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Say you were a beginner in poker and the showdown comes and you lay down your hand as KK proposing to go with pair of kings. The cards on the table are TJQA4. The suits are such that you could have a royal flush.

Assuming an opponent has a hand that is better than a pair of kings but worse than a royal flush, do you win because your hand can form a royal flush, or do you lose because you didn't notice the royal flush and tried to go with pair of kings?

In other words, do you choose how to play your hand in the end, or is the most valuable combination of cards automatically and involuntarily chosen?

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In other words, do you choose how to play your hand in the end, or is the most valuable combination of cards automatically and involuntarily chosen?

What a player claims to have, is irrelevant. The one and only thing that matters in deciding a player's hand is what cards that player may use. The one and only claim of a hand that matters is putting the cards face-up on the table.

This is often known as cards speak (i.e. "the cards speak for themselves").

Allowing players to declare a hand which is suboptimal would open the game to all manner of collusion and nonsensicality.

Assuming an opponent has a hand that is better than a pair of kings but worse than a royal flush, do you win because your hand can form a royal flush, or do you lose because you didn't notice the royal flush and tried to go with pair of kings?

The player with the royal flush has a royal flush. No other player can have an equal hand, and no other player can have a better hand. Therefore, the player with the royal flush (holding KK) wins the hand and any pots they are part of.

  • So in short, in Poker you only control how much you bet and whether or not you fold, and when. Your hand you ultimately have no say in. – temporary_user_name Jun 25 '17 at 15:49
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    @Aerovistae: This is the case for most casino-playable table games - they're usually easy to play (yet possibly complex), require minimal action other than betting, and as much as possible is handled by the dealer. – TheThirdMan Jun 25 '17 at 17:32
  • At any time, you have only four choices: wait until it is your turn to act, fold, call, raise. Everything else is either automatic or dependent on other player choices. – Nij Jun 29 '17 at 5:18
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Cards Speak

In many hands the player does not even announce the hand. It is up to the dealer to determine the winning hand.

rules of poker

Cards speak (cards read for themselves). The dealer assists in reading hands, but players are responsible for holding onto their cards until the winner is declared. Although verbal declarations as to the contents of a hand are not binding, deliberately miscalling a hand with the intent of causing another player to discard a winning hand is unethical and may result in forfeiture of the pot.

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