Your Poker Question Answered: “What if My Opponent Shows His Cards?

Are you a new poker player? If so, you must have so many questions going on in your mind. In a game of poker, players typically convey meaningful information through every action they perform.  At a poker table, they confront the players with the difficult task of differentiating truth from fiction by analyzing the information given by the opponents. 

While there are many different actions in poker, one that has flustered new players more than the others is the voluntary show of cards or hands. It refers to situations where one player bets and others fold, but the player voluntarily shows his cards before being delivered to the pot. Since there’s no obligation to show, it confuses the winner. 

Let’s take a look at what voluntary show of cards means, so you are much more confident in your upcoming poker battles at

  • Truth in advertising

Certain players want to establish an honest and accurate image of how they play, and therefore, you cannot assume that they’re trying to deceive you by willingly showing their cards. 

You might be wondering why players would do that in a game that requires deception and bluffing. Here’s why. 

  • The player is interested in playing poker as a social experience. 
  • The player isn’t confident of their post-flop play and fears having their big pocket pairs cracked. For such players, showing cards means relaying the message that other players must not mess with him. 
  • Certain players get a strange pleasure out of informing everyone how they play. The lack of deception might not help them win games, but they take pride in being honest and straightforward. However, this isn’t the case with players who like to bluff through their games. But, you’ll also find poker players who love to boast about not bluffing. They might discover bluffing extremely scary and stay away from such antics. 

In all of the cases mentioned above, the poker players showing their cards are trying to communicate the truth about how they play, and they’re not trying to bluff or deceive anyone. 

  • A false propaganda

As you know, poker is about deception and bluffing. So, the first instinct of a poker player is to assume that it is false propaganda to voluntarily disclose any information during the game. Even though it is not like your opponent will sneak cards out of his sleeves, especially during an online poker game, showing you the cards might create a false impression about how he plays on your mind. 

On initial assessment, a player showing off a deception of bluff probably wants you to believe that they frequently bluff and want you to think that because it is perhaps not true. If he were an honest player who bluffs frequently, he wouldn’t want you to know that, as that will ruin his game plan and strategy. 

On the other hand, if players show a strong hand, it might mean that they want you to believe that they always have the goods. However, this isn’t likely because the cards are distributed randomly, and there’s no way for a single player always to have the good cards. Moreover, if that were true, it would be self-defeating because if a player is always so strong, they will not fold but go on betting. 

The initial analysis is considered to be true if the game makes an early voluntary show. It means players are trying to build an image and intend to play oppositely. It is an amateurish and crude approach because the entire ploy is transparent and standard. When faced with close decisions later in the game, the adjustment would be for the player to be more inclined to call if they have gone too far to convince that they only bet strong hands. Or, if they have tried to establish an image of a bluffer, they have to be more inclined to fold. 

  • Show of cards without any strategic purpose 

Not all players voluntarily show cards because they have a specific purpose on their minds, and certain players don’t have any strategic purpose when showing their cards. These may include:

  • Players who love to boast of bluffing enjoy the fact that he got away with it. It has nothing to do with bluffing rarely or frequently. He wants the feeling of not being caught. 
  • Some players have their favorite junk hand, and when they win with it, they enjoy showing it off. 
  • Those players who are amateurs or complete novices in the game show off their cards voluntarily. They don’t particularly know what they’re doing, but they’re doing it anyway. 
  • Certain players lack motivation and don’t want to establish an image, but they want to make themselves feel clever. They think by showing their cards, and they can show others they’ve mastered the game. 
  • Some players are desperate for approval and respect from other players. So, they like to willingly show their cards and attempt to gain respect from their opponents. 

So, these are some of the reasons why poker players voluntarily show their cards to their opponents. While you can see their cards, the interpretation of why they’re showing you the cards is entirely up to you. It will take you practice and experience to truly understand the meaning of voluntary show of cards. 

Now that you know what voluntary show of cards means, you can up your ante on your upcoming poker games.

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