In some cases when I win a pot, not all of the cards in my hand are used to create the best combination. For instance, in Texas hold'em if there are four spades on the board and one of my cards is the ace of spades, it alone completes a Flush. In such cases, can one conceal the irrelevant card and only share the ace of spades to win the pot? Can other players force the player to show the entirety of their hand?

1 Answer 1


The rules across the board are pretty clear, a hand must be shown to claim a pot. A hand is always two cards in NLH, and as such two must always be shown. However in reality it depends. Some cash games players just want to play and if you show a card that wins the pot can often just be pushed your way, however, a player can 100% request to see both cards so keep that in mind.

Tournaments typically require, always, both cards to be shown, if you don't expose both a dealer will typically just expose them.

So to your question is it acceptable, it depends on the game and where you're playing. In Tournaments typically never, as a former dealer, I always turned both cards up if a player wanted the pot, no questions. In cash, it really can depend on the friendliness of a game and how relaxed it is, but as I said if a player requests to see the hand that is claiming to have won they can do so. Dealers might just expose in cash, but typically a good cash dealer will go with the flow of the table.

To be clear, to your last question, can a player force you to show your entire hand, yes is the answer. Regardless on cash or tournament, they can request and the dealer should oblige no questions asked.

  • It is also worth noting that while it's beneficial to most players to not show their other hole card (since hiding information means you keep the edge over your opponents), most players know that it's within the rule to show both cards and so typically don't intentionally hide them. More often it's that the important card that confirms the winning hand is shown first for efficiency, and revealing the second card is left as a job for the dealer while they organize the chips they receive.
    – Unihedron
    Oct 16, 2023 at 9:52
  • Another caveat in cash games is that if a player shows less than the entire hand at showdown (e.g. one card in Hold'em, two cards in PLO, or even no cards at all) and all other players who make it to showdown muck, then there's no need to show, although house rules can vary. In fact, I've called down plenty of rivers and had my opponent muck before I showed any cards, in which case I'm obligated to show nothing. (In fact, one time I got all-in on the flop with OESD+NFD+2 overs, missed everything and my opponent flashed one pair and mucked.)
    – Talmage
    Oct 22, 2023 at 4:15

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