You’ve just finished work after a long and tiresome week, it’s Friday night, and you’re looking for a way to unwind and entertain yourself. You’ve sent out a couple of messages to a few group chats, and the next thing you know, you find yourself in the casino with some friends looking to kick-off the weekend properly.
After a few spins of the roulette wheel and playing some slots, you are now with a group of punters around Ultimate Texas Hold’em table.
Everyone’s having a great time, so you put some cash on the table to get in on the action. Then all of a sudden, you have just realized this is one of the casino games you’ve never played before, and you haven’t a clue what to do!
But do not fret because if you stick to the end of the article, you’ll have all the confidence in the world knowing what to do when you next rock up to play Ultimate Texas Hold’em.
What is Ultimate Texas Hold’em?
You’ve definitely heard of Texas Hold’em, so you’re probably wondering what Ultimate Texas Hold’em is.
You wouldn’t be wrong to assume that there are some similarities between Ultimate Texas Hold’em and Texas Hold’em you would have seen on TV.
However, one big difference between the two is that you’re now playing the house rather than other players around the table.
What were once your enemies on the poker table are now your friends.
So before playing, you have to recognize and understand that Ultimate Texas Hold’em is a casino game. Be aware that it is a game of chance and that the house will have an edge against you when you are playing.
You will be glad to know, however, that compared to other casino games, the edge the casino has is somewhere between 1 and 2 percent.
This makes it a relatively fair game for players as compared to other online casino games such as ‘The Big Six Wheel’ and slots where the house’s edge can be a lot bigger!
How to play Ultimate Texas Hold’em and the rules of the game
So now you know that Ultimate Texas Hold’em is a casino game that has similarities to poker. Now the next step is getting familiar with the rules and how to play.
If you already know poker hand rankings, then you are already in good stead of having a basic grasp on the game. If you’re unsure, familiarise yourself with the rankings until you can recite the order off the top of your head.
As already mentioned, in Ultimate Texas Hold’em, you’re only playing the house, not the other players. Don’t think that your hand needs to beat everyone else’s at the table; you only need to beat the dealer. The actions of other players have no bearing on whether you win or not.
To start the game, you need to wager two bets; the Ante and the Blind.
Now don’t worry. Both of these bets will be the same size, so for example, if your casino is running a $5 game, then both the Ante and Blind bets will be $5. Simple, right?
Like in most casino games and online casino games, there’s the option to place side bets, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em is no different.
There is a third (optional) bet you can place, and this additional bet is called ‘Trips.’ This bet pays out if your hand is three of a kind or better, and the amount you can win depends on what odds your land or online casino offers.
You’ll be able to find this out on the table, or if you’re still unsure, ask the dealer, and they’ll explain it to you. Now unlike the Ante and Blind bet, you’re usually able to wager whatever amount you like, up to the table maximum, of course.
Now that you have placed your bets, it’s time to get your cards. All the players and the dealer get two cards, which will be dealt face down. Once you have you got your hole cards, you can take a peek to see what hand you have, but make sure not to flip them over, exposing your cards.
You’ve now got your hole cards and seen your hand; you need to know what to do next. You’ll be able to do one of three options:
- Check – doing this passes action until the next betting round.
- Bet 3x the Ante
- Bet 4x the Ante
If you choose to do one of the betting actions, you won’t have the option to make any more bets during the hand. The dealer will then deal the flop, turn and river, these are known as the community cards.
Now that the hand is finished, you flip over your cards face up (showdown), and if your hand ranks higher than the dealer’s then you’ve just won your first ever hand of Ultimate Texas Hold’em – time to put all the casinos on notice that a shark is in town!
But what happens if you opt for option one and decide to check instead?
Well, if you choose to check your action, the dealer will then deal out the three cards that make up the flop. Now that you have seen the community cards, you can choose to do one of the following.
You can either check your option again or bet 2x the Ante.
By choosing to check again, the dealer will then deal the turn and river, and now you’re in the final betting round.
If your hand is complete garbage, you now have the option to fold your cards, or if you feel that you have made a hand that can beat the dealer, then you have to bet 1x the Ante to go to the showdown. Checking isn’t an option here.
Ultimate Texas Holdem – Getting To Know Payouts
As you can tell, this game isn’t too complicated and pretty simple to follow, as the dealer does most of the work.
One thing you should take away from this article so that you don’t look like a complete novice when you next play Ultimate Texas Hold’em in a land-based or an online casino is having a basic grasp of how the game plays out.
It may seem a little tricky to understand at first, but trust me, you’ll get to grips with the structures quite quickly.
Ways to win in Ultimate Texas Hold’em
For you to win a hand of Ultimate Texas Hold’em, the dealer needs to make a qualifying hand. This means that the dealer must have made a pair or better. If the dealer only has a high card hand, Ante bets are returned to players, and that’s that.
As you now know, when you start the hand, you place an Ante and Blind bet. Unless you’ve folded, you would have made a ‘Play’ bet of at least one Ante by the time it comes to showdown (when everyone flips over their cards).
You make a ‘Play’ bet anytime you make a bet after placing your Ante and Blind bets. These bets will go on the ‘Play’ section on the table.
So if the dealer has made a qualifying hand and your hand beats the dealer, you get a payout. The payout is 1:1 on the Ante and Play bets you have made.
To put this in plain English, if you placed a $5 bet for the Ante, you get your $5 bet back plus $5 from the dealer. If you had $15 bet on the Play section, then you get that $15 and $15 from the house for winning the hand.
Winning the Blind bets
With Ante bet you placed at the start of the hand, you also made a Blind bet.
If you beat the dealer with a pair, two pair or three of a kind your Blind bet is just returned to you along with your winnings from the Ante and play bets you made.
However, if you’re fortunate enough to beat the dealer with a hand that is a straight or higher, then you’re in for a treat!
There will be a Blind bet payout structure on the table that will tell you how much you win. Traditionally the payouts are as followed:
- Straight – 1:1
- Flush – 3:2
- Full House – 3:1
- Four of a Kind – 10:1
- Straight Flush – 50:1
- Royal Flush – 500:1
By beating the dealer with one of these made hands, you could be in for a very nice Ultimate Texas Hold’em session. Also, don’t worry if you beat the dealer with a weaker hand than a straight, you’ll just get your Blind bet back (a push).
Winning on Trip bets
You may remember that you can make an optional ‘Trips’ bet. This bet pays out when you beat the dealer with three of a kind or better, and like the Blind bet, the payout you receive depends on the hand you make. So if you make one of the following hands, the Trips payouts look like this:
- Three of a Kind – 3:1
- Straight – 4:1
- Flush – 7:1
- Full House – 9:1
- Four of a Kind – 30:1
- Straight Flush – 40:1
- Royal Flush – 50:1
Now, the rule of thumb for playing optimally is not to make these bets because the house edge on these is around 1.9%. However, if you’re there for a fun session and not too serious about winning or losing, then they can add another dimension of excitement to the game.
Ultimate Texas Hold’em in online casinos
If you prefer playing on online casinos, then it’s very likely you’ll see a progressive jackpot when playing Ultimate Texas Hold’em online.
This is another additional wager you can make and only pays out if you make a royal flush using all three flop cards and your two hole cards. If you make a straight flush rather than a royal, you’re usually looking at a payout of 10% of the jackpot.
This might actually fill your pockets if you are particularly lucky.
Ultimate Texas Hold’em Strategy
It’s no secret that luck plays a huge factor when playing in a land-based or on an online casino. But just like in casino games like blackjack and baccarat, you can implement strategies that look to increase your chances of winning.
One of the easiest things to study when playing Ultimate Texas Hold’em is having a strong pre-flop strategy. This will help you know when to make a Play bet or to check your option once you start a new hand. So for the optimal pre-flop strategy, you should:
- Raise to 4x with all hands containing an Ace
- Raise to 4x with K5o+ and K2s – K4s
- Raise to 4x with Q8o+ as well as Q6s and Q7s
- Raise to 4x with JTo and J8s and J9s
- Raise to 4x with all pairs of 33 or better
I’d always recommend making a 4x Ante bet as making a 3x Ante bet achieves very little.
If you decided to check pre-flop, then you now have the chance to make a 2x bet, or you can simply opt to check again.
Some easy steps to follow that should help you make more informed decisions are:
- When you make a hidden pair (when you pair a hole card with a community card), have two-pair or better or a flush draw. (A flush draw is when you only need one more card of the same suit to make a flush). If you have any of these, you should make a 2x bet on the flop.
- On the river, bet 1x if you have a hidden pair or better or if the dealer has fewer than 21 outs that can beat your hand
Final Thoughts – Try Ultimate Texas Hold’em In Online Casino
If you’re a traditional poker player and you’re not a massive fan of casino games, then you should give Ultimate Texas Hold’em a try. It can make for some great fun if you’re waiting for a seat on a table to open up in a poker room.
Even if poker wasn’t your game to start with, but its something you want to try, then Ultimate Texas Hold’em could be a start for you in understanding poker hand rankings as well as familiarizing yourself with really basic pre-flop strategy.
Now you have (hopefully) an understanding of the game, it’s time to take your place at the table and get involved in the game that you always see people having a good time playing.
But if you’re still a bit iffy, there’s plenty of apps where you can play for play money to practice your skills or you can try blackjack or other casino games.