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

Discussion in 'Poker Strategy Articles' started by jojobinks, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. jojobinks

    jojobinks Poker Nerd (and Admin)
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    bottom pair and a flush draw
    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:

    So yeah, he shows his hand first, right? But wait, I forgot about the end of the rule.
    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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  2. ericmalone

    ericmalone Well-Known Member

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    Nice article. Not humiliating people is not only advantageous, it's also polite and courteous.
     
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  3. ipgyst

    ipgyst Well-Known Member

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    Good stuff.
     
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  4. Josh

    Josh Second best Josh on CT.
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    ...but what if it's live and he's the table A-hole? :wink:
     
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  5. StevenH72

    StevenH72 Creativity Alliance

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    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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  6. miandsh2000

    miandsh2000 Well-Known Member

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    another possible result for ya from RROP:

    If the winning player asks to see a losing player’s 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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  7. jbutler16

    jbutler16 Old Man Sweater

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    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. :wink:
     
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  8. siNdreAd

    siNdreAd Well-Known Member

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    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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  9. MSPatton

    MSPatton Well-Known Member

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    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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  10. bergs

    bergs The Don Rickles of Chiptalk
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    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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  11. jojobinks

    jojobinks Poker Nerd (and Admin)
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    bottom pair and a flush draw
    yay, someone disagreed with me! i get scared when everyone agrees...something's fishy :wink:.

    i appreciate your opinion, and bet that you've got more experience than me in live poker. that said, i think your post is premised on two points:
    1) he could be angling me
    2) he should showdown b/c he bet.

    1) yeah, you could get angled, but it's no fun spending all your time worrying about that. in addition, it's just not all that common and i began the hypothetical with the premise that you have no reason to think that's the case. and if you do, well, now you know one guy to watch out for. he's a d!ck and now the whole table knows it.

    2) nothing used to frustrate me more than when others don't do what they're supposed to do, but i've gotten over that. frankly, who cares? i'm not the world's teacher, and trying to get people i don't know to "act right" is a futile effort. so the fact that he didn't instaroll after getting called doesn't matter to me. he says my hand is good, i have no reason to disbelieve, so i show it down. btw, the rules says this is what i should do :wink:

    ps on #2: my sister in law used to call my brother the highway professor b/c he's always trying to teach everyone on the road. "why's this guy going 54 in the left lane? it's my DUTY to tailgate him to show him he should go the speedlimit in the center lanes." lately he's been upgraded to the "ludicrous lifecoach" b/c it's not just on the road anymore. it's in line at the movie theater (don't let 10 people in front of you, how rooood!), at the restaurant (why's the waiter so slow? he hasn't refilled our water in 10 minutes!), et cetera. this frustration comes from anxiety, and isn't productive in any way i can tell. and i do my best to control myself when i feel the same frustrations, especially when it costs me little to ignore it.

     
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  12. andre_anile

    andre_anile Well-Known Member

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    Agreed jojo..."ideally"...but since we can't control others' behaviors/courtesy/etiquette, I subscribe more to Patton's philosophy on this...following this philosophy won't make the game any less fun for me, and shouldn't make it any less fun for anyone else at the table...except someone trying to "get over" with an angle...just my opinion, of course...
     
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  13. bbb_forever

    bbb_forever Well-Known Member

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    I'm with the MS Patton camp.

    If the opponent fires first, and he makes me agonize before I call, I want my opponent to show first or immediately muck.

    If he's too ashamed of this hole cards or his "play style", he's the one holding up the game, not me.

    It has nothing to do with him being a better or worse player than me, or me nudging him to improve his play.

    It has everything to do with me finding out if he's capable of firing at the end with a low pair, a busted draw, or a high pair with a weak kicker.
    That's important information, which can be used later against the opponent, if you want to make a "poker play" on him at the river.

    Another item:
    "Probable winner" doesn't translate to certain winner, especially it there's a pair in the community board.
    It's better to let the first aggressor show or muck first.
     
    #13
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2009
  14. Captn_All_In

    Captn_All_In Creativity Alliance

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    Good article. Let me start by saying that I agree with your point about not making the bluffer show but not for the reason to speed up the game, I just don't want to embarrass the player further. If I embarrass that player now he many want to get "revenge" later on and I would rather he be happy and content that way he will call down my river bet with a second best hand later on and we can both smile about it.:happy:

    I do have A couple of thoughts/questions on the hypothetical situation. 1) Is it in a casino or a home game? 2)Is it a cash game or a tourney?

    1) I have never played in a casino but I have heard from many others that the game happens much faster. If that is the case then slowing the game down in this one instance doesn't seem like that big of deal.

    If its a home game I fully expect that the game will take longer because most people are there to relax and have a good time so trying to speed up the game in this kind of situation doesn't seem like it would have a big impact.

    2) If its a cash game I don't think time is/should be a factor. If its in a casino it only means that I am giving the house more chances per hour to rake pots.

    If its a tourney, then I agree that anything and everything should be done to expedite every hand. I have said numerous times..."THE CLOCK IS TICKING PEOPLE!!" Just to get people moving!! :wink:
     
    #14
  15. legend

    legend Well-Known Member
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    and just what he should he do to the guy who is driving 54 in the fast lane ? congratulate him ?
     
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  16. guinness

    guinness Degen Gatekeeper
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    Don't leave us hanging...what happened after the 2X pot bet?
     
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  17. whataboutj

    whataboutj TAG extrodinare

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    Excellent article once again JoJo. We just discussed this last Saturday at Abby99's game. Her interpretation of the rule for games at her house is that if you ask to see the other players hand after they have declared "Your hand is good" (or some variation of that) you are accusing the other player of angle shooting. So essentially verbal declaration rules in her games for these situations. That being said the players in her games all know each other, have played together numerous times, or have vouched for a n00b so there really shouldn't be an issues with angle shooting or cheating.

    I do agree with Patton that if a player declares "Your hand is good" but doesn't insta muck there is something fishy going on.

    In a Casino this situation would be governed by the dealer right?
    J
     
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  18. jojobinks

    jojobinks Poker Nerd (and Admin)
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    bottom pair and a flush draw
    drive around him? pass on the right? wait for an opportunity to move at your pace again?

    by tailgating you open yourself up to being ticketed and put yourself in a dangerous spot where if he brakes you could find yourself in an accident (one for which you're liable).

    which is exactly the point. "teaching" the slow driver doesn't help you. it may help you feel better, b/c you've expressed your frustration. but it probably doesn't get you moving faster. it could possibly get you a ticket or a wrecked car, and the only thing it teaches the driver is that you're a jerk.
     
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  19. jojobinks

    jojobinks Poker Nerd (and Admin)
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    not exactly. dealers know who should roll, but don't force showdown. they'll encourage both players to roll. but if there's a standoff, dealers will often do nothing more. they'll say things like "open em or muck em," "first hand over wins," and so forth. but the sort of situation i describe in the OP is common, and dealers don't see it as their job to enforce something like this, from what i've seen.
     
    #19
  20. Jeff

    Jeff Super Moderator
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    I assume we're talking about casino play, not home play. I agree with this 100% in any game EXCEPT friendly home games where everyone plays together regularly.


     
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