To ‘show our hand’ means to reveal the value of our hole cards after the hand is over. 

In this guide we’ll learn the following - 

When Are Poker Players Required to Show Their Hand?

The only time players are required to reveal the value of their hole cards is at showdown (and even then, it might be optional). 

In some casinos the player who took the last aggressive action in the hand is required to turn over their hand first, but this rule does not appear to be universal. The second player has the option to either ‘show’ or ‘muck’ (return undisclosed hole-cards back to the dealer). Of course, if a player has the best hand, they will need to show it in order to win the pot.

Should You Show Your Hand After Villain Folds?

Sometimes player like to expose the value of their cards after their opponent folds, perhaps by way of a taunt or jibe. Similarly, players may sometimes like to show their cards to the table after folding themselves. This is completely optional and not required under the rules. Given that poker is a game of information it usually does not make sense to voluntarily give away information to the table without a good reason.

What Does ‘Mucking’ Mean in Poker?

To ‘muck’ in poker means to return our hole cards to the dealer at showdown without exposing their value.

It is not a requirement to show losing hole-ards at showdown. It is only necessary to reveal the value of our cards if we wish to lay claim to the pot (on the basis that we have the best hand).

When Is It Bad Etiquette to Show Your Poker Hand?

The value of our hole cards should only be exposed once the action for that hand is over. Revealing the value of our cards while the action is still live (especially if we have already folded) could be unfair to the remaining players since it might influence how the hand plays out. 

Occasionally there are exceptions to this rule, but it is nearly always a hand is down to two players remaining. One of the players exposes the value of one of his hole cards to his remaining opponent in attempt to bait him into calling or folding.

Can I Ask To See Another Player’s Mucked Hand?

Technically yes, if they have reached showdown then every player at the table is entitled to see the value of their mucked hole cards. 

Having said this, in most circles it’s considered bad etiquette to ask to see a player’s mucked cards without a very good reason. 

Summary of Showing Hands

The simplest rules to start out with.

1. Only show the value of your cards at showdown (assuming we did not already fold earlier on in the hand).

2. If our opponent has already turned over his cards at showdown and we are losing, it is ok to return our cards to the dealer without exposing their value.

As a general rule we should try to avoid giving away information about our hole cards even after the hand, since poker is a game of information.

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