In Texas Hold’em and Omaha, the dealer discards the top card on the deck, face down. This face-down card is called the “burn card.” The dealer will burn three cards during the course of the hand.
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The first card burned will be prior to the delivery of the flop, the second prior to the turn, and the third prior to the river. In a Seven Card Stud game there will be four burn cards, one each for fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh streets. These burn cards are not exposed; they are spread out face down so they can be counted and are kept separate. Burning a card helps prevent the top card of the deck from accidentally being exposed.
If a dealer does expose a card during the initial deal, he first completes the deal and then replaces the exposed card with the burn card. The exposed card is placed face up on top of the deck for all players to see, and is used to protect the deck and replace the burn. The exposed card is treated just like a burn card. After the betting, and before the next cards are delivered, the exposed burn is placed face down in the burn pile.
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