Ultimate Texas Holdem – Rules and Strategies to Win More Often
Last Updated: November 28, 2023
Ultimate Texas Holdem, a fairly new poker variation, is one of the most in-demand casino table poker games in Las Vegas and is quickly taking over the online industry as well. It’s easy to learn, exciting, and offers huge payouts on both base bets and side bets.
If you want to learn whether you should add Ultimate Texas Holdem to your regular poker session lineup, we’ve covered everything you should know about this game. Read on to learn Ultimate Texas Holdem rules, best strategies, and more!
Ultimate Texas Holdem Rules – A Brief Overview
Ultimate Texas Holdem is a variation of the standard Texas Hold’em game, with one distinct difference. In this variation, you’re not competing against other players, only against the dealer.
To beat the dealer, you need to make the strongest five-card hand, combining your hole cards and the community cards.
Each player gets two hole cards, and there are five community cards. When creating your hand, you can use three, four, or even all five community cards.
The game uses the standard French 52-card deck and the same rankings as the classic Texas Hold’em game. A standard Ultimate Texas Holdem online casino table can accommodate up to six players.
How to Play Ultimate Texas Holdem
As Ultimate Texas Holdem is a much simpler variant of the classic Texas Hold’em, every round is very streamlined and easy to follow.
With that in mind, to help you master how the game works, we’ll go over how an average Ultimate Texas Holdem plays from start to finish.
1. The Ante and Blind Bets
Every hand begins with the players posting an ante and blind bet. The amount you bet must be the same for both, as it serves as a base for all the future bets you’ll make for that game. If you want to place a side bet, like the Trips wager, this is also the time to do so.
Once all of the players have posted their bets, every player will receive two hole cards. The dealer will also distribute two hole cards to themselves. This is followed by the first betting round.
2. The First Betting Round
During the first betting round, after checking your cards, you can raise your ante bet by 3x or 4x. This is the so-called Paly bet.
If you’re playing in a land-based casino, you must place the chips in the Play circle. Additionally, you can also simply check if you don’t want to bet during this round.
3. The Flop and the Second Betting Round
After all of the players have made their decisions in the first betting cards, the dealer guides the game to the post-flop round by revealing three community cards to the center of the table.
Players who have already made the Play bet in the previous round can’t make any additional bets. Players who checked in the previous round have the option of checking again or betting 2x their ante.
4. Turn and River Cards
Before the last betting round, the dealer will turn over the Turn and River cards. Players who haven’t posted any bets since their ante and blind bets must make a Play bet equal to their ante. Otherwise, they fold.
Again, players who have bet previously don’t have to bet any additional amount. It’s worth remembering that you don’t have to fold until you see all five community cards.
This does help a bit with strategy, as you can see how your hand progresses and if it’s worth betting on before posting any additional bets.
After the players who haven’t previously bet post their bets, those remaining in the hand will turn over their cards. The dealer will also reveal their two hole cards and settle any winning bets.
What Are The Payouts in Ultimate Texas Holdem?
The ante bet in Ultimate Texas Holdem always pays 1:1. Keep in mind that the ante bet only pays if the dealer qualifies. The dealer must have at least one pair to qualify.
If they don’t and fail to open their hand, the ante bet is considered a push, and you get your initial bet back.
In comparison, the blind bet offers much more appealing payouts. This is because you will get differently-rated payouts depending on your hand’s strength. If you beat the dealer and have one of the following hands, you can expect these payouts:
- Royal Flush – 500:1
- Straight Flush – 50:1
- Four-of-a-Kind – 10:1
- Full House – 3:1
- Flush – 3:2
- Straight – 1:1
However, it’s important to remember that you’ll only get a payout on your blind bet if you have at least a straight. Beating the dealer with any hand weaker than a straight results in a push, and you will get your blind bet back but won’t win anything.
What Is The House Edge in Ultimate Texas Holdem?
Compared to most casino poker table games, Ultimate Texas Holdem has a fairly low house edge. The game’s house edge is just under 2.2%. This makes it a more favorable casino table game than Three-Card Poker (3.4% house edge) and Caribbean Stud Poker (house edge over 5%).
This 2.2% means the casino takes $2.2 for every $100 you bet in Ultimate Texas Holdem. Naturally, the 2.2% house edge is applicable only if you make the right decisions when playing. Subpar play can increase the house edge, sometimes to 5% or more.
Side Bets in Ultimate Texas Holdem
Side bets in Ultimate Texas Holdem can help make the game more exciting, as they often provide massive payouts for the strongest hands. Here’s a closer overview of the three most popular side bets in Ultimate Texas Holdem:
The Trips Bet
The Trips bonus bet is an optional side bet that rewards you if your hand is a Three-of-a-Kind or better. The payouts for this side bet can vary between casinos, but these are the most common ones:
- Royal Flush – 50:1
- Straight Flush – 40:1
- Four-of-a-Kind – 30:1
- Full House – 9:1
- Flush – 7:1
- Straight – 4:1
- Trips/Three-of-a-Kind – 3:1
As you can see from above, the Trips side bet is more lenient regarding your hand requirements, as you don’t need a Straight or higher to get paid.
You will also get more rewarding payouts for most other hands. Moreover, you will get a payout for your hand even if the dealer’s hand doesn’t qualify.
Hole Card Bonus Bet
The Hole Card Bonus is an interesting Ultimate Texas Holdem side bet that only focuses on the hole cards. The most common Hole Card Bonus side bets you can find in casinos are for AQ suited (20:1 payout), AK suited (25:1 payout), and Pocket Rockets (a pair of Aces, 30:1 payout).
But, the most rewarding Hole Card Bonus is the one you get if both you and the dealer have Pocket Rockers. In that case, you will get a payout of 1000:1. Nevertheless, the overall house edge of over 8.5% makes the Hole Card Bonus Bet a bet to avoid.
Progressive Jackpot Bet
Some Ultimate Texas Holdem games will also offer a progressive jackpot. In most cases, this side bet will pay a whopping 500:1 if you form a Royal Flush.
Additionally, most Ultimate Texas Holdem games that have this progressive jackpot will also offer 10% of the entire payout as a consolation prize if you form a Straight Flush.
The bet sizes for this side bet are often minimal. In most games, they will be only around a dollar.
But, even though the payouts are promising and the required wager is minimal, the progressive jackpot side bet in Ultimate Texas Holdem is not a good offer. This is because it has a significant house edge, making it a bet that heavily favors the casino.
Ultimate Texas Holdem Strategy and Tips
Even though Ultimate Texas Holdem lacks the tactical and mental requirements of Texas Hold’em, there are still a few strategic considerations you should keep in mind to ensure optimal play.
With that in mind, let’s go over a few tactical notions for pre-flop, post-flop, and turn-river play.
The pre-flop is the best part of the game to be maximally aggressive. This means avoiding the 3x and posting the 4x bet in most situations. A general rule of thumb is to always bet 4x if you have a strong range and the chance of creating a two-pair or Three-of-a-Kind hand.
Once the first three community cards are revealed, you will have more information and can assess your hand’s potential. This is also the round to be slightly less aggressive in.
Bet 2x only if you already have at least a straight or flush. You can also post the Play bet if you have an open-ended straight. However, if you have a gutshot straight (inside straight draw), it’s better to check after the flop.
Lastly, after the turn and river cards are revealed, you will have all five community cards on the table and will clearly know your hand’s strength. That said, during this round, the crucial thing is to consider all of the potential hands the dealer might have.
Compare your hand to what the dealer might have, and only bet if you’re confident that the dealer can’t form a better hand than you with the five available community cards.
Is Ultimate Texas Holdem Worth Playing? – Key Takeaways
Ultimate Texas Holdem is certainly one of the most interesting poker variations that pit you against the dealer. It’s similar to classic Texas Hold’em, but different enough to provide variety and entertainment value.
While it does have the added element of house edge like other casino games, Ultimate Texas Holdem also provides you the opportunity to win big. Plus, compared to most casino table poker games (with the exception of blackjack and baccarat) the casino’s edge is a reasonable 2.2%.
The game is easy to learn and involves some, but not too much strategy. It can be great to play alone or with your friends, as it plays excellently both as a social and private game. And, as it’s available in most land-based and online casinos, it’s convenient to access.
Overall, Ultimate Texas Holdem is undoubtedly worth trying out if you’re a poker fan. That said, keep in mind that due to the presence of the house edge, it’s not the best pick for long-term gambling.