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Poker Showdown

At the Showdown

by Jesse Knight
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Poker Showdown
Showdown - The point at the end of the hand when all active players show their cards, so that the winner of the hand may be determined.


The showdown occurs after the last card has been delivered and the final round of betting has taken place. It is the point at which the hand ends and the winner of the pot is determined. As soon as the last player has completed their last action during the final round of betting, showdown begins. At this point, the players who still hold live hands show them down. This means that they lay them face up on the table so that everyone at the table can see them and the dealer can read them. It is the dealerís responsibility to read all of the hands and award the pot to the winning player or players.

Most casinos have house rules governing the correct manner in which hands are to be shown at showdown. If a player fails to show down a hand correctly, it is at a minimum considered to be rude, and in some cases, it can even cost them the pot. For example, most house rules state that a hand must have all cards laid face up, with the backs touching the table, in order to play. This is to ensure that all players can see the entire hand, and to prevent players from illegally adding or removing cards from their hands during play. If a player fails to expose his hand as required at showdown, his hand may not be read by the dealer, and he can potentially lose the pot.

Casinos have good reason to have strict rules governing procedure at showdown. Historically, some players have cheated by exchanging the cards in their hand with cards they have concealed in their clothes or underneath the table. For this reason, many clubs are very strict about the requirement that all cards must stay above the level of the table and be in plain view at all times. If a card goes off the table at any point during the hand, including during showdown, it can be declared dead, and this can cause a playerís entire hand to be ruled dead. If players get too excited when they are turning their hands over, they can accidentally drop one of their cards on the floor. Even if the card bounced off the table top on to the floor, it is considered a card down. This can cause a winning hand to be declared dead, although depending upon the house rules, the floor man may have some flexibility to preserve the winning hand in the case of player or dealer error.

Clubs may also have differing rules on the order of exposure at showdown. It is customary for the action to generally proceed in a clockwise order. It is also customary that when a bettor is called, the bettor must show down their hand first, and the caller, if they can beat the bettorís hand, has the privilege of turning over their hand second. This is usually how it goes, the final aggressor on the river will turn his hand over first, and the remaining players will respond in a clockwise order. Sometimes, if there is no action on the final betting round, a dispute can arise over who should turn their hand over first, the last aggressor, or the player who is in the first position clockwise from the button.

The reason that disputes sometimes arise in this situation is that house rules frequently differ on this, although it is a technicality for which there is a correct answer. Although it will not have any impact on who will win the pot, and it ultimately makes no difference who shows down first, house rules will specify who is to show down first in the event that there is no action on the final round of betting. Sometimes they will specify that the last aggressor (the last player to bet or raise) is required to show down first, regardless of which betting round that action took place on. Other casinosí house rules will specify that in the event that there is no action on the final betting round, showdown will proceed clockwise from the dealer button. Since the order of showdown has no real impact on the outcome of the hand, these disputes are relatively rare. If you are playing online, the order of showdown is clockwise, and it is done automatically, so disputes of this nature are impossible.

Usage: Made It To Showdown, Lost At Showdown, Showed Down A Flush

Previous Poker Term: Short Stack
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