To Muck or Not to Muck
I came across this, and found it very interesting... I did not write it, but it is a useful read if you always show or always muck:
Let me know what you guys/gals think, and as always if you have a good question let me know, and I will use it for a future topic. (as of now I have no plans for next weeks topic, help!!)
To show or not to show, that is the question (of this week). Of all the opportunities that come your way during a poker game
where you have the option to show or muck your cards, which ones do you show and which ones do you throw as fast as you can into the muck, then mess the muck up real fast so no one can ever find them again?
Well the short answer is you shouldn’t ever show any of your cards to the other players unless you have been forced to do so in a showdown, but of course this is poker it cant be that easy can it?
As you have often heard, once in awhile it is a good idea to show your bluffs and even your good hands to the other players. This is done solely to set the table up for future plays. Sometimes players have a tendency to forget their own playing style, sure it’s a good idea to mix it up, but being a consistent player will sometimes let your opponents get a good read on you as being a tight player and they will lay down more cards than if you are loose and aggressive all the time. (Please follow closely as my thought pattern is going from one point to another in no specific order) Make players call you bets if they want to see what your cards are, then if they see that, remember it, and use that same betting strategy against him later on. If you make a big bluff, you can show your hand, ONLY IF, you are going to use that in the future to set up a monster hand, and then it will usually only work if you use the same sort of betting strategy in the other hand.
Now imagine the blinds have been folded around to your big blind (commonly called a “walk”), do you show your cards? I think you should typically only show if you had a pocket pair or other very good hand and the blinds are becoming larger, this will help prevent players from trying to steal your blinds with marginal hands, because they will be thinking that you could always have that good hand like the one you showed awhile back, so they don’t want to risk making a move and then having you move in over the top of them. If you have bad cards like 2-3 or 7-2 10-3 etc, I would only show these if the table had been really tight in early stages of tourney play and you are trying to get more people involved for when you do get a hand there will be some action and you will be able to win a good sized pot instead of 40 chips from the blinds.
If you lose a pot during a showdown, avoid showing your cards at all cost, some sites and casinos
have a rule that if you are in a showdown that you must show, usually only if a player in the hand asked to see it. Absolute Poker has a similar rule, any player involved in a showdown can view the instant replay of the previous hand(s) and see what the other player mucked (the cards will have lines through them signifying they were mucked). Don’t forget to look through these once in awhile during a tourney it will help you understand what players are calling with, you can avoid people who try chasing by betting more at them, you can figure out who is bluffing, and more. Remember the more information you have about other players the better, players can always switch it up but tendencies can always be found, especially if you play with the same players consistently, as in many private free rolls. If you play on AP and other sites that have this feature, you still shouldn’t show your cards at the table, just muck them, and let the people who are smart enough go find out for themselves what they were. Sometimes however, I know that even I will show some hands, more or less to show that the other player got extremely lucky on the river, then I go into a rant, but anyways.
So to summarize my random thoughts, only show your cards if forced to, or if you have a purpose behind it, not just to be nice. Remember your betting patterns and those of the other players in regards to hands that have been played and shown, use this information to your advantage in future hands. Use the replay feature available at many sites.
And as always, be respectful at the tables and play good poker, playing dumb cards is not cool just because the tourney happens to be free or low-limit play every tourney/game/hand as if your life depends on it, you would be surprised how much better you may do and your profits start coming. Then again, this doesn’t work for everybody, loose sometimes is good too, it’s all up to you. (How’s that for a closing line?)
Reminder: Most of my tips are aimed at No Limit Texas
Hold’em tournament play, either single or multi-table, other games and cash tables do have somewhat different strategies, but since most of the players nowadays are playing NL Hold’em and that is what I specialize in, that is what my tips address.
Hope you like it,