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Is it Ever Good to Show?

I played at Toni's Towne House homegame tonight. I ended up placing 3rd out of 15 people for a $90 profit. I also had the pleasure to play with Karol and Dawn of I Had Outs. I plan on having a better recap in the future, but for now, let me pose a question:

Is it Ever Good to Show?

I'm a showboat. I can't help it. And I showed my cards tonight, at least three times! I showed that I bluffed with 32o after a guy folded, saying, "You have nothing." I showed that I had a Jack (but hid my Ace) when I bet big and won a pot after a Jack-high flop. Hell, I think I may've shown another bluff again.

It's compulsive, man! I just can't help it. Someone says something, and I can't help but think, "What if he saw my cards?" Let him think that his read was right, but he folded anyway. Make him tilt when he sees that you have crap. OR Show that dominating hand so he knows that folding was good. Let him think that when I bet I have good cards. Let him fear me.

It's not just showboating. It's controlling the game's tempo by controlling players' emotions. It's about getting them angry at you OR themselves, at the cards or at luck. Or getting the others to feel smug and unbeatable.

I'm painting an ugly picture here, and I don't mean to say that I am trying to tilt someone. Sometimes, I'm just giddy. LOOK! I HAD IT! or I WAS BLUFFING AND GOT AWAY WITH IT! It's just the excitement of it. And if I subconsciously know that they are going to react to my cards; if I subconsciously can predict (almost by feel) how they are going to react, well, that's a bonus. It's not tangible. Hell, it's barely intangible. It's subconscious.

My fear though, my fear is this: what about the quiet guy? Am I going to outplay my target while giving the quiet guy in the corner a chance to really watch me? Watch me as I talk and react and then show my cards? Am I setting this guy up for the win? The two winners tonight were quiet-types. I'm not saying they fit the profile, but that is something to consider.

It's a tough game and I love every minute of it. As Karol said to me tonight (mockingly, no less), in response to my obvious giddiness, "Poker gets you high?" Har dee har har. And Yes.

You tell me, though. Is it ever good to show?

posted by Jordan @ 12:15 AM,


At 12:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the long run, I don't think it's ever good to give free information by showing.

At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Naaaawww... Showing cards doesn't mean much. It simply enforces our suspicions. ZYou should be more concerned about running your thumb over the sides of the chips in your palm when your solid and just holding them when you're not. The Oreo cookie? Just an urban legend and has nothing to do with your beer can, really, it doesn't, really.

At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On very rare occasions I might show a good player cards. For instance, if I have broadway and re-raise a players bet of top two pair and he lays it down I'll show him hoping he compliments himself on the play in the hopes that maybe I can get him to lay down another hand later when I don't have the nuts.

Showing a bluff IMO is nothing but EGO you know kind of rubbing salt in the wounds type of action. I'm the quiet guy in the corner that loves having that bluff info and I lay in weeds waiting for a chance to trap my EGO bluffing foe. The only thing better than taking a bluffers chips is taking the arrogant table captains chips which on most occasions is the same thing.

At 5:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, Miami Don agrees with showing only when the other guy makes a good laydown, but not when bluffing. It's an interesting distinction, and if I had to choose one or the other, I would probably go with showing when I was bluffing. The point of showing someone when they folded well IS to get them to think that you always bet with the nuts and to get them over confident in their laydowns. This is effective. But, just as effective, to me at least, is where you show a bluff. The next time when you bet with the nuts, that guy is going to think you are bluffing again. In the end, it depends on what you are looking for. Are you trying to get more action, or stop the action and take down hands with bets. That is really why I don't necessarily mind doing either. It all depends on the situation and what is called for. But thank you all so far for your opinions.

At 10:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes I show a good hand when I have had a good run of cards. I try to get people to remember me showing good cards so I can run a few weaker hands by them later.

At 5:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know my answer wasn't what you wanted to hear =)

At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe, DP, but this isn't about telling me what I want to hear. It's about getting different viewpoints and actively thinking about some of the things we do automatically. In that regards, what you said was exactly what I wanted to hear.

At 10:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never show. I'm not good enough to give the other players any free info.

At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In general I believe it's never a good idea to show. However, as anyone who has played at all with me knows, I play the Hammer religiously, and I always always always show it no matter what. And I have to say, I think the loose image that has helped create for me has really added a dimension to my game. I may be the only guy who thinks that showing some bluffs is helpful, but when I see SoxLover saying on his blog that I may raise with any two cards, it just reinforces that showing bluffs once in a while can do wonders for your image, in particular if you don't tend to play too many bluffs most of the time.

At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, Hoyazo starts off by saying never show, and then gives an example where he does show, and ends up stating that it works in certain situations. Where he thinks it is good to show bluffs, Miami Don thinks it is good to show the nuts.

See where I'm getting with this? We all think immediately that we should never show because it gives away free information. BUT I think it can be a great deceptive tool if used wisely. Its the "if used wisely" part that is difficult.

At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will often show if I am repeatedly stealing the blinds and antes in a tournament (particularly near the bubble) and I want to demonstrate that I am not always stealing with air. That's about the only time I really like to do it though.

At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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