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Stop Showing Those Hands!

Light hearted, yet deadly serious – the new healthy blog post type from Planet Mark. Well, ok, that’s a little over the top… I did have a serious message for those readers who are relatively new to poker here. This might be better asked as a question: What are you trying to achieve when you show me your hand in a poker game?

Of course, showdowns are showdowns… what I am asking here is what is in the mind of someone who shows a big bluff, shows a monster hand when they bet and everyone folds, or shows their big blind before folding junk to a button raise. Experienced poker players may find spots to confuse their opponents with a carefully timed show. These guys are thinking about what their opponent thinks they think about their holding – the leveling game is complex, and utterly beyond the people I am discussing here. Let me give you an example, a fellow Brit in a recent tournament showed and showed and showed… when he bet pot or even overbet he kept showing bluffs… not just bluffs but junk with no hope of getting there.

He kept showing pairs and draws with after half pot bets… and went to showdown with the nuts after either calling or betting tiny amounts.

This guy got lucky and won some early big pots. After the rebuy hour he already had a 20k stack… at which point his showing tendencies came back to haunt him. Those big overbets with air were the key, since he kept showing us those hands, everyone knew he was FOS and people kept calling him with those very top-pair type hands which might have given up to a big bet (well, depends on the buy-in level to be fair – top pair is still the nuts under $11!).

ah I hear you protest, he could have switched things around and fooled you all – which would have made showing earlier a great move. Not buying it I’m afraid, the kind of players who show everything are generally brand new. They are saying ‘ha, fooled you’ because they think this is the important part of playing poker… you know, the guys who check-raise every damn time and slowplay aces like their lives depend on it… as we gain experience we understand that winning a little bit more when ahead and losing a little less when behind is the real key – and to do that we need to give away as little of what our betting patterns mean as possible… If you show you have given your opponents free information with which to beat you with. You have shown you are inexperienced (good players rarely do this) and you have shown that you prefer ‘tricking’ your opponents than winning their money – which is so easy to exploit it is untrue! Finally, blind showing… those people who show that they are only folding junk in the BB… or time down before folding as if they are thinking about it.

Listen, you are showing that you are bothered that you are getting ‘stolen from’. You are making showing your opponent that you ‘know’ they are stealing more important than making the most profitable play. People who do this care about their image at the table a little too much… I am sure that SNG Planet readers can think of plenty of ways to exploit this particular weakness!!

GL at the tables, Mark

PS: If you are a beginning to intermediate player and would like to build your bankroll then check out my acclaimed free course – the $16 per hour SNG Blueprint right now, this comes in 4 parts and gives a solid grounding in how to become a consistent winner!

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