After the river my opponent showed his hand. Thinking I had a worse hand, I threw my cards face down beyond the line but far away from any other cards. When the dealer was about to take them and muck them I realized I had a winning hand and tried to show my cards but the dealer said I mucked.

Was my hand still live since my cards were not mixed with any other cards and it was clear which my cards were?

  • 1
    I suggest you to change the title from "folded" to "mucked"
    – David
    Aug 23, 2019 at 10:52

2 Answers 2


If it's a tournament following the official TDA rules then the following applies:

14: Live Cards at Showdown

Discarding non-tabled cards face down does not automatically kill them; players may change their minds and table cards that remain 100% identifiable and retrievable. Cards are killed by the dealer when pushed into the muck or otherwise rendered irretrievable and unidentifiable.

See: TDA rules.

If it's not a tournament or the official TDA rules do not apply then individual house rules apply. Ask to see the house rules.

It's very common that a mucked hand is declared dead in those scenarios. It was the trend in the past and remains so in many house rules. I believe this got only recently changed in the TDA rules to be more recreational friendly.

  • First time I ever hear of TDA, so I guess they don't!
    – David
    Aug 23, 2019 at 7:19
  • @David TDA is extremely well established within the industry as being one of the major rule sets that is often used or a variation of it is used during major tournaments. Nice answer Jonast92, to the point and very clear.
    – Grinch91
    Sep 4, 2019 at 19:18
  • @Grinch91 I am afraid we are in front of yet another case of Amero-centrism!
    – David
    Sep 5, 2019 at 7:13
  • Hmmm I'm not sure I follow, I'm not American, but have been a poker dealer mostly in the EU and WSOP for one year. It's pretty well established globally, AFAIK PokerStars is still running all it's events globally under TDA.
    – Grinch91
    Sep 5, 2019 at 9:36
  • @David Most tournaments follow the TDA rules or a variation of it. Most people don't know which rules they are playing by though when they're playing.
    – Jonast92
    Sep 5, 2019 at 10:12

This one comes up often. It's a slightly gray area. There are two issues:

Retrievable cards Generally, cars that are "retrievable" can be live. Despite what people say, "touching the much" literally means nothing in a casino. If you didn't say "fold" and you're still holding your cards, they are usually live.

Induced Action However! If your balk caused another player to act, you might very well have a dead hand. Many houses have a "forward action" rule. If your forward action [either putting chips forward or your cards] - in turn - caused another player to act - in turn - your forward action is binding.

So if you're facing a bet, and you push chips forward, it's either a call or a raise if someone acts behind you in turn. If, facing a bet, you push your cards forward, causing the player behind you to act, your hand is dead. In a heads up situation, your cards should be live.

HOWEVER.... This is a really tricky rule.

If this happened to me [well it HAS happened to me], here is what you do: Just squat. Refuse to give up your cards, seat, or money. Call the floor, call the shift, and finally call security. You have a solid chance of winning this argument. If it was a cash game, and they are taking the pot, I'd tell them I'm taking my live hole cards home with me.

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