Ultimate Texas Hold’em FAQ
What is Ultimate Texas Hold’em?
Invented by Shufflemaster’s Roger Snow, Ultimate Texas hold’em is a poker-based casino table game where players battle it out against the dealer in a very similar style to the player versus player version of the game that skyrocketed in popularity in the early 2000s.
Initially, the game was only played on electronic multi-game devices. However, it has now increased in popularity and is mostly found on blackjack style tables with players battling it out against the dealer. The game is hugely popular in the Unites States, particularly in Las Vegas. The rise of the traditional game of Texas hold’em as a result of the boom in online poker rooms, positively impacted the number of people playing Ultimate Texas hold’em.
In this poker table game variant, you initially make a blind and ante wager. After all players on the table have done this, you receive two cards face down. The dealer also receives their own two cards. Five community cards are dealt face up on the table, with three being dealt first, and then the final two after that, which can be used by players and the dealer to make the best possible five-card poker hand.
The game is very easy to play and really requires no prior training or learning, as the dealer will generally help most players and the game is quite intuitive. Poker hand knowledge is always a good thing to have, and you can try the game first at lower stakes or for free online, to give yourself the best possible chances once you start playing in live play.
These frequently asked questions will give you an insight into the game, with information on how to play, odds and payouts, basic strategy, and available game variations and channels that you can play through.
How Do I Play Ultimate Texas Hold’em?
If you’re familiar with Texas hold’em poker or any type of poker for that matter, you’ll be able to quickly pick up how to play Ultimate Texas hold’em. Never fear if you’re new to poker, though, as the game is pretty easy and won’t take long to learn. The best thing to learn first is poker hand rankings. We’ve outlined these below for you from lowest to highest ranking:
- High card – the highest rank card in your five card hand
- Pair – two of the same value card
- Two pair – two sets of two of the same value card
- Three of a kind – a set of three of the same value card
- Straight – five cards sequential in order, ace can be high or low
- Flush – five cards of the same suit
- Full house – a three of a kind and a pair
- Four of a kind – four of the same value card
- Straight flush – five cards in sequential order of the same suit
- Royal flush – ten through ace in the same suit
These are ranked in this order as the odds of making each hand becomes statistically harder as you go down the list.
Once you have these memorized, or close enough to have a good idea of their relative values, you can then move on to the gameplay involved in a hand in Ultimate Texas hold’em.
A hand starts with the player making an ante and blind bet, with the amount of this dependent on the table minimums and maximums where you’re playing. After these bets are made every player is dealt two cards face down, including the dealer.
After inspecting the cards, a player can choose to either raise three or four times their ante amount or check. Once the pre-flop action has been completed the dealer places out three community cards and players have the choice of betting two times their ante amount, or checking, only if they checked pre-flop.
If they raised pre-flop they can’t bet further and now it’s just a waiting game. Two more cards are then dealt by the dealer and if a player has checked in the two previous options they either have to bet the same as the ante amount or fold and lose their initial ante and blind. For those player’s remaining in the hand they reveal their hands and showdown against the dealer.
If the dealer doesn’t achieve a pair, there is no showdown. If the dealer doesn’t open in this circumstance, then the player wins on their blind and raise bet, however they push on the ante bet. If the dealer opens and the player beats them, then they win on every bet.
Sometimes the raise bet is known as a play bet, this terminology varies from casino to casino, so just be aware it may be different to what you’re used to.
Ante and raise bets pay out at 1 to 1, and blind bets pay out according to the hand strength as follows:
You can also make a trips bet. This bet pays out separately from others and it doesn’t matter what the dealer has as you aren’t really competing against them. The aim is to get a three of a kind or better to be paid out in a trips bet. The payouts can vary largely from casino to casino. Some of the most popular odds are as follows:
The game is quite simple to play and very easy to pick up on. You can find plenty of low stakes games online, and free games, to practice on first. This is always a good idea before playing at higher stakes or at a live casino.
Remember, when you’re playing in a live environment the dealer will always be willing to help. If you’re playing online, then the game interface will be very intuitive and will give you clear instructions on your options at any point in a hand.
Is there an Ultimate Texas Hold’em Basic Strategy I can follow?
Due to the fact that decision making occurs in Ultimate Texas hold’em after the cards are dealt, you can employ some basic strategy to improve your chances of having a winning session by lowering the house edge as much as possible.
Generally, basic strategies will instruct on when to raise and how much to raise, given the two hole cards that you hold.
Although the most popular pre-flop strategy is too complex to cover every single instruction here, the basic idea is to raise on strong starting hands, raise on some decent mid strength hands, and never raise on week hands. You can find color coded charts online which instruct you on what to do in every single circumstance at the table before the flop.
Eventually, this should become second nature, like basic blackjack strategy so that you don’t have to keep referring to a chart every single time cards are dealt. If you’re playing in a live casino then consider taking a picture of the chart on your phone, or print out a small card. If you’re playing online some casinos will offer a chart for you as part of the game interface, otherwise, just open it up on a web browser to refer to while you play.
According to widely accepted basic strategy, the two times bet after the flop has been dealt should only be made when you have achieved:
Once all the community cards are dealt you should make the small bet when you have a pair or better, or the dealer can use the community cards with fewer than 21 cards to beat your best hand. You’ll need to employ some basic math to work this out. Keeping in mind that there are 52 cards in a deck, each player will have 2 cards and there are 5 community cards.
It’s up to you whether you choose to follow a strategy in Ultimate Texas hold’em. Just keep in mind that if you don’t you’re increasing the house edge even further and hurting your chances of having more winning sessions.
To learn more about the correct basic strategy you can visit the page about UTH at the Wizard of Odds.
What is the House Edge?
A house edge is the amount of money that a casino will take from the player on a long enough timeline in a given game in percentage form. The house edge for Ultimate Texas Hold’em can range between 2.2% and 2.4% depending on which strategy you follow.
For the basic strategy, a house edge of around 2.4% is more likely, as 2.2% is only if you employ a perfect strategy based on every single variable available to you at that point in time in the game. At 2.4%, this means that the casino will absorb $2.40 from you for every $100 that you wager.
This is on a long timeline, though, so you’ll have swings and variations from session to session. You can also get very lucky and win a lot very quickly, and the unfortunate alternative can also occur. It’s important to keep in mind that Ultimate Texas hold’em can’t be turned into a positive expectation game. It’s mathematically impossible, so if you come across any advice, strategies, or betting methods that claim to be able to do this it’s best just to ignore them.
It’s good to keep in mind why we play table games. We all know that the games are stacked against us, but for entertainment’s sake it can be well worth it, and people do win occasionally so you’ll have a great time and a winning session every now and then.
How does the House Edge compare with other Games?
You can do a lot worse than Ultimate Texas hold’em when it comes to the house edge. Coming in at 2.4% will put you behind craps at 1.36% on the don’t pass line and don’t come, blackjack at 0.28% with favorable rules, and baccarat at 1.06% on the banker. You won’t be far behind these, though, and the game is better than roulette with a single zero which is 2.7%, Let It Ride at 3.51%, and keno at a staggering 25%.
So the game falls somewhere in the middle of the pack in relation to the house edge. It isn’t purely based on luck, which always gives you a bit of an advantage when it comes to the house edge. This is because the casinos expect most players to implement a poor strategy or no strategy at all.
If you don’t even attempt to implement the basic strategy you’ll give the casinos a bit more of a percentage edge, so it’s always a good idea to at least try to implement a strategy to help yourself as much as possible in every single session.
You’ll also need to implement a strong bankroll strategy when playing Ultimate Texas hold’em so you can avoid big swings, and remember it’s always a good idea to walk away while you’re up, but we know that’s a lot easier said than done. And if you’re having an amazing time why would you want to walk away.
Is Ultimate Texas Hold’em Available Online?
Yes, Ultimate Texas hold’em is widely available online. This is excellent for players as it gives you access to the game from wherever you want, whenever you want. On top of this, you can get much better odds online, and also games which let you play at smaller stakes. This is excellent for the low rollers out there. Online games will also offer you more dynamic games that have extra bets, bonuses, and promotions associated with the game.
You’ll be able to find plenty of reputable online casinos that offer Ultimate Texas hold’em, just do a little bit of research first and make sure that online play is legal in the state or country that you’re playing from.
A recent innovation by online casinos and software companies is live dealer games. In these games, you’ll be connected to an actual casino floor with a real dealer, table, and cards. You interact with the game via a digital interface over the top of the video link that is also visible to the dealer so that they can monitor your play and manage the game.
This is a great innovation as it allows you to feel like you’re playing a real game with real cards, all from the comfort of your own home, or wherever you would like to play from. Ultimate Texas hold’em is one of the very latest games to be offered by online casinos in live dealer format, so initially you may only be able to find it on a few sites.
Where should I Play Ultimate Texas Hold’em?
You can play Ultimate Texas hold’em in a large variety of places. Online you’ll be able to the find the game available in fully digital format, and more recently, as a live dealer game. These games can offer far better odds and payouts than any live casino can, because of the relatively low overheads. However, a live casino game will offer a far more immersive experience where you can socialize with your fellow gamblers in a lively environment while you battle it out against the house.
Ultimately, it comes down to you and how you like to play casino table games. Most players will have a good mix between online and live play. It’s quite possible that your local casino might not offer Ultimate Texas hold’em, although this would be very rare, and in this circumstance then online can be a great option.
If you’re a beginner or looking for a low stakes game, then online once again could be a great option. If you’re looking for fun and excitement while socializing with others, then head down to the casino for a game, or make a stop at an Ultimate Texas hold’em table next time you visit Las Vegas.
It’s also a great game for poker players who would like a break from battling it out with other players and wish to take on the house for a while, even though the math isn’t there to support the possibility of being a long term winner like you can at the regular poker tables.