The following interesting case was presented recently. Here it is re-posted anonymously along with procedural suggestions from TDA board members Jan Fisher and Matt Savage
Hello TDA, Great to correspond with you again. I had a Floor Call in my weekly tournament last week and was interested in your opinions with regard to TDA rules. The situation: 4 players call to see a flop with no raise. 6 players have mucked. Dealer burns top card and proceeds to peel off three cards from top of deck to flop, however... Player in pot says, "Dealer, you didn't pull in my chips." Dealer stops, pulls in chips to pot and proceeds to accidently push the three unseen flop cards into the muck to the point they were irretrievable. Dealer proceeds to peel off three more cards from top of deck, stops, reconsiders, and then calls me over to make floor ruling. What would your ruling be here? Thanks, [name withheld]
This is an unfortunate situation. Are any of the three cards that should have been the flop retrievable? Even in the wrong order? Is the burn card identifiable?
Alternative 1: I'd take the [three mucked cards, if retrievable] and as many cards as are known to be pure (as in not having been discards) and reshuffle them and put out another flop. If the burn card is intact, I would not burn again as we know that card was not to be in play so I wouldn't shuffle that in. I'd also counsel the dealer to pay better attention. This is still random card theory and while the players are going to whine and complain, in the long run, whatever you do won't make a difference. It will hurt/help a player in a negligible fashion in the long run.
Alternative 2: You also could (although this takes more time and quick thinking) take the three new flop cards and use the 1st and 3rd since they would have been the turn and river cards... and then reshuffle and complete from there. Personally I think this takes more explaining but the reality is that this disrupts the flow of cards the least but is the most complicated. My 2c. Interested to hear what the other TDs say.
Good answer Jan, I would add that I would NOT use the 3 mucked card(s) at all if unidentifiable and just move on from the stub.