Ultimate Texas Hold’em is one of the most popular live and online casino games for poker players.
One big reason is that if you know what you are doing, the game will feature one of the lowest house edges of any casino game.
Half the battle is just knowing the basic rules of Texas Hold’em, particularly the hand rankings which are common in most poker games.
About Ultimate Texas Hold’em
Ultimate Texas Hold’em was developed by Roger Stone of Shuffle Master and similar formats are also known under other names including Heads Up Hold’em distributed by Galaxy Gaming.
If you have learned the basic rules of Texas Hold’em, you will quickly pick up on how to play Ultimate Texas Hold’em with the hand rankings and each player holding two hole cards being the same in both games.
As this is a casino, the house will have an edge. Players should experience plenty of winning sessions, but unlike regular Texas Hold’em, players are competing against the house and not a player.
What you might not know about Ultimate Texas Hold’em is that if it is played correctly it has one of the lowest house edges among any casino game at around 2%.
Reasons to play Unlimited Texas Hold’em
- Low house edge of around 2% when following basic strategy
- Fun to play alone or with friends
- Similar to Texas Hold’em
- Can play for just a few minutes
- Potential to win big
Read on to learn more about the rules of Ultimate Texas Hold’em and how to optimize your play to reduce the house edge to almost nothing.
How to Play Ultimate Texas Hold’em
Usually, you can play Ultimate Texas Hold’em at a casino with up to six players and a dealer (also known as the house).
The game utilizes a standard 52 card deck. Although online, you will find many heads-up games where you will compete one-on-one against the house.
Each player must post an ante and a blind before each hand begins. You will see posted minimums and maximums. Keep in mind that your bet must be the same for both of these and that it will also serve as a base for other bets as the hand progresses.
Therefore, we recommend when first getting your feet wet to bet as small as possible to further the power of your bankroll. You can always adjust with higher bets once you feel comfortable that you have optimized your game.
There are also optional side bets which can vary from casino to casino including the Trips bet you can place before the hand is dealt which we will get into later.
Two cards are dealt to each player and the dealer after the initial Ante and Blind bets are placed.
Remember, hand rankings are the exact same as Texas Hold’em.
Check out our detailed description of how to play Texas Hold’em to brush up on Hold’em hand rankings.
You can decide to bet three times or four times the Ante and place the bet into the Play box or check before the flop comes.
A flop is then dealt and you will have an option whether to bet two times the Ante bet or check once again.
The turn and river are dealt one after the other and you will have one last option on whether to place a bet equal to the Ante in the Play box or to fold the hand.
There is a bit of basic strategy that you should either memorize or have a chart with you while playing to best optimize when to bet in the Play box, when to check, and when to fold.
Players that folded after the river was dealt will automatically lose their Ante and Blind bet.
Those remaining in the hand will turn over their cards as will the dealer. If you have a better Texas Hold’em hand than the dealer you win the Play bet for the same amount as bet.
The Blind bet can also only be won if you have won the hand. Assuming this is the case, it is paid out on a sliding scale and can be worth as much as 50 to 1 for a straight flush. However, if you don’t have a straight or better, you will simply just get your bet back as a push.
Here is a look at the potential different payouts of the Blind bet which can vary slightly from casino to casino.
|Royal flush||500 to 1|
|Straight flush||50 to 1|
|Four of a kind||10 to 1|
|Full House||3 to 1|
|Flush||3 to 2|
|Straight||1 to 1|
The Ante bet is a bit trickier. If the dealer doesn’t qualify with at least a pair, you will get your Ante refunded as a push. This is the case whether you had a better hand or not, as long as you didn’t fold your hand.
If the dealer qualified with a pair or better, you will need to beat the dealer in order to win this even money bet.
Best Ultimate Texas Hold’em Strategy
You should quickly get the hang of the rules of Ultimate Texas Hold’em by reading the rules above and potentially watching a few hands being played.
However, we don’t recommend that you hop right into Ultimate Texas Hold’em until you learn some basic strategy as it could turn out to be a nightmare to play based on gut feeling.
For example, if you decide to blindly bet four times your bet in the Play box every hand, you will be subject to a house edge of around 14%. Likewise, if you aren’t betting at the right times, you will also increase the house edge.
You should always bet the maximum allowed in the Play box before the flop when you bet. The following chart should serve as a guide to when you should place a bet in the Play box and when you should fold preflop.
- B = Bet four times in Play box
- C = Check
- S = Bet four time in Play box if suited, otherwise check
The strategy gets a little easier if you didn’t bet preflop. You should bet two times on the flop in the Play box if you have two pair or better, a hidden pair, or a flush draw with a hidden ten or better. A hidden pair means that there isn’t a pair on the board and you are using one or more of your hole cards to create that pair.
River strategy can be particularly tricky. It is easy to memorize what to do but not always easy to make the optimal play in real-time.
Place a bet of equal to your Ante bet if you have a hidden pair or better or the dealer has less than 21 outs to beat you. After some practice, determining how many outs the dealer has to beat you will become more second nature but take your time at first as it’s your money and the game typically doesn’t have a time limit with the exception of some multiplayer online games.
Side bets are usually a way for online and live casinos to extract a little extra money per hand, spin, or dice roll at extremely bad odds.
This isn’t necessarily the case in Ultimate Texas Hold’em with its optional Trips bets that you will see on just about every table.
It all comes down to the odds that they are paying on the Trips bet as it could be an under 1% advantage for the house under optimal conditions if you can find them.
Your Trips bet can be a different amount than your Ante and Blind bets and is only paid if you wound up with trips or better. In just about every case you are paid 3 to 1 for trips or a set and 50 to 1 if you nail down the elusive Royal Flush.
What you should be looking for if considering to place a Trips bet is a bet table similar to below which gives the house less than a 1% advantage.
|Four of a Kind||30|
Other payout tables might look similar with a Royal Flush paying 50 to 1 and trips paying 3 to 1. However, some smaller differences in the middle of the pay table can make a big difference.
For example, the pay table below would give the house a more than 6% advantage and should be avoided at all costs.
|Four of a Kind||20|
There are other side bets that online and live casinos make available including hole card bonuses and bad beat jackpots.
In general, any side bet that isn’t the Trips bet gives the house a huge house edge and therefore should be avoided.
One exception might be in the case of progressive jackpots where the jackpot is high enough to make the house edge low and, in some cases, even give the player an advantage. One pitfall even here is that the jackpots are few and far between and thus will likely cause you money unless you hit at least one jackpot in your lifetime.
Ultimate Texas Hold’em is a fun online and live casino game that can be played whether you have a few spare minutes or want to grind a long session.
The rules are easy to learn and before long it is possible to master the strategy of the game to reduce the house edge to approximately 2% in the base game.
While it isn’t likely you will become a long-term winner in this game without a bit of luck, it is more likely than many other games to have winning sessions and go on runs to win a chunk of change.