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EVERYTHING you do affects the actions after you.

In an online game chat box, I muse that I’d like to have the option to flash the mostly-premium hand-that-I’d-really-like-to-dink-around-with-at-this-loose-table (I think it was A-Q suited) that I am gracefully folding after watching a 3-bet-call-call sequence in front of me, preflop. Some people laugh and then someone says they’d like to be able to just show one card when flashing. That makes me laugh even more.

Someone else gets their panties in a bunch and states “no[w]here allows that.”

I basically tell them that it depends on where you’re playing; some house rules are different. Panties-in-a-bunch can’t let it go. There’s some back-and-forth which I’m trying to ignore until he says that’s a STANDARD poker rule and you’d get kicked out for doing it. I say something about my referring mostly to ring games and not tournaments; tournament rules seem to be a bit more structured than ring games and it seems obvious that this person has never grinded any regular live poker non-tournament games successfully (though I didn’t mention that part in the box).

I don’t see the point in arguing with them after they state the following (kind of verbatim, but honestly I can’t remember the exact wording):

You can’t do anything that affects the actions after you. It’s not fair to the people that already acted before you.

WHAT? What planet are you from? This is your BIG POKER RULE?

Absolutely everything you do affects the action after you and is “unfair” to the people who acted before you who didn’t know may not have known you were going to do that. That’s freekin’ poker and THAT’S WHY POSITION IS IMPORTANT. (This idea of “position” seems to be lost on many, especially those that play only online, have only played with play money or in freerolls, or think that poker really is exactly like they’ve seen on TV, but that’s a whole other ball-o’-wax for another day.)

1. Everything you do affects action after you. EVERYTHING.
What if the next player gets suddenly and violently sick and vomits all over the floor? The big guy who raised two seats before might not have done so if he knew that guy was going to do that, since he is an acutely sympathetic smell-reactive-vomiter who has to leave the table and forfeit his hand and significant money-in-the-pot to run to the bathroom.

Okay, so that was a seriously ridiculous “What if?” I know. Sometimes I go way out there. Way.

But absolutely everything affects the action after you.

2a. So, if you’re the last to act and you fold and flash your cards, that’s kosher?
These rule books are going to be très très long if you have to define the rules for each person who could possibly be in a hand.

2b. So, according to your rule, if the person flashed their hand out of turn, before anyone acted for that round, that would be kosher?
Um. Yah. Just had to toss that out there.

3. It is an advantage to know what cards any player has in a hand. Period.
If someone at my table flashed their hand in this situation, yah, I might get annoyed, depending on where I was seated and whether I still had cards. But, ultimately, no matter what happens in that hand, IT IS AN ADVANTAGE TO ME (and to anyone else who pays attention) to know what cards that person had at that moment in time and, possibly more importantly, what they did with that hand in that situation.

They are giving up information about how they play.
And knowing that information is an advantage. Period.

(This point requires that you think of poker in the long-term. And also that poker is much more than a card game.)

Okay okay… For those that understand what I’m saying and still have a bit of panty up in that crack, I know I know… If someone has a bad habit of repeatedly flashing their folding hand to the repeated advantage of the person who always acts directly after them, okay… I get it- that ain’t right. They should be warned that it isn’t quite kosher and they should stop doing it. And if they keep doing it, then, okay, I get it if they get tossed.

But, really?
People need to stop getting their panties in a bunch (or stop wearing thongs) if they’re going to get so huffy about a game they really don’t understand and refuse to try to learn.

I ain’t sayin’ that I know everything about poker. Heck no. But I know a good bit and I’m willing to learn more. In addition, I am completely happy to have a discussion or debate which, in this situation, would probably have ended up with the conclusion outlined below; but, I ain’t gonna beat a dead horse to get my point across to someone who can’t or won’t open up their skull a crack to let someone else’s idea in for a visit.

Sadly, and funnily, this person probably thought they “shut me up” because they were so “right” when they said that.

Nope. I just don’t see the point in arguing with idiots, especially through an online chat box with only usernames showing.

The Conclusion:
So, yes. I realize it’s not really kosher to flash your folding hand if you’re not the last to act in a round.
But I’ve done it.
I know a lot of very, very good poker players have done it.
You might get a warning for doing it.
Yes, doing it skirts the line of bad form.
But doing it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) land you immediately in poker jail.

And to recap:

EVERYTHING you do affects the actions after you.

In poker.
In life.