Everyone and their mother has an opinion on showing cards. If you bluff you way to a pot, do you show your hand to rub it in or do you just slide your cards to the middle of the table and stack your chips? If you fold a hand in a big pot is it ok to show what you mucked?
Personally I don’t like to show my cards under any circumstances, but there are times when showing your cards may help set a trap for a future hand. With that theory in mind, I’ve come up with my own compromise: Just show one card. Whoever said that if you’re going to show your hole cards, you have to show both? Showing one card can make your hand even more mysterious than not showing at all. I generally do this at least once at a table or tournament to throw off other players. I never knew its impact until I did it one night by “accident” in Atlantic City.
I was playing in a low limit $2 / $4 hold em game. I was at the table for about an hour or so and was doing fairly well. I was up about $100. There was another player at the table who had to criticize other players when they won a hand on the river or didn’t play up his level. We’ll call him “Fred.” I think we’ve all encountered this type of player before. I immediately didn’t like Fred when he criticized me when I won my first pot. I was holding 6-7 of hearts and I flopped a straight. To make a long story short I won the pot with my straight, but the there were 3 spades on the board along with a pair of nines. I couldn’t raise my straight with the possible flush and full house out there. When I showed my straight Fred shouted across the table to me “Why didn’t you raise?!” I told him why (trying to be the gentleman), but Fred told me I played it wrong.