What is a ‘Misdeal?
A misdeal occurs in casino card games such as poker when an error is made by the dealer when dealing cards to players. There are many ways in which a misdeal can occur, but it must be called before two players have acted on their hands – otherwise, the game must proceed, and no money or chips will be returned to players who lose out in the hand.
If a misdeal is called before two players have acted, the cards will be collected, the deck will be reshuffled, and a new hand will be dealt.
Among the different ways that a misdeal can occur include, but are not limited to: cards being dealt to the wrong player, cards being dealt in the wrong order, the wrong player being assigned the button, extra cards being dealt to players, two or more cards being accidentally revealed by the dealer, and neglecting to burn a card before dealing.
Misdeals are often a source of contrition in poker when they occur, particularly in home games when there is not a designated dealer like there is at a casino, and the players are taking turns to deal the cards. Because casino dealers are professionals who deal thousands of hands a day, misdeals are usually less common at casinos, although they do still occur.
A misdeal must be called before two players have acted on their hand – this means that the small blind and big blind are not considered to have acted, and the two players after them must have moved before a misdeal can no longer be called. In this situation, the players must continue to the best of their ability. While dealing incorrect cards face-down has little impact on the game that the players can use to their advantage, revealing face cards can have a profound impact on the course of the game and the way players act, as they are able to use the knowledge that those cards are no longer in play.