Why Wild Hold’em Fold’em Might Be the Worst Casino Table Game

Wild Hold'em Fold'em Top Center With Poker Cards and Chips On The Table Behind It

Wild Hold’em Fold’em is a table game that started entering Las Vegas casinos in the early 2000s. It has since become more popular, spreading to around half of Vegas casinos.

One reason for this game’s popularity is that it offers huge payouts for hands like a natural royal flush and four deuces. It’s also just a fun game to play overall.

However, Wild Hold’em does have one glaring weakness—a 6.86% house edge. If true, this house advantage makes Wild Hold’em Fold’em one of, it not the, worst-paying table games.

I’m going to explain, though, why this game doesn’t pay as badly is it initially looks. But first, I’ll go over the basics of Wild Hold’em if you’re new to it or just rusty on playing it.

Basics of Wild Hold’em Fold’em

This game uses a regular 52-card deck with wildcards. As the name implies, all deuces (twos) are wild and will substitute for other cards to form winning hands.

The Wild Hold’em Fold’em objective is to form qualifying hands. This differs from many table games, where you’re trying to beat the dealer.

You can see the rules for playing hands below:

  • You start each round by making an ante bet (placed in “ante” square)
  • The dealer will deal you three face-down cards
  • You choose whether to bet (worth 1x the ante) or fold. The wager goes in the “bet” square
  • The dealer will deal you a fourth card
  • You choose whether to raise (worth 2x the ante) or fold. The wager goes in the “raise” square
  • The dealer will deal out a fifth card
  • Your hand is evaluated for any potential wins

As for qualifying hands, you’ll receive the following payouts based on your specific hand:

  • Natural Royal Flush: 1000 to 1 payout
  • Four Deuces: 200 to 1 payout
  • Wild Royal Flush: 30 to 1 payout
  • Five of a Kind: 20 to 1 payout
  • Straight Flush: 10 to 1 payout
  • Four of a Kind: 4 to 1 payout
  • Full House: 4 to 1 payout
  • Flush: 4 to 1 payout
  • Straight: 3 to 1 payout
  • Three of a Kind: 1 to 1 payout
  • Two Pair: 1 to 1 payout
  • Pair of Aces: 1 to 4 payout

The distinction between a wild and natural royal flush is that the latter doesn’t contain any wildcards. A natural royal is harder to obtain and, thus, pays much more.

Wild Hold’em is a unique table game in that it provides the chance to get five of a kinds. This hand offers the fourth-highest payout among the bunch.

What’s the Listed Wild Hold’em Fold’em House Edge?

The Wild Hold’em Fold’em house edge is listed at 6.86%. Put in terms of return to player (RTP), you’d only be looking at 93.14% RTP. No matter how you slice it, Wild Hold’em seems like an unfair game.

Poker Hand on Table with Chips

Sure, a 6.86% house advantage is acceptable for land-based slot machines. It’s hardly what you’d expect, though, from a table game. This is especially true when considering that you must use strategy to play optimally.

How Does This House Advantage Compare to Other Table Games?

Almost every table game provides a lower house edge than 6.86%. Here’s a look at where Wild Hold’em Fold’em ranks when compared to other games:

  • Blackjack – 0.3% to 2.0% house edge
  • Baccarat – 1.06%
  • French Roulette – 1.35%
  • Craps – 1.36%
  • Three-Card Poker – 2.01%
  • Heads-Up Hold’em – 2.36%
  • Casino War – 2.70%
  • European Roulette – 2.70%
  • Sic Bo – 2.78%
  • Pai Gow Poker – 2.84%
  • Let It Ride – 3.51%
  • Caribbean Stud – 5.22%
  • American Roulette – 5.26%
  • Wild Hold’em Fold’em – 6.86%
  • Big Six – 11.11%

Keep in mind that some of these games require strategy and/or certain bets to play optimally. Nevertheless, you can see that Wild Hold’em is almost at the bottom based on its listed house advantage.

What’s the Real House Edge for This Game?

The commonly listed Wild Hold’em Fold’em house edge only covers the ante bet. Of course, if you’re playing with any sense of strategy at all, you’ll be making subsequent wagers after the ante.

Assuming you follow the strategy that’s covered later, you’ll be risking 2.13 units per hand. The house edge when considering the average number of units wagered per hand is 3.23% (or 96.77% RTP).

This figure is less than half of the listed 6.86% house advantage. With that said, Wild Hold’em isn’t quite as bad as it initially seems.

Evaluating Where Wild Hold’em Ranks Among Table Games

Here’s an update on the rankings for table-game house edges based on the information discussed above:

  1. Blackjack – 0.3% to 2.0% house edge
  2. Baccarat – 1.06%
  3. French Roulette – 1.35%
  4. Craps – 1.36%
  5. Three-Card Poker – 2.01%
  6. Heads-Up Hold’em – 2.36%
  7. Casino War – 2.70%
  8. European Roulette – 2.70%
  9. Sic Bo – 2.78%
  10. Pai Gow Poker – 2.84%
  11. Wild Hold’em Fold’em – 3.23%
  12. Let It Ride – 3.51%
  13. Caribbean Stud – 5.22%
  14. American Roulette – 5.26%
  15. Big Six – 11.11%

You can see that Wild Hold’em Fold’em still ranks in the bottom half of table games. Nevertheless, it at least moves up a few spots when considering the true house advantage.

You Must Know Wild Hold’em Fold’em Strategy to Play Optimally

This game feels more worth playing when considering that it features a 3.23% house edge. However, you won’t get anywhere near this figure if you don’t know proper strategy.

Pot-Limit Omaha Poker Cards on a Table

You need to know which hands to bet with or fold when holding three and four cards. The following advice shows how to handle these situations:

You bet with three cards when holding the following hands:

  • Any hand that contains a deuce
  • Any pair
  • Any three of a kind
  • Three cards to a flush, including at least one ace
  • Three cards to a straight flush
  • Fold everything else

You raise with four cards when holding the following hands:

  • Any hand that contains a deuce
  • Any pair
  • Any two pair
  • Any three of a kind
  • Four cards to a straight
  • Four cards to a flush
  • Four cards to a straight flush
  • Fold everything else

Is Wild Hold’em Ultimately Worth Playing?

Even when factoring in extra bets, Wild Hold’em Fold’em doesn’t provide the absolute-greatest chance to win among table games. Nevertheless, its true 3.23% house edge is at least respectable. Of course, you’re going to want additional reasons to play this game besides a mere-respectable house advantage.

For starters, this game provides the chance to win large payouts without making side bets. You’ll find side wagers on some Wild Hold’em tables, but you don’t have to place them and risk additional money to win big.

Secondly, Wild Hold’em is an interesting way to play poker. If you’re tired of Texas Hold’em, or even other house-banked games like Caribbean Stud and Three-Card Poker, then Wild Hold’em is worth trying.

It provides an interesting mixture of strategy and big payouts. You won’t win the latter very often. Luckily, though, you can pick up many small payouts when using correct strategy.

On the downside, Wild Hold’em Fold’em isn’t the best-paying game out there. A 3.23% house edge is unimpressive when considering that blackjack, for example, can feature a 0.3% house advantage.

You also have to use strategy to achieve the 3.23% figure. Compare this to baccarat, where you only need to bet on the banker hand to achieve a 1.06% house edge.

I’m not throwing out these downsides to sway you from playing Wild Hold’em. Instead, I just want to present the other side so that you have all the information.

Is Wild Hold’em Fold’em Really Worth Playing

Wild Hold’em Fold’em doesn’t pay as badly as it first looks. Its listed 6.86% house edge does not provide all of the information. Instead, this game offers a 3.23% house advantage when the average number of bets are considered.

Of course, a 3.23% house edge isn’t inspiring for a table game, especially when strategy is required. However, you might still find some charms to this game.

For starters, Wild Hold’em offers large payouts. You can win as much as 1,000x your bet without having to make any side wagers.

You might also appreciate that this game is different form other poker variations. If you’ve tried all of the rest, then you should consider Wild Hold’em Fold’em for a refreshing break.