word type: noun
- The card that is removed from the top of the deck, face down, before either dealing the three-card flop or the turn and river.
The card referred to as "the burn card" is the one that has been discarded from the deck before dealing the flop, for example. This card is set aside to show that a burn card has indeed been removed from the deck. The term burn refers to the action of removing a card when dealing.
The burn card's main reason for existence is to foil cheaters. Some cheaters will mark the backs of cards, so discarding the top card prior to dealing will reduce the advantage someone would get from knowing what that card is from its markings. Other cheaters will do what is called "second dealing," which is dealing the second card in the deck, rather than the first, in order to save the first card (which is known to the dealer) to be dealt to a specific player. By burning the first card, that known card is eliminated from play.
In some games, such as Seven Card Stud, it is possible, though rare, to run out of cards before the hand is over. In these instances, burn cards can be put into play.
Some online poker deals involve a burn card and some don't. It doesn't matter, since marked cards and second dealing are not issues in the virtual game. Don't get your panties in a bunch over it.