I know this is going to be a tough one to convince people to change, but I'm going to try anyways because it is a pet peeve of mine...
The most common approach for dealing with situations when there are enough cards to deal out a Stud hand (Stud, Stud 8, Razz, Razzdugi) comes from RROP:
RROP Seven-Card Stud #15
If there are not enough cards left in the deck for all players, all the cards are dealt except the last card, which is mixed with the burncards (and any cards removed from the deck, as in the previous rule). The dealer then scrambles and cuts these cards, burns again, and delivers the remaining downcards, using the last card if necessary. If there are not as many cards as players remaining without a card, the dealer does not burn, so that each player can receive a fresh card. If the dealer determines that there will not be enough fresh cards for all of the remaining players, then the dealer announces to the table that a common card will be used. The dealer will burn a card and turn one card faceup in the center of the table as a common card that plays in everyone’s hand. The player who is now high using the common card initiates the action for the last round.
The WSOP uses a slightly simpler rule, where a count is made to ensure that each player can receive a card before 7th (or 6th) street is dealt, allowing for a burn card and leaving a card in the stub. If there aren't enough cards to do this, but adding the burn cards will provide a sufficient amount of cards, then cards are dealt until the last card, which is then mixed with the burns, and cards are then dealt without burning. If adding the burn cards would not yield enough cards, however, only then is a community card used.
My proposal is to simplify this rule - If there are not enough cards left in the stub to give each player a card and to deal a proper burn and leave the last card in the stub undealt, then a community card should be used. In other words, the burns should NOT be put back into play.
Not only would this procedure be simpler, but I believe it is better for game integrity. I understand that in Stud games, reshuffling the burn cards back in was considered desirable since it would introduce "fresh" unseen cards back into play... but in my view, the burns are the least protected cards on the table (e.g. they are out of the direct control of a dealer or player for a very long time, they are more easily exposed during the deal, etc.), and therefore once cards are taken out of play as burns, I believe they should be left out of play
. Any reason that brings them back into play can raise a security issue, IMO. Also, not using the burns would be more consistent with common draw games rules -- in draw games, typically (although the newest version of Thomas McGee's ROPE appears to make an exception) the burn cards are not reshuffled back in if there are not enough cards to complete a draw, even if introducing the burn cards would allow the draw to be completed.
Anybody have thoughts on this? Anyone care?