Table protocol and the showdown rules

There is a certain protocol that every poker player must adhere to when sitting around the poker table. This protocol keeps the game running smoothly and keeps players friendly and amicable. After all, rudeness and fighting really does take the fun out of the game. When playing Texas Holdem, it is important to keep the following rules of "poker etiquette" in mind.

For starters, when playing at a live poker table it is important not to "splash the pot" by throwing your chips haphazardly across the table. Set your chips quietly down in front of you.

While placing your bet it is important to make sure your hole cards are not exposed to the other players and, on the same token, to avoid looking at the cards of your opponents. Talking about your cards is also looked down upon, whether you are bluffing or telling the truth. Bluffing is not about flat out lying about your hand, it's about using your body language and facial expressions to confuse your opponents. Even after folding you should not discuss your cards and, in fact, players that have folded are not required to reveal their cards at any point.

Aside from keeping your own hand and strategies to yourself, it is important not to discuss the strategies or hands of other players at the table. You do not want to appear to be trying to sabotage another player.

Poker etiquette and protocol are especially important during the Showdown in Texas Holdem. During the Showdown, all players that haven't folded and remain in the game reveal their two hole cards and the winner is determined. The player with the best 5-card hand made up of any combination of hole and community cards wins. If all players except for one have folded than this last remaining player wins and is not required to reveal his hand to the other players. It goes against poker protocol to ask this player what his cards were.

In some instances, two players will share the same hand. In this case, the two players split the pot. Any chips that remain after the pot is split are distributed to the first players after the dealer, in clockwise order. However, if two players share a hand that is made up of less than 5 cards then the extra cards, or kickers, in the hand will be used to determine the winner-he highest kicker card wins.