“My Bad”-Dealer Mistakes

I’m in the process of dealing out a hand and I give the button his first card and come around to give him his second card and the first one isn’t there. Dammit, the drunk guy next too him took his first card thinking it was his. Even though it wasn’t close to his spot he still reached over and grabbed it. Most times I can keep a peripheral eye on something like this to prevent it, but not in this instance. I say “bring ’em back guys, misdeal”. The 5 seat gets pissed and flips his Jacks over and says I’m off his Christmas list. That’s pretty harsh. I used to say well that guy grabbed his card, but it doesn’t really matter anyways so I just say “my bad”.

Last week I put the turn out and say “4 players”, check, check, bet, call, fold, fold, I look and don’t see any other cards on the table besides the bettor and caller, I get a twinge that something feels funny, but I shake it off and burn and turn the river card. The 5 seat says ” wait I haven’t acted yet”, he then puts his cards back on the table that he had in his hand, held against his chest. WTF are you doing? “FLOOR”, burn and turn I tell him, the 5 seat folds anyways, but the river card has to come back and now a new river card will be put out because the action wasn’t complete. The bettor fires all in on the new river and the other guy calls. Bettor wins. The caller made 2 pair on the river and may or may not have called the losing hand either way. He says “shit happens”. I don’t burn and turn very often but its usually because something weird like that happens, sometimes I’m just not paying full attention. Again I say “my bad”, not that it makes the situation any better, but I messed up, no matter how much it is my fault or not, it’s still my fault.

In the card room we had a regular get burn and turned out of a $600 pot that he would’ve won and made sure that he told every dealer that because of so and s0’s mistake he wasn’t tipping any of us until the $600 added up. Again, rather harsh, but what can we do, except accept it. Sometimes people don’t understand what goes on when a mistake is made and I will explain a few examples of how things are corrected when a certain mistake is made. Some of the rules are different in different casinos.

1. Misdeals- When a player that is entitled to a hand doesn’t get dealt in. (If someone is dealt in that isn’t entitled to a hand, it’s just a dead hand and not a misdeal).

-When one of the first 2 cards off the deck are exposed when dealing everyone a hand it’s a misdeal. If any card after that is exposed, we just finish dealing and give them the would be burn card, and use the exposed card as the new burn card. That way the original board will be intact. If 2 cards are exposed during the initial deal it’s a misdeal. If a card is exposed by a player on accident, it’s his fault and must play with that card. If a card goes off the table, it’s an exposed card.

-If someone gets too many, or not enough cards it’s a misdeal. Unless there is significant action, (some casinos define it as 1,2 or 3 actions on a hand before the player calls attention to his fouled hand) then his hand is dead and play continues. Big blind doesn’t realize he only has 1 card until action gets back to him, sorry dead hand and you forfeit your big blind. Always make sure you have the right amount of cards, right away.

-If I deal 2 too many cards off the deck its a misdeal, kept going past the button. If only 1 extra is dealt I just put it back on top.

-If a card is boxed, meaning face up in the deck, and dealt out it is not a misdeal and that card is treated as if it never existed and the next card in sequence replaces it. If 2 cards are boxed in the same deal it is a misdeal.

2. Burn and turn-This one is a serious offense and I’ve seen dealers fired for too many of these. When a flop, turn or river is put out before action is complete.

-If  the flop is put out before action is complete, the player(s) finish acting on their hand and then the whole stub(cards in the dealers hand) are shuffled with the old flop, leaving the original burn card there and then putting out 3 new flop cards. If a dealer puts out 4 flop cards, sometimes this is treated the same way. I’ve seen some places flip all 4 over, mix them and choose 3 as the flop and the 4th as the next burn card, that way the natural turn and river come out in order and most of the original flop will still be there.

-If the burn and turn is the turn, the card will be set aside. The player(s) will finish acting on their hands, and then the natural burn and river card come out now as the turn card. After turn action is complete, the stub and accidental turn are now shuffled and a new river is put out, no burn, because all 3 burns are already in place. I’ve put the same card, that I shuffled back in, out as the river one time. Crazy shit.

-If it’s the river card, player(s) finish acting on their hand and the stub and burned river are now reshuffled and a new card put out as the river.

Since all the players know what would’ve happened had the dealer not burned and turned, you can see why people can get extremely upset because they probably lost the pot because of it.

Some less often seen mistakes are:

-Putting out a flop in a stud game. Sometimes we deal a few different games a night.

-Dealing 7th street up in stud, instead of down.

-Dealing 4 cards each in a hold em game, thinking it’s Omaha.

-Dealing an up card in hold em, rather than the flop.

-Taking a players hand that isn’t protected.

-A player throwing out a chip, intending to raise, or bet a certain amount, he verbalizes it BUT I didn’t hear it. If no one else around you hears it either, it’s just a call or a bet of that chips denomination. Make sure the dealer knows your intent, always.

-Pushed the pot to the losing hand. Sometimes the cameras can see the hand, sometimes they can’t. Always clearly table both cards.

-Moving the button too many spots or not moving it at all. If it’s noticed before significant action on the next hand, it’s just a misdeal. If it’s not noticed, then in the case of not moving it all, I guess  you paid the big blind twice. Should’ve said something. Moving it twice usually happens when someone moves the button for me and I move it again by instinct. If it’s not noticed, the next hand the button will actually go back to the spot it was supposed to be for the previous hand. And then moved twice the following hand.

-All kinds of side pot goofs, and counting down stacks will all different denominations. Our math skills can take a brain fart now and then, have to refocus and fix it.

Just remember we aren’t perfect and try our hardest not to make mistakes. If I burn and turn one time a year out of 60,000 hands with 120,000+ betting rounds, that’s not bad. If I expose one card a night, probably the ace you would’ve gotten, out of the 3600? Again not to bad. “My Bad”.

If you have any weird dealer mistake stories or want to know what should happen when a mistake is made leave it in the comments below.

Brought to you by Your Poker Dealer

10 thoughts on ““My Bad”-Dealer Mistakes

  • December 28, 2014 at 5:46 am

    There’s a dealer at the Excalibur that flips over a card intended for the #9 seat at least once every half hour. It hits one of those little signs that says what table it is or explains the rake. Literally….once every time she sits down, she hits the sign and flips a card….super annoying.

  • December 28, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Ever seen a 4 card flop in a stud game? Did that one time on the 11th hour of my double.

  • December 29, 2014 at 5:14 am

    1) So this is fun…. in a PLO game with a Mississippi (Button) straddle I’m pitching the 4th card to the button (one hand after a 2-boxcard misdeal) and the small blind aggressively tosses all 4 cards into the pitched card. 4 cards land face up and he then reaches out and flips the 5th one up stating that this card was his card. I shook my head in disgust and declared it a misdeal. Would you have done anything differently?

    2) Another bizarre situation…. SB BB 1 Mid-position player and button call a significant raise and reraise preflop to see a 4 – way flop (same PLO game). As I burn to put the flop out Mid-position guy abandons his hand (he stood up and took one step back to open his wallet to tip the waitress!) and our “you can’t do that your hand is dead” guy grabs it to muck it. The sloppy muck goes right through the flop of 888 and a single card is exposed, the case 8 of course. There was an immediate argument about whether his hand is dead or not as he was using a card protector. Needless to say there were choice words used and almost a fight as well as disagreement on which 8 didn’t belong in the flop.


  • December 29, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    1) I was playing a WSOP circuit event at Harrah’s Southern Indiana. I was getting short stacked and needed to make a move. My second card flies through the air and hits something and flips over. Ace. Dammit. I look at my other hole card. Ace. Double dammit! The hand got wild, and if the Ace hadn’t flipped over, I’d have quadrupled up. As it was, I went out a short time later, very unhappy with the poker gods.

    2) I was playing in a $1/2 NL cash game at the Par-A-Dice casino in East Peoria, IL. Twice in one night dealers made a bad pitch to me and exposed an Ace. Both times the other hole card was an Ace. What are the friggin odds of that happening?

    3) Once at Bally’s Las Vegas a dealer made a bad pitch and exposed my second card – a Queen. The look on my face when I looked at the other hole card told the dealer my unfortunate luck. The flop, of course, brought a third Queen. The look on the dealer’s face was priceless. As luck would have it, someone was determined to chase the nut flush and hit it on the river. I would have lost a big portion of my stack. When the hand was over, I flipped the dealer a redbird. This poker is one heck of a game that we play!

  • January 13, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    This mistake is my favorite and always gets laughs from the players…

    While dealing tournaments, after bringing in the antes, several times I have put out a flop (out of habit after bringing chips to the middle) without having dealt the players their hole cards. They all look around and get confused thinking, “Wait, did I fold?” LOL Then they realize what happened, start laughing as I turn bright red from embarrassment.

    • January 13, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      Do you leave the deck on the table until you bring in the antes, and then cut, pick it up and deal? This usually reminds me to pitch cards after the cut.

  • November 20, 2015 at 2:40 am

    lol the guy: “wasn’t tipping any of us until the $600 added up” must be the same one from my room.

    High Hand of the Hour promotion, table breaks, everyone cashing out, high hand guy leaves the room during the commotion. We try to pay him, we even announce his name- come back to the poker room… no response. Floor and I say fuck it, and close down for the night. Next day, the guy shows up and makes a stink over his $50. We had to call a shift manager over to authorize payment.

    He used the same threat: I’m not tipping till i take down 50 pots

  • November 28, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Playing a tournament at Borgota, Blinds are 150,300. I’m in the 8 spot. pre-flop prior 4 callers (seat 3,4,5,6) 7 folds, My action I go all in, I put my Cards at the Rail and push 7000 in, I announce all in. Dealer picks up the Chips to confirm 7000 and announces All in, (cards at the rail no protector on them) I Leaned back and stretch my neck, By time my head came back down, The 9,10,little,Big, 3,4,5 had Folded and My Cards were gone. I instantly called out where did my cards Go? Play stopped and the only seat 6 had not acted.
    Dealer admitted he grabbed my cards by mistake. The Floor had a hell of a time, I did not expect them to take my word or dig in the muck, But would like to Know what the ruling should have been,

    • November 29, 2015 at 7:18 am

      Straight from the TDA rules:
      60: Accidentally Killed / Fouled Hands
      A player must protect his hand at all times, including at showdown while waiting for the hand to be read. If the dealer kills a hand by mistake or if in TDs judgement a hand is fouled and cannot be identified to 100% certainty, the player has no redress and is not entitled to a refund of called bets. If the player initiated a bet or raise and hasn’t been called, the uncalled amount will be returned to him. If a hand is fouled but can be identified, it remains in play despite cards exposed in the process.


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