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Why Do Blackjack Dealers "Burn" Cards?

If you've ever played blackjack at a casino or slots site, you may have noticed the dealer "burning" a card before dealing the next round. They take the top card and place it straight in the discard pile. 

It's a move that can leave many players scratching their heads if they are not familiar with it. In this post, we'll explore the reason behind this practice and how it plays a crucial role in the blackjack game. 

Why Do Dealers Burn Cards?

The practice of "burning" a card in blackjack is a security measure put in place to prevent cheating. Before the start of a new round, the dealer takes the top card from the deck and places it in the discard pile, or "burn" pile. 

That is done to prevent any players or dealers from potentially marking or manipulating cards during the previous round. But how does this prevent cheating? 

By removing the top card from the deck, the dealer ensures that any marked card is removed from play and cannot be used to gain an unfair advantage. Additionally, by not showing the card's value and placing it in the burn pile, the dealer makes it more difficult for players to keep track and count cards that have been played. 

Note that the burn card is not used in the current round of play. Instead, it is removed from the deck and discarded, it rejoins the deck for the next round following a shuffle, and a new burn card is taken.

How Important Is The Burn Card In Blackjack? 

While the burn card may seem like a small detail, it plays a crucial role in maintaining the fairness of the game. 

Players tracking cards can lead to an unfair advantage for them and ultimately harm the integrity of the game. Burning a card can also help prevent card counting and other advantage play techniques by removing a card and keeping its value hidden. It also allows the casino to remove a potentially marked card.

By "burning" a card, or a number of cards, at the beginning of the deck, it makes it harder for players to have an accurate count of the cards that have been played and the ones left in the deck, making it harder for them to gain an advantage.

Therefore, burning a card is a quick and easy way for the casino to disrupt card tracking and counting.


In conclusion, the practice of "burning" a card in blackjack serves as a security measure to prevent cheating and maintain the integrity of the casino game. It also helps to prevent players from using advantage play techniques like card counting. 

While it may seem like a small detail, the burn card plays a crucial role in ensuring fair play for all players. So next time you're at the casino and see the dealer burning a card, you'll know it's an essential step in maintaining the game's fairness.