Definition of Burn Card

In many card games, not just poker, the burn card is the first playing card dealt from the top of the deck. The dealer discards, or 'burns,' that card, which means that it goes unused by players, and often goes into the muck or similar.

Typically, the dealer deals the burn card facedown, and the players never see it. If the game uses a discard pile, the burn card sits alone next to it rather than in it, especially in card games where discards can come back into play.

Definition of Burn Card in the game of poker - What does it mean?Burning is most common at casinos, and the casinos use it to deter card marking, a form of cheating. In modern casino environments, that form of cheating, however, is rare, but burning the top card continues on as a tradition.

In poker, the casino dealer generally burns the deck stub at the start of each betting round. This approach prevents the players from using card markings read in the previous round to their advantage in the upcoming round.

In poker and other card games, dealers also burn in order to prevent 'second dealing,' whereby the dealer manipulates the cards by never dealing the top card. This is very rare in modern professional environments.

A dealer will also burn a card whenever an irregularity occurs. For instance, if there's a misdeal, the dealer will burn the card(s) and deal again. The difference with this type of burn is that the dealer displays the burned card(s) to the players after the deal. This occurs because it is possible that some players saw the card(s) during the misdeal.


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