You are the Tournament Director Series 4: The Rivercard is Face Up
This one was sent in by David Tkeshelashvili.
There is a 5/10 NLH cash game. The flop and the turn card are dealt correctly and bets are completed. The dealer discards the burn card to deal the river card but the river card is face up in the deck. Does this river card go? Is it a foul deck? How would you rule?
The exposed card is to be disregarded and the next card will now become the river card.
If a card is face up in a deck it is always a dead card and will be replaced by the next card in the deck and the hand is played to completion.
The face up card on the deck is considered in poker as a “boxed card.” Boxed cards are treated as non-existent and should be discarded into the muck as a dead card. After discarding the boxed card into the muck, the subsequent card on the deck should be dealt as the new river card and action continues as normal.
We call that a box card. The river card is burn because we can considered that the card could have been seen by any players during the shuffle. I would tell the dealer to deal next card to be the river.
The face up card is treated as if it were a scrap piece of paper and discarded. The next available face down card becomes the river and action carries on as normal.
This one appears very easy. A card face up is treated as a piece of paper and will be discarded.
The Mob Verdict
You could quite easily be forgiven for ruling that as the card was not seen by any player until the moment it was to be dealt that it makes no difference and the boxed card stays as the river card. However it is important to ensure a fair a game as possible and there is always a chance that someone could have seen even just a flash of the card. Just knowing the colour, or whether it is a face card or not, could be such a huge advantage that it is important to have a rule to protect the players.
All six of our tournament directors agree on this one that the boxed or upturned card it disregarded and treated as if it wasn’t there. The rule is clear, fair and consistent, so who are we to disagree.
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