" should show or muck immeadiatly after the call, not posture by saying "You're Good" whlie starring at J2o
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Old 04-10-2009
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Re: You've Called Down With Top Pair: Showdown Etiquette for the Non-N00b.

This makes perfect sense after the action is over. However, be careful of the player that says "you're good" if you're the one firing into the pot.

Saw a situation at Foxwoods where the villain bet on the flop, was called, bet on the turn, was called, and checked the river when a blank came. Other player bet and the villain instantly said "that's good, you caught me" and the other player rolled over his high pair. Villain insta-bet 2X the pot and put the other player in an awful spot.

This is a great article, just make damn sure the action is over before you follow it.
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