Determining the First Dealer and Selection of Seat Positions

A usual preliminary activity for starting a new round or game of card games is determining not only the first dealer but also the specific seating positions for the individual players. This is usually the initial event at any card game and should occur before any actual play begins.

Determining the first dealer and the players' seating positions:
In some card player circles, particularly amongst players that may play together on a regular basis, the determination of seats and the initial dealer may not be an issue with these seating positions predetermined or players having uncontested preferred seats. However, in the event that there is any dispute over the seat positions or the identity of the first dealer, special rules can be used to help determine this. These rules are also especially helpful with groups of players who have not played together before.

There are a number of different methods to determine this initial dealer and seating positions for the players. Many games have specific methods for doing so, but below are given several generic methods which can be used for virtually any card game.

Alternate Method of Dealing with Ties when Drawing In the methods given above for determining seats and first dealer, if two or more players draw a card of the same numerical face value, the cards can be the further ranked based on the suit of the card. However, at some tables, the players may opt instead to use a redraw method instead. Using this method, any players drawing cards of the same numerical rank would set these aside and draw another card in the proscribed manner. If any of these players again draw identical cards they would make another draw, continuing until the drawn cards were not of the same numerical ranking. If, when drawing a new card, the player drawing obtains a card identical to someone else at the table who originally did not have a card matching anyone else, the player drawing the card must draw another card, but the original player retains his originally drawn card.

Uneven Number of Players In some cases in which a game calls for an exact number of players, there may be more individuals than player slots allowed for in the game. This can be handled in a number of ways, dependent on the number of additional players wanting to participate in the game and the game to be played.

Other Information:
After the first hand is completed, the deal should rotate around the table, although generally the player seating positions do not change during the course of the game. However, after a complete game, any active player may call for a new determination for current dealer and specific seating positions, using the same procedures as used originally for determination of these new seating positions and the first dealer.

In some games, rather then determination of a specific first dealer, there may instead be similar procedures to determine the first player. The same methods as described above can be used to determine this. In this case, this person would be the first to receive cards and would also have the privilege of making the first play during the hand. The first dealer would thus be the player immediately preceding the first player in the current rotation. The dealer would thus be the player to the first players immediate right in a clockwise rotation or the player to his immediate left in a counterclockwise play rotation.

In any case where a games rules provide specific instructions for selection of seating positions or determination of the first dealer, those instructions should take precedence and be used rather than any generic instructions given here.
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