Friday, February 1, 2019

Seeing your opponent’s cards – what would you do?

Prior to this particular hand I’d been having a fairly forgettable session – nothing overly good or bad had happened in about an hour or so since I’d sat down and I was hovering around my initial buy in level. I was sat next to a nice guy on my right and we’d been having a few beers and a chat about both our travels – he was due to visit London soon and I’d been giving him some pointers for a first time tourist.

I don’t remember the specific details pre flop but I was in the BB with A-10 off. I think I called a bet from UTG+1 which had also been called by 2 other players – including the SB on my right. The flop comes out 10-10-2. SB bets and I call, the original raiser calls and the other player folds. Turn is a 5 which brings 2 diamonds on the board. SB bets, I raise, original raiser folds and the SB looks at his cards before calling. When he looked at his cards he accidentally exposed one of them to me – not on purpose and it was only the briefest of flashes that no one else could have seen it or even realised that I’d seen it. It was a black K. This guy was a decent enough player that he’s not called from the SB with KK, he’s not calling my raise on the turn with A-K so the only other hand he can have is K-10 – which figures given his post flop action. The turn is an 8 – not a diamond so there’s no flush or straight possible to represent. SB leads out about 30% of the pot – what do you do here knowing that you’re good?

I decided to use a couple of factors before making my decision:
He was a relatively nice guy – sure I’d only just met him but I always think that someone’s persona at the poker table is actually a pretty good mirror of their true character. Sure people can act aggressive with chips but those who win with grace and lose with humility are those I like to be around. Someone who berates his opponent whether he’s won or lost at the poker table is probably a jerk away from the poker table too. If this guy had been a jerk I’d have raised.

He could afford to lose the money – basically anyone at the table should be prepared to lose their chips but this guy had told me what he did and losing another $100 or so would have been inconsequential. Not that I’d not raise if he told me that he needed the winnings to buy a hot dinner for freezing orphans.

What if I’d not seen his card – I’d already raised on the turn before I saw his card. Another raise here doesn’t look suspicious and I’m probably getting a call.

In the end I just called – I tried to play the hand out as if I’d not seen his card and I wouldn’t usually raise in that position just with trips albeit a strong kicker, there’s too many SB limped hands that “could” have made a full house albeit I knew he didn’t have one. He turns over K-10 and asks about my kicker. He says “nice hand” with genuine sincerity and we get back to chatting as if nothing has happened


  1. Interesting situation. It is a player's responsibility to protect his own cards, so I wouldn't feel too bad about getting a view of one of his. Even if you hadn't seen his card, I'm surprised you wouldn't choose to raise since there are so few hands that would beat yours. You did the gentlemanly thing. Not sure what I'd have done.

    Hey - if you are looking to get more traffic and comments to your blog, think about adding a list of poker blogs on your main blog page. There is a group of us who do that to support each other. I saw that Ace already does that for you. Consider it and easily expand your base and exposure. I will add you on my blog today (

  2. Thanks Lightning - I’ve got a similar story to write up where I didn’t act so graciously

    I’d been meaning to add some blog links for a while - thanks for the proverbial kick up the rear!!

  3. I would have raised if it's only $100 left. I had a similar experience and wrote about it here

    Once or twice I thought I saw a player's card when I was not in the hand and when they went to showdown he didn't hold the card I mistakenly saw.