How To Deal Cards In Poker
Tuesday, 15. December 2009

If you are going to be playing poker or hosting poker nights, sooner or later you will likely be pushed into dealing duties. Being a dealer means a lot more than wearing a green visor, though. The dealer leads the game, handing out the cards, shuffling the cards, and setting down rules. In cases of disagreement or problems, most players turn to the dealer to get things back on track.

One of the first things you will have to learn as a dealer is to shuffle a deck of cards well. You don’t want to fumble or take forever to shuffle. If you are really stuck with shuffling, you can always buy a shuffling machine, but these do not provide great results unless they are good quality and they often are a clumsy addition to a game. Thankfully, learning to shuffle is not that hard. To begin, divide the deck (also called “cutting the deck”) in half and hold each half in each hand, keeping the backs and fronts in the same direction. Now, shuffle the cards from one hand to another to mix up the order the cards were in. Cut the deck in half again and place the two piles of cards on the table in front of you. Taking the top, right corner of each deck, bend it up and move the two stacks of cards together before letting go of the corners. The idea is to get the cards to flap back down on each other. Push the two piles together to create one deck again and repeat the whole process until you are certain that the cards are all mixed up. With practice, this will become an automatic movement.

Besides shuffling, there are a few other tips that the would-be poker dealer needs to remember:

•Do make sure you understand the rules of each game. If you are playing stud games, you will need to deal some cards face up and some face down. Do make sure that you are clear on how you should be dealing each card and when. If you are playing 5-card draw, you will need to deal all cards face down. Not knowing how to deal or dealing when there should be a round of betting going on creates problems and often forces the game to begin again, which is annoying for anyone.

•Don’t throw cards at players. Sure, you may see it done in the movies or in casinos, but in a casual game, the most important thing is that cards are dealt well. That means that they should not be thrown so that they flip wrong-side up as they sail through the air.

•Do set down the rules of the game before dealing. It is customary for the dealer to announce the game being played, the betting rules or limits (if any) and to state any “house” rules such as “cards on table at all times” before starting. That way, everyone is playing with the same understanding of rules.

•Don’t be too uptight. A dealer is not a referee. As a dealer, you are not expected to provide tips or regulate every detail of the game. No one likes a nosy and busybody dealer, so be sure to relax and have fun whether you are dealing or just playing.

•Do give the person to the right of you the option of cutting the deck before you shuffle. This is customary and is a way of ensuing the cards are cut properly. If the person to the right of you refuses, cut the deck and shuffle so that everyone can see the process.

•Don’t ignore position at the poker table. No matter where you sit at the poker table, the person to the left of you will start the game (betting) in most cases.

Do realize that in poker, it is often the dealer’s call as to which game is played. If you are eager to try a version of poker, you have your chance to announce the game when you play dealer.

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