“Show One, Show All” Rule in Poker

The “Show one, show all” rule breaks the advantage of a single-player catching a glimpse of someone’s hole cards by revealing the cards to everyone.

When it comes down to poker, we all very much know the rules of the game. So what is the show one show all rule?

Imagine the dilemma when the dealer tells you to reveal your cards to all the players because of a “show one show all” ruling after a betting round. How much of an advantage do your opponents have? In this article, we take a close look at the “show one show all” rule to understand its legitimacy.

What Is the “Show One, Show All” Rule in Poker?

Poker games require all players to be on equal footing in regards to the information available to them. “Show one, show all” breaks the advantage of a single-player catching a glimpse of someone’s hole cards by revealing the cards to everyone.

Example

Imagine playing Texas Hold’em with a board of 5Q8. Player B went all-in while Player C, who is sitting next to B, was shown player’s B hand after the deal. In this scenario, player C has an advantage over you and everyone else at the table since he has more information than anyone else. Player B could be holding 55 or even a Q8.

To guarantee fairness, player B must also show their hole to the rest of the participants. Doing so lets you know if what kind of range they are gunning for, letting you classify them as a LAG, TAG, or passive player. Of course, the deed is done after the betting round to avoid affecting the bets.

Inactive players or those who folded can also use the information from player B’s revealed cards. Everyone gets a good grasp on Player B’s betting habits such as slow playing on inside straights or even a C-bet without any blockers against their opponent.

Casinos and tournaments have different definitions of the “show one show all” rule. One of which is the WSOP with its rule 84. In the official WSOP rule book, rule 84 states the following:

At the end of a hand, if a player exposes one hole card, he or she must also show the other hole card if asked to do so by any player

WSOP, rule 84
Show One Show All Poker Rule
Show One Show All Poker Rule

How Is The Rule Enforced

Any player around the table who saw someone showing their cards to a player can make a “show one show all” call. There are no rules that state an active or inactive player can make the call.

Once the dealer or staff’s attention is called, officials go through the facts on whether the player needs to show their hand to everyone at the table. Dealers will not take any player’s side and will only issue a ruling that they deemed fair.

It is important to note that there is no universal method of handling “show one show all”. Every cardroom has its methods on how to pass a ruling on anyone asking a player to reveal their hands. It also comes down to the decision of a dealer or official.

Take note that the “show one show all” applies when all players have ended their hands. With this ruling, more than one player can be asked to show their hole after finishing their hand.

Pros & Cons

Information is the primary benefit of the “show one show all” rule can give you additional data on calculating the probability of winning inside draw in your part. You can even determine what kind of hand an opponent is confident in going all-in for.

Calling out players for consistently showing their hands to a specific player helps you prevent any coalition tactics between two or more people. Certain cheaters tend to transfer their chip stack to an associate by losing it on purpose, leaving one of the cheaters with more betting strength than others on the table.  

What are the consequences of calling a player out for showing their cards? One of which is providing your opponents with certain behavioral changes or poker tells that you let out, including paying close attention to everyone’s hand.

People invoking the “show one show all” ruling tend to be tagged as attentive and aggressive players. Attentive players who are actively participating in the table tend to hold a monster.

Where Is This Rule Applied?

Sit-&-go tables and cash games will have dealers or floor staff issue the ruling when anyone asks a player to reveal their cards. It is important to note that casino employees’ final say is based on their views.

Live poker rooms, such as the Hippodrome Casino in London, have a specific ruling for disclosing one’s hand. If this happened during the deal, it is considered a “dead hand” and is revealed after the last betting round. When it occurred after the deal, everyone is entitled to see the revealed hand.

Citing a “show one show all” ruling in a tournament is common since the stakes are higher. Take note that the ruling is simply a courtesy allowed for participants. Only the tournament officials can give their approval on whether a player should show their hands to everyone after the draw after revealing it to someone else.

Using the “show one show all” rule allows everyone to be on equal ground in regards to information on a player’s hole. Different casinos and tournament events allow the ruling to ensure fairness among poker game participants.