The Situations In Which a Blackjack Dealer Will Burn a Card

Published on December 25th, 2021 1:33 pm EST

The King explains what Card Burning is and how it works in live casinos.Why do blackjack dealers "burn" cards, and which situations require blackjack dealers to burn cards?

First off, let's start with the two main situations where a blackjack dealer will "burn" a card:

1. They are starting a new shoe of cards.

2. They are taking over from another dealer.

In both of these situations, the jurisdictions that they are dealing in will usually require the dealers to burn one card.

Note: burning a card means that they take the top card from the shoe and place it into the discard pile.


Now - why would a dealer need to burn a card?

The main reason - to prevent cheating.

Let's say that you have marked a card and you will be the first person to be dealt a card.

Let's say that before the dealer puts the cards back into the shoe, you notice that one of your marked aces is at the top of the pile.

You know that you are going to be dealt an Ace, so you significantly increase the size of your wager, as being dealt an Ace will significantly increase your chances of winning the hand.

Or, instead of marking the cards, the dealer (who is in on the scam with you) quickly flashes you the top card in the deck, and you significantly increase the size of your wager if the card is an Ace.


In order to prevent this type of cheating from happening, casinos will usually require that dealers who are starting a new shoe or who are taking over from another dealer to "burn" the top card.

If the dealer doesn't show the burn card to the table, this will also help to mess up card counters, who rely on intently counting each card that is dealt to them.