I've often wondered about this: why is the dealer button called the dealer button ? The player that is on the button is just that: a player; not a dealer.

Maybe this name is because of historical reasons. The best explanation I can come up with is that, in the past, the player on the button will also act as the dealer.

Does anyone have a more precise or better documented explanation about this ?


4 Answers 4


The dealer changes every hand in games that don't have a dedicated dealer. It is the way poker began. The button represents who should be dealer when there isn't a dedicated dealer.

Dedicated dealers are only used for convenience, they are in no way a specified part of the game. I suppose they're used online just to keep things simple, with cards coming from one source. In live games dedicated dealers are faster and better at dealing than the average player.

  • The button represents who should be dealer when there isn't a dedicated dealer. ????? Oh man that sounds maybe real for you but its not. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Button_%28poker%29 just read why there is a dealer. Commented Dec 17, 2013 at 15:23
  • @RayofCommand from your article: "dealer button is a marker used to indicate the player who is dealing or, in casino games with a house dealer, the player who acts last on that deal (who would be the dealer in a home game)". One player is always the dealer; dedicated (or house) dealers just deal on behalf of that player. That player (the real dealer) is last to act, because the action starts from the left of the dealer (SB, BB and then UTG/first-to-act).
    – Dom
    Commented Dec 17, 2013 at 15:30

In a casino (or any other poker game with a professional dealer) the dealer will deal every hand, however they are actually dealing for the player, who would normally be dealing if they weren't there. In games like Texas Holdem, the dealer moves clockwise one person every hand so that each person will experience the advantages/disadvantages of their table position. The dealer "button" is simply a token which makes it easy for everybody to know who either is the dealer, or would be the dealer if the professional wasn't there.


In home games, the player with the Dealer button deals out the cards.


The "button" represents two things:

1) The "dealer" in the sense of the person who deals the cards.

2) The person who "acts last," so the deal begins on that person's left.

In a casino, there is a "house" dealer, so none of the players actually deal.

But the house dealer has to know who is supposed "act last," and start the deal on that person's left. The button is what helps him keeps track of this.

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