In a live poker tournament, the opponent asks how many chips I have left to. Do I have to count my chips and answer his question? Is it poker etiquette to answer the question? Is it OK to just show the chips and not count?

2 Answers 2


You do not ever have to count or tell you opponent your stack size. You will have to move your hands/arms out of the way so that your opponent can see your stack size, though.

It's the dealer's job to tell your opponent how many chips you have if your opponent asks.

  • Thanks. In the tournament I played, it was free to enter, and there is no dealer. The players take turns in dealing the cards. Do you still think I don't have to tell?
    – Kenshin
    Dec 6, 2012 at 7:11
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    @Chris Yes. If the players are taking turns as dealer then I'd say the responsibility is theirs to count chips, but in all seriousness, it's good etiquette, and there really is no advantage/disadvantage to letting players know. If there is, it's minuscule.
    – Toby Booth
    Dec 6, 2012 at 15:37
  • To add to what Toby said, if the game is more friendly I think you should definitely just tell your opponent.
    – Silversana
    Dec 6, 2012 at 23:04
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    Also it is custom (and in most tournaments a rule) that you have to stack your chips in a way, that the highest value chips are visible and not hidden underneath or behind other chips.
    – RoToRa
    Jun 17, 2013 at 11:20
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    This may be subject to local rules, but nobody's chips are required to be broken down and counted unless the player has bet them. You must clear your stack (have them all visible in clean stacks) if another player asks but the player is not obligated to count them nor is the dealer supposed to count them unless the chips are bet.
    – Jon
    Mar 18, 2015 at 11:15

Your opponent is entitled to know your stack size. You have a responsibility not to deceptively stack your chips, obscure them, or otherwise interfere with your opponent's ability to judge your stack. You do not, however, have to help him count. If he asks the dealer for a count, the dealer can and should count your chips, and you may not interfere (though you can offer to count yourself if you wish).

  • +1 to this, although, something to think about: occasionally I hear people talking about asking for a count just as a tactic. The theory is that if you're tanking and want a few extra seconds to think, you can distract everyone else by making them focus on determining the size of your opponent's stack. I don't really personally buy into this, but if you do, it'd be a reason to offer a quick answer.
    – Pops
    Mar 19, 2015 at 15:21
  • I have a feeling Lee Daniel Crocker is an experienced poker dealer (or player).
    – yaki moto
    Apr 13, 2015 at 18:12
  • Both, and floorman. Apr 13, 2015 at 18:19
  • Some players may use 'give me a count' as a delaying tactic, but nonetheless the rule is that a player is entitled to a count. If a floorman wants to give warnings or penalties to a player abusing the rule, he certainly can at his discretion. Aug 25, 2017 at 23:55

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