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Boxed Cards Definition

Rules of a Boxed Card

by Jesse Knight
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Boxed Card
Boxed Card - A card face up in the deck. By rule a boxed card is dead and disregarded, and replaced with the next card off the deck.


Occasionally, while the dealer is scrambling and shuffling the deck in between hands, one or more cards will accidentally be shuffled face up into the deck. Shuffle machines will also do this from time to time. A card that is shuffled into the deck face up is called a “boxed card.” Usually, a boxed card will be discovered while the hand is in progress, when it is on the top of the deck. Rules have been developed to deal with this situation, and those are different from rules regarding unintentionally exposed cards.

In most games (excepting stud), the dealer is required to replace down cards that he unintentionally exposes (not a boxed card). To do this, the dealer completes the deal, and only after the deal is completed, replaces the exposed card with the next card off the deck. This keeps everybody else’s hand from being altered.

A boxed card is treated differently. A boxed card is completely disregarded. It is removed from the deck and placed in the muck. The dealer gives the player who would have received the boxed card the next card off the top of the deck, rather than completing the deal and then replacing the boxed card. There is a logical justification for this different treatment. An exposed card was, at one time, in play. Because the card was exposed it must be replaced, but there is an obligation to keep the other hands untouched. To do this the dealer first delivers all hands as they would have been, and then replaces the exposed card, altering only that one hand. A boxed card, on the other hand, was never in play. Because of this, it is placed in the muck, and disregarded. Because a player cannot receive a dead card, the next card off the top of the deck is delivered instead. Since the boxed card was never in play, no hand is altered.

In situations where more than one boxed card appears, the entire hand may be ruled dead, or a misdeal.

Previous Poker Term: Box
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