Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em is perhaps the most popular new table game in land casinos. It is slowly and quietly taking the place of older poker-based games like Three Card Poker. Backed by the marketing power of Scientific Games, who corner the market on card shufflers, it isn't just a U.S. game any longer but is popping up all over the world.
As usual, most Internet casinos are about twenty years behind the times in what is popular in the gambling world but 3 software companies, Amaya, SG Gaming and Evolution Gaming has bothered to set foot in a land casino to see what table games people are playing these days. They are the only provider, to the best of my knowledge, to offer this popular land-based game.
The basic idea of Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em is that it is you against the dealer in Texas Hold 'Em. You get one chance to make a raise bet, the earlier you do so, the more you can do it for. The main downside is you're forced to make a Blind bet, which rarely wins. All things considered, with the correct strategy, Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em is one of the best bets in any casino. The house edge depends on how you define the term, but if measured as the ratio of money lost to the Ante bet only, it is 2.18%. However, measured as the ratio of money lost to all money bet, it is only 0.53%. Few blackjack or video poker games get that low any more.
The strategy is complicated, just to warn you. It wouldn't be a stretch to guess that the game is profitable for casinos due to player error. In observing people play in land casinos, I can confidently say that very few players have any clue how to play properly. That is why I'm here.
The first decision point, before the flop, is the only one set in stone. You should make the 4X raise with any of the following:
- Any pair, except deuces
- An ace with anything.
- A king with either any suited card or an unsuited 5 or higher.
- A queen with either a suited 6 or higher or unsuited 8 or higher.
- A jack with either a suited 8 or higher or unsuited 10 or higher.
Things get more complicated after the flop and even more so after the river. However, our sister site Wizard of Odds gives some easy rules of thumb for the medium and small raise decisions that are almost as good as optimal strategy. The cost in errors, compared to optimal strategy, relative to total money bet, is only 0.05%.
Whether you're looking for one of the best bets in the casino or to try a fun new game, don't be surprised if Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em becomes your next favorite game. It can be a little confusing at first, just to warn you. Feel free to play for fun with the wizards trainer before risking your hard earned money. Then, after you understand the rules and the strategy -- have at it. You can thank us later.
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