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Verbal Declaration

What is a ‘Verbal Declaration’?

In poker, a declaration is when a player announces some information to the whole table, such as their intention to fold, their intent to raise and the value of that raise, or the cards they hold at the showdown. A verbal declaration is when the player says out loud what they wish to convey, rather than simply placing their cards down on the table or throwing their chips in the pot. Verbal declarations on decisions are usually binding.

‘Verbal Declaration’ Explained

A verbal declaration in poker occurs when the player tells the table something about their cards or their next decision, using words rather than actions. Placing chips on the table or laying cards down counts as a declaration, but a verbal declaration is often faster and clearer, preventing misunderstandings.

There are various points in a game when players declare how they wish to act. This includes calling out when they want to raise at the preflop or make an extra blind, and announcing any raises, calls or checks when the turn comes round to them. Players must also declare whether they wish to draw and how many cards they want, and they should declare that they are folding when they put down their cards for the dealer to collect.

In games where there is a split pot to hi/lo rules, players should declare whether they are competing for the high pot or the low one as soon as they have decided the direction to set their hand. This usually happens early in the game when the first cards have been seen, but if a player holds a ‘two-way hand’ – one with potential to be high or low – then the declaration might come later in the game once the hands have been improved with the flop or the draw.