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I want to see that hand

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I want to see that hand (abbreviated IWTSTH) is a name for a poker rule that is hotly debated, poorly understood, and at times flat-out abused. The specific rule states that, upon showdown, any player involved in the hand -- even one who mucked on the first betting round -- may ask to see any calling hand. Keep in mind that the usual order of action at showdown is for the last bettor or raiser to show her hand. At that point each caller has the option of showing his hand or mucking. Therefore asking to see the called hand should be uncontroversial, although occasionally someone will muck a blatant bluff with no hope of winning at showdown.

Seeing a calling hand, however, requires invocation of this rule. This topic is a touchy one for many experienced casino players such as those on the Two Plus Two forums, because they assert that the rule was only intended to detect collusion (e.g., by two players conspiring to raise a third one out of the pot despite one of the raisers having a junk hand). Indeed, long-time players assert that this rule is of fairly recent vintage.

The problem comes not when a player invokes this rule to detect collusion, but when she asks to see the hand merely to gather information. Some players assert that this is such an egregious violation of the spirit of the rule that the appropriate response is to ask to see every one of the asking player's calling hands at showdown in order to annoy that player into repentance. Others advocate a more incremental approach, warning the player of the rule's intent the first time but retaliating after future invocations.

Online casinos Edit

The rule has become even more common in online casinos. Nearly all casinos offer a way to view your own hand history, and those hands always include all called and calling players' hands at showdowns. Thus, an observant player can already make use of IWTSTH for online play merely by looking at their hand history immediately after the end of a hand. Interestingly, doing so with online poker software does not alert the other players that you are viewing their showdown hands, so they have no opportunity to get offended or to "retaliate."

Specific observations Edit

The rule's origins and intent are far from universal knowledge among poker players, dealers, or indeed floorpersons. Pointing out the supposed intent of the rule in low-limit games can result in bafflement (observed in Foxwoods $2/4 limit hold'em) or even outright hostility (observed at Foxwoods $1-3 seven-card stud). When asked by this author, a particular Foxwoods floor nicknamed Spike disavowed any knowledge of the intent of IWTSTH to prevent collusion, but affirmed that he would be disinclined to allow the rule's invocation multiple times in a day or session.

Discussion threads Edit

Other external links Edit

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