I understand the purpose of burning the cards - so that one cannot possibly use any marks to see the next card in deck. But in home games, sometimes the dealer will forget to burn a card on the flop, turn or river and everyone will shout at them. Sometimes the shouting is timely and the to-be-burnt card is not shown, but sometimes it's too late and the to-be-burnt card is shown to everybody. Should we discard the card and use the next one or once it's shown we should stick with it and potentially fine the dealer? Are there any established rules/customs on this?

  • If you trust your playing partners the burn is irrelevant. I enjoy pissing one of my mates off by refusing to burn :-)
    – Laurie
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 1:10

6 Answers 6


If the card is known, you fix it if no action has taken place. If action has taken place, you continue the round using the card.

You might also consider just letting it lay and play always, because you can never be quite sure the dealer actually did not burn. Unless someone happened to see them not burn it is never really clear.

Note if you're on the flop or turn, you still fix the deck by burning so that the sequence remains as shuffled.

This is the way it is going to be ruled in most casinos by experienced floor people.

You continue action if there has been any action, any action including just the first player checking, because any action has given players in later position information that may give them an unfair advantage because of the mistake of the dealer. So you play it out as though the card seen is the correct card. This is OK because even though the card is not the correct card it is still a random unknown card, meaning it does not affect any players statistically.

Another answer said you shuffle the deck, that is wrong, you do not shuffle the deck.

  • This is a nice answer. But can you provide any references? Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 13:16
  • 1
    Yes, I can. I have thirty years in the poker industry, including shift supervisor, consultant, dealer, player. The general outlines of burning I stated here are the same everyplace I have worked and played. They are the same as I have put in place in the poker room I worked as a consultant to help them define the rules. You may want to try a search online for "Hilton Poker Room Rule Book" they have a section on burn cards.
    – Jon
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 13:33
  • I agree that this is the way most casino rulings will be, but I disagree that it is the most sensible solution in home cashes, which the asker explicitly mentions. My opinion is that even if no action has been taken, the exposed card should be used anyway. The chances that any player has been looking at the burnt card prior to the mistake is minimal, since such mistakes are rare, and home game players have little interest in such a small advantage. Furthermore, in rare occasions where the existing pot is huge, shuffling the deck is a reasonable compromise to avoid hard feelings.
    – Yang
    Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 0:12
  • "you can never be quit sure the dealer actually did not burn" - You should be able to be sure of this, as burn cards should be kept separate from any other cards during a hand, including the muck and the board.
    – 3N1GM4
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 12:59
  • @3N1GM4 lots of things happen to burns, players muck into them, dealers burn into the muck etc. ideally good procedures are followed but not always.
    – Jon
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 0:06

I dont think there are any hard and fast rules to be honest.

I have seen some places where they burn 3 cards pre flop and then 1 on the turn and river.

If you notice in time then i believe the etiquette is to swap the card for the next one in the deck. If its not spotted in time I believe the hand is played out as it is (but this may vary from casino to casino)


If no actions have taken place on the hand, the correct way to handle this is to place the card back into the deck, shuffle the deck, and correctly burn and turn the next card.

  • 2
    I've never seen nor heard of reshuffling the deck. Any casino i've ever been to doesn't do this. They just make others aware of the exposed card, still use it as a burn card, and then deal the normal sequence.
    – Toby Booth
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 11:13
  • It's not common practice, nor is it part of the casino's rules on how to handle it, but it is the perfect way to randomize the remaining cards in the deck, which means it's the "correct" way to handle it. Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 21:28
  • The cards are already randomized by the first shuffle so doing it again seems of little use. I suppose its reasonable either way.
    – Toby Booth
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 9:42
  • 2
    The cards are un-randomized when a card is shown that is not meant to be shown. By randomizing the cards again, you essentially roll back the mistake. The card shown now has a 1/48 (or whatever) chance to come again, just like every other card. Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 13:14
  • Down voted, there is never a need to shuffle the deck.
    – Jon
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 10:26

I agree with Gaz Winter, I don't think any rules are official here.

When I play homegame with friends, if this kind of mistake happen, then the card that should have been burnt is pulled out (I prefer let the card visible I don't put it back in the deck, like that all players can see it) and you place on the table a 4th card, the one that should be on the flop (if it happen on flop stage ofc).

  • 3
    The only thing I don't like about leaving the card "up" is that it could seriously affect the odds of the hand. Consider you have a high pair with an A on the board. If the "oops" card were an A, then you have gained SIGNIFICANTLY from the revealed card. <br> if the card were to have simply been used it would have only removed some of the "faux randomness" that burning promotes. Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 20:46
  • @ChristopherLates Burning cards isn't used as a randomizing factor. It's to stop various methods of card finesse/cheating.
    – Toby Booth
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 11:16

It sounds like you should just stop burning cards in home games since they cause grief without meaningfully affecting the game otherwise.


The considerations are these:

(1) Everyone must have equal information. The fairness of the game is paramount. (2) Once betting action has taken place, cards stand as dealt. (3) If at all possible, the cards dealt should be the same ones initially destined from the shuffle.

Standard casino procedure is this: if the burn card is shown, and this is discovered before any betting action, then the dealer announces it, shows the card to everyone, burns it, puts up the proper card, and moves on. If there is betting action on the improper card, it stands, and the dealer will burn an extra so that the next round's card will be the same as destined.

If the 3-card flop contains the first burn, and the dealer is not 100% sure which it was, the flop stands, and the next card is burned, leaving on top of the deck the proper next burn. If the dealer can reconstruct the proper flop, he must, and the extra exposed card is shown around and burned. Again, if the is betting action on the improper flop, it stands, and an extra card is burned to make the turn and river cards as destined.

The bad case is when betting action on the flop is not complete before the dealer reveals the proper turn card. In that case, the exposed card is set aside, betting action is completed. The dealer burns again, and places for the turn card what would have been the river card. The exposed card is then added to the stub (no burn cards), which is re-shuffled, so that the river card will be new (but possibly could be card shown early). An early-exposed river card is treated similarly.

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