Worst Dealer Mistakes

2 years ago
Top Dealer Mistakes
17:56
12 Jul

(Photo: Evolutiongaming.com)

We all make mistakes, but for some reason we don’t easily accept accept human error from people like politicians, football referees, or our good friends, the poker dealers. We expect high standards from these people and when mistakes happen we judge them pretty harshly. In the heat of the moment, anyone can make a mistake and in this article we will focus on poker dealers and look at some of the common errors you will encounter and some anecdotal examples where the dealer became the story.



As the dealer’s main job is to deal the cards you will often encounter misdeals. Before you go psychotic, take a moment to bear in mind the various mitigations that exist. If a dealer deals a card face-up by mistake, they complete the deal then replace your face up card with the next card. The exposed card then becomes the burn card. Some casinos will insist on a full reshuffle, so if you get dealt AA and a new deal must occur, that’s a different sort of bad beat, but you will just need to move on. Ask about the rules regarding misdeals before play begins so you are prepared for the very rare moment where the dealer makes an error.

Let’s look a few examples. 2+2 forum user “Psandman” reports this meaty dealer disaster.

I'm playing in a $4-$8 limit game, and I am dealt a Q5. I fold my hand and tune out to the hand. The dealer puts up a flop and the guy next me starts telling me my cards on the flop. So at first I'm thinking that I must exposed my hand to him and now he is telling me I would have hit the flop. I look up and see a 5 on the flop. Not really interesting ..... but the guy is now getting more vocal and assertive about my cards being on the flop ..... So now he explains ..... when I folded my hand the dealer scooped them up on top of the deck ... he literally meant my cards WERE the flop.....


So the play is stopped and the floor called ..... guy tells the dealer what happened and I tell the floor that I had the Queen of hearts and if the guy is correct the burn will be the Queen of hearts. Floor flips up the burn .... sure enough Q Hearts.


I think it was the dealer's first day, and I had noticed a commotion earlier at another table with this dealer. The Floor sent the dealer home immediately (I later saw the dealer in the room so he wasn't fired).”

This is a crazy story, but I wonder if the player affected would have been quite so vocal if the 5h had helped his hand! Who knows? One common theme you will see amongst the stories is how the floor managers and management deal with the commotion that ensues once the dealer has made the error. Quite often the problem is exacerbated by confused and panicky floor staff as, if the error is quickly sorted out, it is less memorable.



Sometimes though, the error brings about real confusion and if you think the above story is complicated, try working this one out! Even as I read it for the fourth or fifth time I had to really think before I had an idea of what I would do if I was the floor manager here. Have a read, what would you do?

Over to 2+2 poster “Bmurph”.

I didn't "see" this one happen, but i had to deal with the aftermath: tourney is playing the last hand before break, the player in seat 6 has folded his hand and left the table. the players in seat 4 and 7 wind up getting all in. the player in seat 7 wins.

When everyone returns from break, the player in seat 6 comes back to a seat with no chips.

Upon some investigation, it turns out that when shoving the last pot to seat 7, the dealer included the chips from seat 6.

(Of course, the push had gone through during the break, so the dealer who caused the error was no longer at the table, just to make matters even more difficult.)”

Rather him than me! I’m sure the player in seat 6 felt pretty sick when he returned from the break to find his stack had vanished. The moral of this story is to wait until play has finished before leaving your stack and bag it up if possible. Bmurph later posted how he resolved this matter, which was pretty sensible and utilised the resources like CCTV available to him to get things as correct as possible following the unfortunate mistake.

Upon gathering info from the players, we determined the best approximation of the chip stack that was in front of seat 6. Surveillance was called and was able to confirm that the missing stack indeed resembled the amount that we came up with. Those chips were then cut out of seat 7's stack and put in front of seat 6.”

At least no-one suffered an injustice in this case. I wonder why player 6 had not counted his stack before they left the table. This is always a good idea so maybe the dealer was not the only person to make a mistake in this case.



In today’s final example, forum user “bluechip49” describes what I think is a common occurrence of a winning hand misread.

I'm in a tournament and have KK. The flop comes 984 rag. Villain pushes all in, I call. He turns up 84 for two pair. Turn gives us a 7 river a 9 counterfeiting and giving me KK997.

Dealer brings my stack in, sizes it, gives me change and pushes the pot to the smaller two pair.

I loudly stopped him and after a minor argument was awarded the pot. The villain was knocked out but remained watching the table, glaring at me until I was moved to the final table. Dealer had no apologies, just shrugged his shoulders and dealt another hand.”

I laughed when I read that the player glared at our hero simply because he had eventually put the situation right. The villain, despite being the recipient of chips due to an error remained upset that a mistake was rectified because the error benefited him. It is also interesting that an argument broke out which shows people are very slow to acknowledge that a mistake could have been made. This and the many other stories of dealer errors shows that mistakes can and do happen.

Like Football referees in soccer, dealers are an essential part of poker and we should always remember to treat them with respect. Dealer abuse is unacceptable, even when they make a mistake. The more poker you play the higher the chance you will encounter a mistake by a dealer, whether the mistake is in your favor or not. Accept that mistakes happen and move on. Don’t sit quietly though if you see a mistake made, tell the dealer and ask the floor for a ruling. Errors are best put right so the results at the table remain fair for all concerned.


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Malcolm comes from Consett in the North East of England and is an avid poker player and writer.Read more

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