To Muck or Not to Muck

D

dimon

Guest
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,
Dan
 
shinedown.45

shinedown.45

Legend
In my opinion you should only show twice at a table.
1. when you win a decent sized pot with a stone cold bluff
2. when you win a large pot w/the nuts
But this has to be done at the same table as to throw off any reads a player may think he has on you.

Good article
 
Jack Daniels

Jack Daniels

Charcoal Mellowed
I live by the simple belief that I will only show my cards when I am planning to show several hands to build a very specific table image that I can capitalize on (whether that image will be tight, loose, always holding nuts, etc, will depend on the players at the table.) But, I will generally do this more in cash games than tourneys as a personal preference. In cash games, building table image is more important to me because players are more likely to be around longer whereas in toureys they are more apt to disappear before my advertising pays me back. The only exception I give myself to tourneys is when I play a live tourney starting with deeper stacks. That means people will likely be around longer, so advertising can pay me back.

But, having said all that, I generally do not advertise very often. But when I do, see above. Otherwise opponents get to pay to play.
 
H

hathol

Guest
Now I have an image of Al Bundy playing poker in my mind...thanks :D

But I agree with you: only show your cards to build up/ change to the table image you desire (although that can't be done with just showing some cards...you also have to play it right (play lots/few hands...at least I won't belive a rock to be a maniac only by showing 72 after he folded the last 450 hands)

keep on walking

Alex
 
RiverNoHelp

RiverNoHelp

Rock Star
This is an interesting topic here because I was contemplating these exact scenarios last night in my home game..I am known amongst our circle as the rock of the group, which causes me to never get payed off on a hand..I always ended the night with a few bucks but I was starting to feel like I wasn't maximizing my profits because of my image..Hence yesterday I started to let my inner maniac come out.. I started raising with all kinds of junk and calling with junk as well in the hopes to get to a showdown and let the table see my cards.. On the occasion where I won a hand on a bluff or with marginal holdings I took the opportunity to show that as well.. Well, it worked brilliantly.. There was a hand last night where a guy that I've played cards with now for several months couldn't put me on a straight because he actually said out loud "you never play 5 6".. Because I was playing so different to my usual style he was curious to see and I got payed off.. I firmly believe that showing your hand every now and then is a good strategy although I totally understand the old timers "gotta pay to see" way of thinking..The game is evolving every single day, these sorts of things simply have to be done in my opinion.
 
Jack Daniels

Jack Daniels

Charcoal Mellowed
This is an interesting topic here because I was contemplating these exact scenarios last night in my home game..I am known amongst our circle as the rock of the group, which causes me to never get payed off on a hand..I always ended the night with a few bucks but I was starting to feel like I wasn't maximizing my profits because of my image..Hence yesterday I started to let my inner maniac come out.. I started raising with all kinds of junk and calling with junk as well in the hopes to get to a showdown and let the table see my cards.. On the occasion where I won a hand on a bluff or with marginal holdings I took the opportunity to show that as well.. Well, it worked brilliantly.. There was a hand last night where a guy that I've played cards with now for several months couldn't put me on a straight because he actually said out loud "you never play 5 6".. Because I was playing so different to my usual style he was curious to see and I got payed off.. I firmly believe that showing your hand every now and then is a good strategy although I totally understand the old timers "gotta pay to see" way of thinking..The game is evolving every single day, these sorts of things simply have to be done in my opinion.
Your example helps illustrate what I was saying about doing this on occasion to build a specific image. Thank you for your support. :) And doing so got you paid off on a 56 that "you never play". Very nice.

Otherwise opponents get to pay to play.
... the old timers "gotta pay to see" way of thinking...
Now, me and my walker are going home.:D
 
KerouacsDog

KerouacsDog

Legend
I tend to show hands when I play small stake sng's or MTT's, and then not that often. I have a tight image, and bet pretty consistently, ie same amount for same hands PF, but now and again I will bluff and show if it won, if everyone else has mucked, just to set up for the big hand later on. Also showing a decent hand, ie the nuts is a good move IMO as you can then bluff with the same betting pattern later on. It doesnt always work, but I think it helps my game.
 
Coryan

Coryan

Guest
Thou doth show too much

I personally believe that those players who show cards tend to show FAR TOO OFTEN. I probably show a hand every 1500-2000 hands that I play. I try to live by the rule of only showing if I have a specific reason with an expected $$ return. I am a TAG player who (like RiverNoHelp's example) will occasionally find that folks don't like to call me in cash games. Then I play a couple loose hands and consider showing the hand. BUT, I play these hands in the same aggressive betting style that I usually play.
 
RiverNoHelp

RiverNoHelp

Rock Star
Your example helps illustrate what I was saying about doing this on occasion to build a specific image. Thank you for your support. :) And doing so got you paid off on a 56 that "you never play". Very nice.

Now, me and my walker are going home.:D


JD, you are a trip..I always chuckle at your posts because you are so against the grain on this board..Just to clarify though because I don't want you pooping in your Depends I wasn't referring to older players I was referring to the old school mentality that some players have when it comes to showing their cards.. Also, thank you by the way for consistently offering a different viewpoint on how to play hands, I've always admired your insight and advice on this board..Cheers!

P.S.-Thank you also for being a veteran..I make it a point to thank every member of the military that I see..Sometimes people take these brave men and women for granted but I for one never ever will..
 
RiverNoHelp

RiverNoHelp

Rock Star
I personally believe that those players who show cards tend to show FAR TOO OFTEN. I probably show a hand every 1500-2000 hands that I play. I try to live by the rule of only showing if I have a specific reason with an expected $$ return. I am a TAG player who (like RiverNoHelp's example) will occasionally find that folks don't like to call me in cash games. Then I play a couple loose hands and consider showing the hand. BUT, I play these hands in the same aggressive betting style that I usually play.


You certainly bring up an interesting point there coryan.. I will admit that one's table image doesn't always have to be used as a negative but can also be you used as a positive on certain hands..There have been several hands in recent memory where I have bluffed in to a coordinated board in our home game causing others to fold because they believe "he has to have the nuts".. They believe that I'll only bet when I have solid holdings, so yes this type of play will work.. However after my success Tuesday night I believe one has to mix things up consistently to always keep your opponent guessing..I see your reasoning for sure though..
 
Jack Daniels

Jack Daniels

Charcoal Mellowed
JD, you are a trip..I always chuckle at your posts because you are so against the grain on this board..Just to clarify though because I don't want you pooping in your Depends I wasn't referring to older players I was referring to the old school mentality that some players have when it comes to showing their cards.. Also, thank you by the way for consistently offering a different viewpoint on how to play hands, I've always admired your insight and advice on this board..Cheers!

P.S.-Thank you also for being a veteran..I make it a point to thank every member of the military that I see..Sometimes people take these brave men and women for granted but I for one never ever will..

Well, I am here to entertain. As I always say, if you can't play it right, then play it my way. :)

I realize you meant the old school mentality, but it was more fun to write it the way I did. Actually, I'm not that much older than you, but i do generally play with the old school mentality most times. That's where the walker comment came from.

:icon_thum :icon_thum And thank you for supporting veterans like you do. We all appreciate it. I am proud to have served my country.:icon_thum :icon_thum
 
S

scifell

Guest
I think there is a reverse message to be learned here as well. Take advantage of the players that are showing too many hands and, more importantly, beware the times that someone shows only a select few hands (especially if they are showing only a big bluff after getting little to no action or showing a big hand whent hey dont have to).

Dont just be selective in what you show, but be selective in what you pay attention to from other people's hands as well.
 
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