word type: adjective

  1. Term describing cards that are discarded face down before the flop, turn, and river.
  2. Discarding a card before dealing the flop, turn, and river (verb).

Purpose of Burning a Card

Cards are burned before dealing in order to slow down cheaters, card markers in particular. Those who mark the cards and therefore know what the top card of the deck is before the cards are dealt will have their advantage seriously damaged by having that top card burned. Yes, information about what card will not be dealt has value, but not nearly as much value as knowing that the card has been dealt and to whom.

Burn cards can also deter "second dealers," who secretly deal the second card from the deck, leaving the top card in place. By knowing what the top card is, second dealers can use their cheating skills to avoid giving it to certain players. If the top card is burned, that knowledge flies out the window and second dealing becomes pointless.


If there is a mis-deal, the most common example being when the dealer accidentally exposes a card, the mis-dealt card will be used as the burn card. There will not be a second burn card after the mis-dealt card. Before being put into the burn pile, that card must be placed face up on the top of the deck and shown to all of the players at the table so that nobody has an unfair advantage.

Related Terms

Flop, Turn, River, Board, Muck