Ultimate Texas Holdem is a casino-banked version that uses Texas holdem trappings for its game-play cues. The big difference between Ultimate Texas Holdem and “real” Texas holdem is that you’re not competing with the other players.
Instead, you’re competing with the dealer. Compared to a real poker, Ultimate Texas holdem strategy is relatively simple.
You start by making an ante bet and a blind bet. You also have the option of making a side bet on trips.
This post explains the best Ultimate Texas Holdem strategy for all these bets. It also includes advice on when it’s a smart move to raise.
The Rules for Playing Ultimate Texas Holdem
Here’s a quick overview of the rules for playing Ultimate Texas Holdem:
You start by placing an ante bet and a blind bet. You also have an optional bet you can place called the trips bet.
You get two cards, and so does the dealer. You get to look at your cards and decide if you want to make another bet called the play bet. The size of that bet must be 3X or 4X the ante bet. Your other option is to check, which means you’re still in the game, but you’re not adding to the amount of money you have in action.
Then the dealer flips over three cards in the middle of the table – the flop.
If you checked on the previous betting round, you can make a play bet now of 2X the size of the ante. If you made a play bet on your hole cards, you do not get to bet at this point.
Then the dealer flips over two more cards in the middle of the table – the turn and the river are combined in Ultimate Texas Holdem.
If you checked on the previous two betting rounds, you can now make a play bet. You can also fold, which means you forfeit your ante and blind bet. If you’ve already bet, you cannot bet again.
And you cannot check at this point in the game. You must either fold or make a play bet. The final play bet must be the same size as your ante bet was.
Ultimate Texas Holdem Payouts
At that point, the dealer determines whether or not she opens. She needs at least a pair to open.
If the dealer opens, and you have the higher hand, you win the ante, blind, and play bets.
If the dealer opens, and the dealer has the higher hand, you lose the ante, blind, and play bets.
If the dealer does not open and also has the better hand, you lose your blond and play bets, and the ante bet is treated as a push.
The ante bet and the play bet both pay off at even money. In other words, if you have $20 on the ante bet and win, you get $20 in winnings. The same is true of the play bet.
The blind bet, on the other hand, pays out according to the pay table:
|Royal flush||500 to 1|
|Straight flush||50 to 1|
|4 of a kind||10 to 1|
|Full house||3 to 1|
|Flush||3 to 2|
|Any other hand||Push|
The trips bet pays off regardless of whether you win or lose against the dealer. This bet and payoff is based exclusively on the ranking of your final hand.
The pay table varies for the trips bet from casino to casino. The house edge on this bet varies from 0.9% to 6.2%. If you can find a pay table that pays off at 9 to 1 for a full house and 7 to 1 for a flush, that’s the best possible pay table for the trips bet.
That’s a low house edge, so it’s worth making.
As far as strategy for the trips bet goes, you just decide whether you place the bet or not.
The Strategy for Winning at Ultimate Texas Holdem
The only strategy for Ultimate Texas Holdem is whether you want to raise or not and when. Keep in mind that the dealer never folds, so you’ll never raise just to try to drive her out of the pot. You’ll only raise when it’s to your advantage to do so.
Hole Card Strategy
The first decision point is when you just have your hole cards. You’ll always raise the full 4X if you have any pair better than a pair of 2s. You’ll also make that raise any time you have an ace.
If you have a king, you’ll raise most of the time. If you have a 2, 3, or 4 with the king, you only raise if you’re suited. Otherwise, raise.
As the cards get lower in ranking, the less often you’ll raise. If you have a queen, you’ll only raise if you have a 6 or higher, and if you have a 6 or 7, your cards must be suited to raise.
If you have jack, you’ll raise if you have an 8 or 9 suited or a 10.
Those are the ONLY hands you’ll raise with.
Any other hand should result in a check.
You’ll raise 2X on the flop if you have any hand that consist of 2 pairs or better.
You’ll also raise if you have a pair where one of the cards is your hole card – excluding 2s.
You’ll also raise if you have a flush draw where one of the hole cards is a 10 or higher of that suit.
Any other hand should check.
Turn and River Strategy
At this point, you’ll only raise if you have a pair with one of your cards in the hole.
You’ll also raise most of the time if you have a hand where you think you can win. At this point, you should count the number of outs the dealer has.
If the dealer has a lot of cards that will give her the winning hand, you should fold. And, by a lot, I mean 20+ cards that would cause her to have the better hand.
The House Edge in Ultimate Texas Holdem
The casino house edge varies according to which bet you place. The ante and blind bets both have a high house edge, but the play bet – when combined with appropriate raises – has the tendency to win more than it loses.
When you account for all of this, the house edge for Ultimate Texas Holdem is only 2.19%, making it one of the better table games in the casino.
But keep in mind a couple of things:
Also, the house edge for Ultimate Texas Holdem assumes you’re raising at the appropriate times. Many players fumble with the strategy for the game, which can easily add 3% to 4% to the house edge for the game.
Ultimate Texas Holdem is still a better choice than many table games, and it’s always a better choice than a slot machine.
If you learn how to play video poker well and can recognize a good pay table, you can find video poker games with a lower house edge, too.
Some of the decisions going into whether you decide to play Ultimate Texas Holdem involve intangibles, too. One of those is how much fun you’re having while you play. Another is whether you like gambling with other people in the nearby vicinity.
Some people enjoy the social aspect of playing casino games with other people.
Others prefer the relative solitude of slot machines and video poker.
These are considerations for you to account for when deciding whether to play Ultimate Texas Holdem or some other casino games.
Ultimate Texas Holdem is a cool casino card game with a surprisingly low house edge. It’s worth learning how to play if you like the trappings of poker but don’t want to compete with other poker players. It’s also worth learning if you like table games but are tired of blackjack.
The strategy for the game is easier to learn than you might think, too. The most important aspect of the strategy for Ultimate Texas Holdem is the decision you make with your hole cards.
The other rounds are also important, but the first betting round is the one where you get the most bang for your buck.