How to Play Ultimate Texas Holdem Poker
With Texas Holdem being such a hugely popular game, it is no surprise to see casinos create a version of this that you can play against the dealer. There are enough elements of the original game (hole cards, multiple betting rounds) to recreate that Holdem feeling, and some big payouts for the top poker hands.
This page walks you through a hand of Ultimate Texas Holdem Poker from start to finish, explaining the rules along the way. This is based on a live casino version of the game – though online things will be even easier. You’ll click buttons instead of using real chips, and your actions will be shown by the software at each juncture. Below the main rules, you will find information on some of the common side-bets which go with this game.
Ultimate Texas Holdem Rules
Before play begins each player posts two bets of equal size, the blind and the ante. As you will see, there is an option for posting more bets, though these are the only two which are necessary.
Next the dealer deals two cards to each player, from her left to right, one at a time. The dealer will also take 3 cards, placing these face down in front of her.
Players then check their cards and decide whether to bet. There is an option to bet up to 4 times the amount of your ante. The correct strategy is to do this with all hands containing an ace, all hands with kings (only if suited if the side-card is less than 5), queens with a 6+ side card (again, suited only for Queen-6 or Queen-7, any suit above this) and Jack-8 suited or better.
If you choose not to raise before the flop, then you are still in the game, as there is another opportunity after the flop is revealed by the dealer.
Once the dealer turns over the flop cards, you will have a better idea of whether you have made a good poker hand. If you did not raise before the flop, then you can still do this, though this time you can only raise 2x the ante amount. The correct flop strategy is to raise with two-pairs or better, a hidden pair of 3’s or better and 4 cards to a flush with at least one card 10 high or better.
Again, you do not have to bet, though you’ll need to next round – or your hand must be folded.
Here the dealer turns over the two remaining community cards, you now have to add bet the size of the ante to play – or else fold.
You only get one chance to bet in this game. For example, if you bet before the flop, then there is no further action until the end of the hand.
Dealer Qualification and Payouts
The dealer only ‘Opens’ with at least a pair, though you will get paid out on some other bets even when the dealer does not qualify in this way.
If the dealer does not open, then the player will get 1-to-1 on the blind bet, and paid on the ‘Play’ (Raise) bet according to the strength of their hand (assuming the player beats at least the dealer’s unqualified hand). If the dealer qualifies, and the player wins, then all 3 bets are paid out.
The way that the payouts work is that the ante and raise will always get 1-to-1 when the player wins, regardless of the specific hand strength. The blind bet gets a bigger payout for good poker hands according to the following table:
- Straight: 1-to-1
- Flush: 3-to-2
- Full House: 3-to-1
- Four of a Kind: 10-to-1
- Straight Flush: 50-to-1
- Royal Flush: 500-to-1
Ultimate Texas Holdem Poker Side Bets
There are two side-bets commonly associated with Ultimate Texas Holdem Poker. These are the ‘trips bet’ and a progressive jackpot bet. Like all casino game side bets, these will have a bigger house edge than the main game (which can be as low as 2.1%). The balance here is to make the side bets if they will increase your enjoyment of playing the game, though not in such a way as to risk your bankroll or leave you short of chips for the main game.
The Trips Side-Bet
This is a simple side bet on the outcome of the main poker hand. The difference with this bet is that it does not matter whether the dealer opens, or what bets you make during the game – this is simply the best poker hand at the end of the game compared to the following pay-table.
- Three of a Kind: 3-to-1
- Straight: 4-to-1
- Flush: 7-to-1
- Full House: 9-to-1
- Four of a Kind: 30-to-1
- Straight Flush: 40-to-1
- Royal Flush: 50-to-1
Progressive jackpot bets require a royal flush to be flopped using both of your hole-cards for the main prize, though there are several other prizes for the strongest of hands. If someone else wins the big prize at your table, then you will get a $100 ‘Envy Bonus’.