What Does Burn Mean in Card Games?

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By Monica Bates

Have you ever heard the term “burn” used in a game of cards? If you’re new to the world of card games, it can be confusing to understand what this term means. In this article, we’ll explore the meaning of “burn” in card games.

What is Burn?

In card games, “burn” refers to the process of removing one or more cards from the top of the deck and placing them in a discard pile. This can be done for several reasons, such as shuffling the deck, preventing cheating, or creating a new playing situation.

Types of Burn

There are two types of burn: mandatory and optional.

Mandatory burn: In some card games, such as poker, a mandatory burn is required before dealing any cards. This ensures that there is no cheating by peeking at the top card or marking it somehow.

Optional burn: In other card games, such as Magic: The Gathering, players may choose to burn one or more cards from their hand to prevent their opponent from using them against them.

Burn Cards

In some card games, specific cards are designated as “burn cards.” These are usually placed facedown on top of the deck after shuffling and before dealing. The purpose of these cards is to prevent cheating by making it impossible for players to know what the top card will be.

Burn and Discard Piles

When burning a card or cards in a game of cards, they are placed in a discard pile. This pile can be face-up or face-down depending on the game rules. The discarded cards cannot be used again until they are reshuffled back into the deck.


We hope that this article has helped you understand what “burn” means in various card games. Whether it’s mandatory or optional, designated burn cards or discarded cards, this term is an essential element of many popular card games. Remember to always follow the rules of the game and enjoy playing!