Can You Lie About Your Hand In Poker?


We can agree that lying for personal gain is something that is generally frowned at. But what happens when poker is involved? You are trying to win money from the guy sitting across the table. This has made many players wonder if honesty is truly the best policy when they are at the tables.

Some casinos have policies that forbid players talking about their hand while some don’t care. The rules vary and depend on where you are playing.

When you look at it closely, you’ll find that this actually makes sense. There are several players that have no qualms lying about their hand to gain an advantage. They will make use of any advantage that comes their way. And you can’t really blame them because their opponents are also trying to obtain information from them to make better decisions.

In this article, we’ll be talking extensively about this topic as well as poker showdown etiquette. Hopefully, you’ll be a better poker player after finishing this article.

lying about your hand is allowed in poker
In some casinos you can definitely lie about your hand, while in others this is not allowed.

Are You Allowed To Lie About Your Hand In Poker?

Like many rules in poker, whether you can lie about your hand varies from casino to casino. Also, this rule also depends on whether you are participating in a tournament or cash game.

The Tournament Director’s Association’s take on this rule specifies that you are not allowed to tell the truth about your hand during a tourney until after all the actions of a showdown have been completed (The Jamie Gold Rule).

This allows you to bluff or lie about your hand. And this can make the game more fun. But if you are playing poker online, then you have bigger problems. If you would like to find out how to bluff in online poker, check out our article.

We doubt your opponents are going to be angry about you lying about your hand here as they too would try to do the same.

In some casinos, you can show only one card when the action is underway. There are casinos that allow you to say anything you want about your hand, be it the truth or a lie. They simply don’t care. It’s up to you and your opponents.

There are also casinos where talking about your hand is strictly prohibited. You are strongly advised not to say anything about your hand except there is only one person left in the hand. In situations where there is only one person remaining in the hand, you can bluff, lie, tell the truth, or whatever. You are as free as a bird, freedom of speech at its peak, haha.

It’s still a violation for you to show your cards after folding though. So if you intend to fold, show your cards first and then fold, not the other way round. Also, you can’t make any statement – direct, indirect, ambiguous, facetious – when you are out of a hand or competing against two players or more.

Enforcing These Rules

How casinos enforce the rules about talking about your hand greatly varies and is mostly dependent on whether your opponents are complaining. You just have to go to the casino a couple of times to know that your opponents will tolerate many things, even if against the rules, when you are losing.

The situation quickly changes if you are winning as they begin to point the smallest faults out. Mistakenly say “Damn, I would have had a straight!” and they will be quick to point out that you’ve made a serious violation. Nobody is hating on you. It’s just human emotions.

There are instances where you are even forbidden to talk about the cards on the board regardless of the fact that everyone can see them. But most times, this rule is largely jot enforced unless you make a statement at a specific player, say “Watch out for the straight”, or something along the lines. That would quickly be taken as a violation as it would be interpreted as you trying to help another player.

Generally, players are seldom penalized for table talk.

If your talk is going against any rule, the dealer will quickly warn you, and should you persist, a formal warning from the director of the poker room may be given to you.

Plenty Of Things To Talk About

In casinos where you can’t talk about your hand, there are plenty of things you can talk about. There is the weather, movies you’ve watched recently or even a basketball game that’s ongoing during the game. Poker is a social game and interaction at the table makes things more interesting.

Poker Showdown Etiquette And Rules

Showdown in poker refers to the period when after all betting rounds have been completed, there are still at least two players with their cards in play. This period is usually confusing for most live players as the question of who is to show his/her cards first arises. And there is a rule for this in order to avoid chaos at the tables.

One of the poker showdown rules specifically states that the player that took the last aggressive action during the final betting round is to show his/her cards first.

However, things will be different if everyone checked during the final betting round as the normal order of play will have to be followed. Players will have to show their cards in a clockwise direction i.e from the left of the dealer.

Some of the poker’s showdown etiquettes and rules will be discussed in detail below.

Proper poker etiqutte.
Poker etiquette is not exactly like you would behave going to a meeting. But nonetheless, there are certain rules in place that you do need to follow when it comes to a showdown.

Why Does the Last Aggressor Have to Showdown First?

We bet you are curious to know why it’s stated that the last aggressor has to show their cards first. This is because a player will face a large bet from an opponent in many river scenarios and have to make the tough decision on whether to fold or call. If a player ultimately decides to call, then seeing the cards of the opponent he called first is his reward. In poker, it is usually said that such a player has “paid to see the hand”.

Why Is the Showdown Order Different When Everyone Checks?

The showdown completely takes a new look when everybody checks. And this is because there had been no bet meaning that no player has bought the right not to reveal their cards first. Now, imagine a river situation where an out of position player has check-called the flop and turn. Now, the player has to decide whether he/she is going to check-call the river or not. If the player check calls and the game comes to a showdown, then he/she will have to show their cards first.

What If Someone Shows Their Hand out of Turn?

Well, there is no penalty if anyone flips their cards out of turn either die to eagerness or ignorance. Though, we doubt it’ll ever be about ignorance. The thing, however, is that most players would like to see the hand of those playing before them. Then, they can decide whether to show or not. You can also decide to just muck and not reveal any information to other players especially if you are beaten.

Showdown rules and etiquette remain the same regardless of the format of poker you are playing.

There is only one exception in cash games which allows players to show one or both cards without penalty at any point during a hand. The opposite applies in tournaments as an exposed card is considered dead. It doesn’t matter if the card was exposed intentionally or not.

You are also allowed to show only one card during the showdown. But you should be aware that you cannot win the hand if you show only a card regardless of how good the card is.

Beware of players that try to get you to show your hand before your turn. It’s mostly a ploy to get you to reveal information about your hand. If you find yourself in such situations, politely decline to show your hand. Instead, ask your opponent to show his/her hand or muck.

Even if after that, your opponent refuses to follow the correct showdown order, politely inform your dealer. Your dealer will then enforce the rules. Don’t let anyone bully you in a poker room.

Primoz

I have played poker professionally for more than 10 years. I was a winner at every poker format that I played - from tournaments to cash games, both in NL Holdem and PLO. Now my biggest satisfaction is to provide enthusiastic but new poker players with answers to all of their questions.

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