ignition-poker-bonus-poker freeroll usa
Home / Texas Hold em / Revealing Hands to Opponents: To Show or Not to Show?

Revealing Hands to Opponents: To Show or Not to Show?

Whether you’re playing in a big-time tournament in Vegas, joking around at poker night with your buddies or playing tourney after tourney online, deciding whether or not to reveal the hands you play is a crucial skill for players of different styles. Generally, it’s advisable not to show your cards unless you have a very good reason. Information about opponents, after all, is critical for success at the poker table and the more often you show your hands, the more information about your style you're revealing to a shrewd and observant opponent.

However, there may be some tactical benefits to occasionally showing your hand to your opponents. For players who prefer to adopt a very aggressive style, the psychological advantage of showing a strong hand when others fold to you can be very powerful and allow you to push others hand around and steal when you hold less than overwhelming hands in other cases.

For example, let’s say an aggressive player is playing in the early stage of a no-limit hold 'em tournament. An aggressive player might play around one-third of the hands in the first couple of hours of the tourney. To play this way, it often helps to have a reputation as a solid, successful player so that the other players will tend to accord you respect. Using well-timed raises either before or after the flop, an aggressive player can often take down lots of small pots and try to build up a sizeable stack. Now, if you are taking down pots in this way – by raising and your opponents folding – you don’t actually have to show a hand down and generally, it’s best to leave your opponents wondering and stewing with frustration. However, an aggressive player may enhance his strategy by periodically turning over his cards when he bet and his opponent folded. Showing starting hands when you are not bluffing like ace-king, ace-queen, or pairs can help you control the table by declaring to your opponents that while you may be playing a lot of pots, you are holding strong cards. While players generally suspect each other of bluffing frequently, this tactic can leave a strong impression on your opponents since people remember what they see and not what they don't see. Hence, you build a table image that you are a player that cannot be messed with without great starting hands. This has the added benefit for you of knowing that when others do get involved with you, they are likely waiting until they have stronger than normal starting hands to do so.

One very crucial note for those of you who may want to adopt this style is that your most closely guarded secret ought to be how often you are bluffing since this aggressive approach to tournament playing is based on stealing pots. If your opponents can get a handle on how often you tend to bluff, they will have a better sense of the likelihood you are bluffing or not when they face off with you. This means that you may want to make a bet on the end of a hand when you otherwise might not have merely for the purpose of not having to showing the hand down. This will give you the option of revealing or not revealing and allow you to control what hands of yours your opponents get to see.

Bookmark and Share