Few sights are more impressive than a skillful deal of poker cards at casino tables. Recall your amazement when you first saw poker dealers shuffling cards in a dizzying display. It's truly mesmerizing. Dealing poker cards like a pro is an art, but you can learn it too. Like everything else in poker, all that's required is practice. As a home poker player, you get plenty of hands-on experience as a poker dealer.

That's because home-based poker games have a rotating dealer. The button moves clockwise around the table so that each participant gets a chance to deal the cards. When it is your turn to shuffle up and deal, you want to look the part. That's why we've put together this guide on dealing poker cards. Enjoy!

The Tools of the Trade

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The first thing a poker dealer needs is an appropriate set of poker cards. Whether you're dealing Texas Hold'em, Omaha or another variation, a standard deck of 52 cards will suffice. Depending on the game being played, you may also require one or two jokers. Poker chips are also an essential tool for dealers. Most home games use chips instead of cash to make betting more streamlined. 

Poker chips come in different colours and denominations. A typical set contains white (C$1), red (C$5), blue (C$10), green (C$25), black (C$100) and purple (C$500) chips. To ensure that you place bets correctly, and in turn, it's advisable to use a betting chip tray with built-in slots. This way, players can quickly grab the correct number and denomination of chips they need to place their bets. 

Alternatively, you can use an empty egg carton or cookie tin. Finally, you'll need something to cut the deck of cards with before each hand is dealt. This practice ensures that the cards are correctly shuffled and prevents cheating by allowing players to see the bottom card. A basic kitchen knife will do the trick - just kidding, folks! No knives are required.

Dealing Poker Cards: Step-by-Step Guide

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Now that we have all the resources let's go over how to deal poker cards like a pro: 

  1. Gather all the materials you need: a deck of cards, poker chips and something to cut the deck with. If you're using an egg carton or muffin tin for chip storage, now is the time to set it up too. Please place it in front of you within easy reach so that grabbing chips mid-hand is no problem.
  2. Before each hand begins, it's customary for the dealer to offer a player the chance to cut the deck. The player chosen may be random or based on some predetermined criteria, such as who last won a hand or sitting closest to the dealer button at the time. Once they've had their chance to cut, it's time for you to shuffle up and deal! 

Start by holding the deck in your non-dominant hand with its long side facing downwards and your thumb placed at roughly mid-deck level on one end while your other fingers support from below at about two-thirds down its length. 

Use your dominant hand's index finger(s) and thumb(s) to lift approximately half of the cards above your thumb while keeping them fanned out. Next, move these cards towards yourself until they rest against your palm face down. 

While maintaining this grip on both cards with your non-dominant hand, use your dominant hand's index finger(s) and thumb(s) once again. This time you'll be working from below -to lift approximately half of what remains in the deck of cards resting below your original thumb placement while keeping them fanned out.

Move these last few remaining cards towards yourself until they rest against your palm face down. Both sets should be fanned out evenly in either hand above their respective thumbs, which remain stationary at approximate midpoint down each set's length throughout.  

What About the Button, the Blinds, and the Dealer?

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Previously, we focused on the technical aspects of actually dealing cards by using your hands and the deck. Now, it's important to fuse the physical dealing action with poker rules to ensure that you're performing the right actions. Recall the mandatory bets in Texas Hold 'em Poker games? These are known as the Blinds, but what about the Poker Dealer's Hand? So, when a button is used, the player with the button is last to act. This player is also last to receive cards on the initial deal. The button moves in a clockwise motion around the table. 

Blinds are posted before players sneak a peek at their cards. They form part of the player's bet based on poker position. The Small Blind (SB) is the first player next to the dealer in a clockwise direction. The Small Blind (SB) is generally half the Big Blind (BB). The Big Blind (BB) can be any amount, but it's typically the lower limit for that particular game. For example, if you're playing a C$10/C$20 game, the Small Blind (SB) could be C$5, and the Big Blind (BB) could be C$10. 

Once the cards are dealt, and the blinds are posted, play begins with the player to the left of the Big Blind (BB). This player can either call (match the Big Blind (BB)), raise (increase the bet), or fold (give up their hand and not bet). Play then continues clockwise around the table until all players have either called or folded. If all players but one fold on any given round, then that remaining player wins and play ends for that hand. 

If more than one player remains in play after the final betting round, a showdown occurs where players reveal their hands to see who has won. The player with the highest-ranking hand wins! To become a professional poker dealer, you'll need to learn how to handle chips and money. Players will often buy-in for money depending on what stakes they're playing. 

In general, you'll want to exchange their cash for chips so that they can easily bet without having to count out their money every time. In addition, chips come in different colours so that each denomination is easily distinguishable from others. For example, red chips might be worth C$5 while blue chips could be worth C$25. As a dealer, it's your responsibility to keep track of how many chips each player has and make sure that they're not cheating by adding or removing chips from their stack during play. 

When it’s time to pay players’ winnings, you'll need to know how to count out chips correctly so that everyone gets paid what they're owed. This chip counting process can be tricky when multiple players have different chip stacks, but practice makes perfect!

With digital marketing strategies in his blood Louis Wheeler has traveled around the world, exploring gambling cultures and gaining experience in casino games from 2003. If you are in a casino anywhere around the planet, you may find him right next to you, playing blackjack, roulette or texas hold'em.