Every now an than we are facing irregularities (not sure if they qualify as "Misdeals"), in our friendly cash Texas Holdem table. I would like to know how to act in each of these occurrences:

  1. Dealer forgot to burn card and showed flop/turn/river.
  2. Dealer showed flop/turn/river prior to full round - there is still one or more player who has to call.

So far our policy was to shove the card back to the stack, shuffle it and continue with the hand. But I'm not certain it's the right way to go.


2 Answers 2


As I often say when these friendly game questions come up, please remember you're not a casino nor a cardroom, you're playing with friends so keep it friendly! So just keep this in mind when deciding what to do to keep the game fun for everyone, mistakes happen. I'll say you can't really have a misdeal after action has happened. This can vary by casino, tournament rule sets or cardroom rules, but generally once every player has received their first card, misdeals aren't call. I've never seen a misdeal be called after money has been put into a pot, ever, you just have to deal with as best as you can.

Q1 - Normally I'd close this but given your second question is not answered I'll leave it open. Your first question is answered here - What happens if the card wasn't burned?

Q2 - You do your best in this situation as it can depend. It happens at some point to any dealer. So if the card has landed on the table after the burn it's a bit late, often I've seen floor just rule that the player who hasn't acted yet gets their action limited to check or call only where the mix up has happened. You can argue that it's not fair to that player, but it's the fairest thing for the integrity of the game at that point as now that person can bet having extra knowledge. Same for other players with a draw, they can either call knowing they hit, or fold knowing they missed. It's just the fairest to limit the action from what I've seen most floors do. The player will have normal actions after that mistake has been dealt with, i.e. if the turn was shown to early, the player can check or call on the flop, then on the turn actions are restored to normal. A caveat for this I've seen was where the turn came out as the player who hadn't finished action said raise, they were bound to a min-raise in the case.

In cases where the dealer is stopped before showing the card, just protect the card until the player has acted.

One thing I'll add to both questions is some decisions I've seen some floors do a few times (granted many years ago now). Example I often saw was flop was fine, but a mistake was made on the turn, either missing burn card or just showed the card too early. So what the floor did was told the dealer, burn for the river (in cases where the turn was placed without a burn, the floor asked the dealer to burn twice to get to the 'true' river), and place the river face down. This helped preserve the 'true' river. Following this the dealer was asked to reshuffle the deck (just the deck, do not include the burnt cards), burn and play that card as the turn.

I think what ever decision you decide to make, make it as a group to what seems the most fair for everyone. It's a friendly home-game, always remember that and always keep it that way when possible.

  • Dear Grinch91, I truly appreciate your thorough answer. Though the reason I consult is to get CLEAR answer, as our friendly games turning "vocal" too often :-) Therefore I'd like to count on a more "pro" insight. Your reference to Q1 just made me more confused as some advised to reshuffle the deck during the ongoing hand as others claimed they have never seen it. on Q2 if I can distill all that had said, I understand that players are forced to pass/call to the shown card but not raise??
    – Droriley
    Feb 15, 2022 at 19:42
  • Well that is a fair point if it is getting vocal. Honestly it varies, it's often dependent on the casino, card room, tournament ruleset and or floor staff. I've seen many different ways as a player and also as a casino dealer. I think as a group decide what you all like the best and that will become your go to ruling in your home game would be my recommendation. For Q2, again it can depend but I've seen that ruling the most often. Equally as much I've seen them maintain the river and reset the turn with a new burn and card. Again find what works for your group and set that as the home rule.
    – Grinch91
    Feb 16, 2022 at 10:11
  • Just remember keep the game fair, keep the game fun and friendly, and in your case where people are getting vocal, get a decision from the group. Next time before you start playing present some options mentioned, see what the group prefers, write it down if that'll help, and set that as the home-rule for your games. Of course then stick to it!
    – Grinch91
    Feb 16, 2022 at 10:13

Casino procedures vary, but they all boil down to doing whatever you have to do to keep the game fair. A few basic principles:

  • Once there is significant betting action on a card or set of cards, they have to stay. So, for example, the dealer puts out the wrong turn card, players bet and call, that card is now the official turn card and all the bets stay. The dealer may make choose to burn an extra card so the river will be what it was, but that's purely cosmetic. Under no circumstances will substantial betting action be taken back and a card replaced.

  • If a card is revealed before betting action is complete, it cannot stay. Again, burns and such may be adjusted to make other cards fall as they would if desired, but what's important is that the early card is rejected and betting must be completed before a new card is shown. A common Hold'em rule is that if the premature exposure is the flop or river, the deck (minus player cards and burns) is reshuffled after action is complete. If the early card is the turn, then it is placed aside, the betting completed, then the card that would have been the river becomes the turn, and the early turn card is returned to the stub, which is reshuffled before the river.

There are similar rules for draw and stud games, specific to their needs, but the basic principles remain the same. A few special cases:

  • In stud games, if a player's final downcard is flipped, he is given the option at the start of the betting round to declare himself all in. If he decines, he is subject to all bets as normal.

  • In draw games, if a player's replacement is exposed, he may not keep it, except in certain lowball games, if the card is one present in the best possible hand (e.g., a 7,5,4,3 or 2 in deuce-to-seven), he must keep it. Under no circumstances can the player or dealer be given a choice.

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