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Who can see your cards at a showdown?

December 8, 2021

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In the Replay Poker forum, there’s often been debate about mucking and folding. So, who can actually see your cards at a showdown? We’re here to clear up the confusion.

This is how Replay Poker interprets the showdown rules:

When is it a fold?

  • Players fold when they 1) have chips and 2) are facing a bet, but decline to match it. Note: They may choose to fold instead of check, but this is poor etiquette.
  • When a player folds in a poker hand, their cards are lost forever. Only the player who folded can see their own cards if there is a hand history or they watch a hand replay.

When is it a muck?

  • Specifically after the round of betting on the river card, players no longer have the option to fold. Instead of folding, players have the option to muck if they prefer not to expose their losing hand to the table.

A well-known poker saying is that players have to “pay to see” an opponent’s hand. Some players use the terminology “see you” when they call. Logically, a caller has the right to see the bettor’s cards because they matched the bets.

There is confusion about who should see the caller’s cards, particularly if they muck them. As stated, if a player folds, the cards are never shown, even in the hand history. However, if a player is part of the showdown, the cards should be available for review. At online poker sites, all hands which take part in the showdown can be exposed in a hand history. This is less comm on in free poker games, but something that is available at Replay Poker.

Note: With the surge of online poker hand analysis in computer databases, the showdown cards are available only to the players who were dealt in the hand via a hand history. (Reviewing hands you were not part of is called data mining.)

Why are mucked cards shown? 

Unlike a brick and mortar casino setting, online players cannot deliberately throw a winning hand away at the showdown in order to help a friend — or simply misread their cards. A poker site inspects all the hands and awards the pot to the correct winning hand. This means all cards are recorded, and the hand can be reviewed in its entirety.

Here’s an example. Our hypothetical situation is a Hold’em hand where six players were dealt cards and only two are active after all betting — i.e the showdown.

With a board of A-4-7-J-3, a player bets with Ace and King and is called by an opponent who has Ace and Queen

The player who bets is obliged to show their hand. The other player, having seen they’re beaten, may show their hand as well, or muck. Remember, at this point they are not able to fold.

  • This would also be true if the first player has Ace Queen and checks, after which they call a bet from the Ace King. In that case the Ace King would show their hand first and the Ace Queen may muck or show their cards.
  • This would also be true if they both check and the Ace King player was first to act in the round of betting.

Some players consider this invasive, but it is entirely fair. They are usually concerned that they will be embarrassed by their bluffs or speculative calls being exposed.


Folded cards are never exposed in Replay Poker’s hand history.

The Replay hand history will show all showdown hands to any player who was dealt into the hand. This is because the players who participated in the hand have “paid to see” the hole cards of all the cards that were evaluated at showdown.