Ruling! #3 – Three Hole Cards

By Kelli Mix | June 11, 2009

The Scenario

In a nine-handed game, four players limp in, so player eight decides to limp in without looking at his cards. Player nine, who is short-stacked moves all in. A sequence of betting occurs and four players are all-in. It is then that the number eight player looks at his cards and realizes he has three hole cards, not two. There was a 3 of diamonds stuck to the back of the second hole card. What happens to player eight’s hand? What about the flop? Should the dealer use one of the misdealt cards as the first burn card?

Kelli’s Ruling

It is the player’s responsibility to check his cards and announce when an error has occurred that the dealer is unaware of, such as being dealt three cards. This must be done before there is betting action on the hand. Even though it was apparently an oversight, there is still action on the hand and the number eight hand should be killed by the dealer. This player is not eligible to win any portion of the pot, nor is he entitled to a refund.

The dealer may be tempted to use one of the three cards as a burn card so that the board will not be compromised; however, the deal has already been compromised since player eight got one of player nine’s cards and player nine got one of the board cards. Using one of the misdealt cards as a burn card will not correct this mistake. Therefore, after killing the hand with three cards, the dealer should burn and turn all board cards in a normal fashion. Play should continue for other players in the hand.

At the conclusion of the hand, the dealer of course should use a new deck since the existing deck has some sticky cards.

By Kelli Mix

Kelli is the author of the 'Game Day Poker Almanac - Official Rules of Poker'. She lives in Carrollton, Georgia, where she is the state director for the Poker Players Alliance.


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