The 42 Steps used when dealing a hand of poker

I was recently asked about what are the 42 steps I was referring to and this post should answer that question.

Special thanks to “Dealer Training” for allowing me to reprint the entire lesson in return for my giving credit and sharing an ad and link to their site.  I still use many of their practice exercises before going to work.


Chapter 6


Lesson 1 – 42 Step Dealing Process

Dealing Hold Em is in essence a process – a series of steps woven together to seamlessly execute an entire hand of poker. This chapter outlines the 42 step dealing process from the start of one hand to the start of the next. Each hand you deal will follow this process.

We begin the hand as if you have just awarded the pot to a player and are starting the next hand. This hand will document the entire process. Remember that some steps may not be applicable every hand.


1. Scramble – during the scramble request blinds to be posted. Confirm the button is in proper position.

2. Square the deck

3. Riffle the deck

4. Riffle the deck

5. Box the deck

6. Riffle the deck

7. Cut the deck


8. Pickup the deck – place it in your left hand in the underhand dealers grip.

9. Tighten the deck

10 . Pitch the cards – start with the small blind and work your way around the table in a clockwise fashion. Continue dealing until each player has two cards. The button receives the last card – except in cases of misdeals or if a card is accidentally exposed.

11. Commence and complete the first round of betting – action starts to the left of the button and moves aroud the table clockwise. Allow the first player a few moments then give a slight nod in their direction letting them know ‘it’s your turn’. If the player still does not respond politely say to them “your action”.

12. The players’ actions will determine your action – a player will take different actions depending on the situation. As one player announces their action it continues to around the table until each player has announced their intentions. During all rounds of betting players will check, bet, raise or fold and you will collect mucked cards, create the muck, announce the action, collect bets, create the pot, create side pots, count bets, cut chips and calculate the rake.

13. Follow the action around the table – everyone should act in turn. Do not forget the blinds on the first round of betting.

14. Announce the number of players still in the hand

15. Tap the table – tap, tap

16. Burn a card

17. Spread the flop

18. Commence and complete the second round of betting

19. Announce the number of players still in the hand

20. Tap the table – tap, tap

21. Burn a card

22. Deal the turn

23. Commence and complete the third round of betting

24. Announce the number of players still in the hand

25. Tap the table – tap, tap

26. Burn a card

27. Deal the river

28. Remove the cut card

28. Place the remaining deck face down in a small fan on top of the muck

29. Commence and complete the fourth and final round of betting


30. Request winning hands to be shown – players are responsible for flipping their own cards face up. Typically a player will take the lead and flip their cards over first. Other players will then either fold or flip their cards up. Send folded hands to the muck immedieatly.

31. Read the board

32. Announce the current winning hand

33. Push the board cards forward to display the winner

34. Muck the losing hand

35. Compare any other live hands one at a time – move the board cards to display the new winning hand. Muck any additional losing hands.

36. Push the pot

37. Flip the winning hand and the board cards face down

38. Move the button

39. Request blinds be posted

40. Drop the rake

41. Collect your tips

42. Thank the player

Repeat the process.

Keeping up with the poker world

English: iPod shuffle 3G back, front and side view

English: iPod shuffle 3G back, front and side view (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I play poker online and at The Poker Room NH, where I also deal poker.

But when I travel back and forth to work, I listen to various poker podcasts.

All of these podcasts are free and I download and sync them to my iPod using iTunes.

The following is a list of the various ones that I listen to and a little bit about them.

ESPN: The Poker Edge

Poker Editor Andrew Feldman brings you the latest news from the poker world and interviews the game’s best players who provide strategy, analysis, and commentary. This can get very lively at times.

The Gamblers Book Club’s Podcast

The host of the podcasts, Howard Schwartz, famed consultant, gambling books historian and figurehead of the GBC, talks about books, and with players, celebrities and important figures in gambling. He interviews the authors and the players and brings great insights into the world of gaming and casinos.

Where GrinderSchool poker instructors talk shop, discussing poker strategy and various other topics. They sometimes interview members to discuss hands and why the players made the decisions that they did.

Poker Action Line:

Hear the latest tournament results and the schedule of upcoming events. Talk strategy and pick up tips to improve your game. Follow the WSOP, WPT, LAPT, EPT and great local tournaments from around the country.

Pondering Poker:

Here excerpts from books being read and information about current poker events as well as picking up some great poker tips.

Rounder’s Radio – Poker Talk Radio

Here a variety of poker related podcasts, some with Bernard Lee, and some with Ace Jones and crew. Great guests and poker related topics and stories are discussed.

And last but not least, my favorite –

Two Plus Two Podcast:

The leading publisher of poker strategy and advantage gambling books brings that same level of expertise and quality to audio. The hosts, Mike and Adam, bring current topics, interview poker players and many others associated with live and online poker. The actual podcast is entertaining and sometimes irrelevant.

Hope that you find some of these interesting and entertaining.

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I am right there – sitting right near you.

Sitting in a chair that both his mom and grand...

Sitting in a chair that both his mom and grandma sat in (Photo credit: rustytanton)

In my previous discussions about my adventures as a poker room dealer for The Poker Room NH in Hampton Falls, NH I mentioned that I am a “work in progress”. I need to deal more and to practice more in order to become the best that I can become.

There are at least 42 steps that must be followed out for every hand of poker that is played. This includes shuffling the deck, cutting the deck, making sure that blinds and antes, if any, are collected prior to dealing out the cards. Then each player is dealt one card at a time, starting with the small blind (the small bet) and ending back at the dealer button, until they each have two cards.

In the early stages of a tournment, there might be as many as three actual players and seven “dead stacks” to deal to at my table. Once every player or dead stack receives their two cards, I must collect back those cards that do not have a live player sitting in front of them and place these cards into the “muck” or stack of non-playable cards face down, beside me. While I’m doing this, I must call the action as it progresses around the table, indicating who is calling, who is raising, who is folding, etc.

I must make sure that the correct total of chips are in the pot and that each player that has change coming back if they did not have the exact amount available when they either called, bet, or raised and were called.

Every step is an opportunity for a mistake to occur and when I first started out, I easily made a mistake in almost every round of play or so it seemed to me. My worst mistake to make was to sweep away players cards that were active but too close to my reach when I was folding the other cards belonging to the dead stacks (chips with no players sitting at the table).

Now when I have a fairly empty table with less than 5 players, I warn them ahead of time to protect their cards or I  might toss them into the muck.

My supervisor recently said to me “you’re improving, Brogan … I am getting less complaints about you”.  I actually took that as a compliment as it is true that our poker players are very vocal in their opinions.

At a recent tournament, I had one player lean over towards a younger female player and tell her to be careful, that the dealer (me)  is  not very good.  I am not sure if  he thought I had ears but I smiled towards him and told the young lady that indeed I am not perfect but we have a whole table of players that will help to ensure that I do everything correctly.

The complaining player busted out of the tournament within 15 minutes of play but I did not warn the young lady that he was a bad player.

Etiquette you know.

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If you don't use it …

Math equation dice d6

Math equation dice d6 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My dad used to quote the old saying “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it” and I am starting to see just how true that is.

Whither it is poker dealing, my new and latest profession, or blogging, or exercise, or just about any other activity you can think off, this seems to be true.

I used to be very good at business math but for the past five years, I  have not had to do any heavy math and certainly not without a calculator. Now, I am required to quickly compute pot sizes, rake amounts, side pots, and a variety of other dealer tasks that requires math. I found that I have to practice math in order to pick up speed and accuracy.

The same is true of the physical aspects of poker dealing. Usually, before I go in to work, I practice at least 15 to 60 minutes doing my shuffling and card pitching exercises. as well as chip cutting and counting.

Physically, I am much better off if I take the time to exercise my body as well. Some light weight lifting involving my hands, arms and upper torso are helpful. Even light walking helps to build my stamina.

It appears that the old adage is much more than just a quaint old saying.

Another saying, along the same line is “practice makes perfect”.

But that goes without saying.



I just said it.

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