I have a few questions about the showdown moment.

I wanted to know how is supposed to be the showdown order after a poker hand, for instance in hold'em, do you follow the order, like first the small blind, then the big blind (if they are on the hand), etc. Or does the last bettor has to show first and then from him to the left, or the caller...

Also, if someone shows a winning hand out of turn, does the previous players have to show anyway or they are allowed to muck it?

In hold'em, if someone shows only one card and that's the winning hand (for example he shows an A and there is an A on the table and no one else has even a pair), is he obliged to show the other or can he say I've already won I don't have to? To generalize, in hold'em, if you show, do you have to always show both cards?

Is there an official rule book (or how you call it) online for this kind of things to check out?

Thanks. R.


2 Answers 2


The rules vary from casino to casino.

But Generally: The last person to bet has to show first and then it goes clockwise from him or her.

You are allowed to muck if someone shows a winning hand. However, a lot of casinos will show your mucked cards if the other player asks to see them after all the action is done. When I say mucked cards I mean cards thrown in. If the cards hit the muck they are usually gone for good at most places. Asking to see someone's mucked hand is considered rude and should only be used if you suspect collusion.

You usually have to show two cards to win. Even if the other person mucks. However, if the last better mucks and it's just you left in the hand you can muck as well and still rake in the pot.

There is no "official rule book of poker". Each casino has their own book that they either made themselves or borrowed from another venue.

  • This is the most accurate answer and I will just add my anecdotal experience. Usually the dealers at the casinos I frequent just say "Show 'em if you want to win the pot". It doesn't take long for someone to show their hand after that.
    – CheckRaise
    Feb 8, 2012 at 20:31
  • 1
    Very true. Most times the order isn't an issue and the winning hand just shows. If my hand is pretty sure to be the best I don't waste people's time. Sure, it's nice to gain information, but you want people to enjoy losing their money to you.
    – k to the z
    Feb 9, 2012 at 15:05
  • @rodrigoq I should also say, I assumed you were talking about a cash game. In tournaments, usually both hands have to show no matter what if it's an all in.
    – k to the z
    Feb 9, 2012 at 15:06

Is there an official rule book (or how you call it) online for this kind of things to check out?

There is no one, finally authoritative set of rules for poker. However, most online and live cardrooms either base their house rules on or have house rules that are largely similar to the closest thing we have to an authoritative rulebook: Robert's Rules for Poker. These were written by Robert (Bob) Ciaffone, and are generally considered to be the standard by which all other cardroom house rule books are compared. The current revision of these rules are Version 11, available in Word format here or in an HTML version here.

In general, according to Robert's Rules, in order to have any claim on a pot at the showdown, a player must have 2 live cards tabled. If a player refuses to show both cards and there are other active players, that player's hand is declared dead and is mucked.

In practice, what often happens is one player reveals one card and another player mucks his hand, knowing that he has lost. The dealer will typically push the pot to the first player and the game continues. However, going strictly by the rules anyone at the table is within their rights to demand to see the winning player's other card. A player who insists on not showing both cards is operating well outside both the rules of the game and basic etiquette. A player who demands to see the other card is both well within their rights and it is not considered poor etiquette to do so, especially if that other player has a live hand.

It's also very poor form to slow the game down needlessly. Players often get in to this cat-and-mouse game of one player demanding to see both cards and the other player refusing to do so. Don't be that guy. Table your hand right away. There are 8 other players waiting for another hand while you play your little game.

  • John, where do you play? A lot of casinos won't allow a one card show for the pot unless all players have already mucked to you. Just curious.
    – k to the z
    Feb 10, 2012 at 17:20
  • @ktothez: No casinos I play at allow a one card show when there are live players. Feb 10, 2012 at 20:53
  • Damn. That's just too bad.
    – k to the z
    Feb 10, 2012 at 21:18
  • Why is that too bad? Feb 16, 2012 at 0:14

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