Ultimate Texas Hold’em

Ultimate Texas Hold’em is a table game inspired by Texas Hold’em poker. While Texas Hold’em is played against other players at the table, Ultimate Texas Hold’em is a casino game where you play against the dealer. Your goal is thus to beat the dealer’s hand. There might be other players at the Ultimate Texas Hold’em table, but you don’t need to beat their hands to win money.

Unlike a game like roulette, Ultimate Texas Hold’em will force you to make decisions during the round of play, and sticking to a smart strategy can have a big impact on your long-term success at the Ultimate Texas Hold’em table. This is a game where both luck and skill are important, and this is one of the main reasons why certain players favor Ultimate Texas Hold’em over luck-based game types such as roulette or slot machines in the casino.

Ultimate Texas Holdem

Background

Ultimate Texas Hold’em is just one of many types of casino poker, i.e poker where you play against the house and not against fellow players. Ultimate Texas Hold’em was developed by Roger Snow at the company Shuffle Master, who wanted to create a casino poker version of Texas Hold’em. You might not have heard about Shuffle Master, but you have most likely seen the name Bally Gaming – because that is what they call themselves nowadays.

When Shuffle Master introduced Ultimate Texas Hold’em, it was only available as video poker. This meant you could not play against a live dealer. Instead, Shuffle Master created special video terminals where multiple players could participate in the same round.

Eventually, Ultimate Texas Hold’em grew so popular that casino executives started to ponder if maybe it would actually be worth the time and resources to train dealers and offer a live version of the game. Eventually, the table version of Ultimate Texas Hold’em was launched and became a great success.

Basic rules

If you know how to play Texas Hold’em or any similar poker game, you will find it very easy to learn Ultimate Texas Hold’em. If you’ve never played such poker games before, it will take a little longer to learn since you need to memorize the hand rankings and other basic concepts.

One way of learning is to go to an online casino that offers Ultimate Texas Hold’em in play-mode, i.e. where you can play the game for free using play-money. That way, you can play it without losing any real money and you will quickly learn the ropes.

Poker hand rankings for Texas Hold’em and Ultimate Texas Hold’em

Ultimate Texas Hold’em uses the same hand ranking system as Texas Hold’em. Here, we will list them with the highest ranking hand at the top and the lowest at the bottom.

Hand name Information
1Royal FlushAce-King-Queen-Jack-Ten of the same suit
2Straight FlushFive cards in consecutive order of the same suit (but not a Royal Flush)

Example: Jack-Ten-Nine-Eight-Seven of spades

3Four of a KindFour cards of the same rank

Example: 7 of hearts, 7 of spades, 7 of diamonds and 7 of clubs

4Full HouseThree cards of the same rank + Two cards of the same rank

Example: 7-7-7 + 3-3

5FlushFive cards, not consecutive, but of the same suit

Example: 2-5-9-Jack-Queen where all cards are spades

6StraightFive consecutive cards of mixed suits

Example: 3-4-5-6-7 of mixed suits

7Three of a KindThree cards of the same rank

Example: 7-7-7 + 2-Queen

8Two PairTwo cards of the same rank + Two cards of the same rank

Example: 2-4-4-9-9

9One PairTwo cards of the same rank

Example: 2-4-4-9-Queen

10High cardIf the hand doesn’t fit any of the requirements listed above, it’s highest card will determine its rank

Example: The hand 2-5-6-8-Queen of mixed suits will beat the hand 5-8-9-10-Jack of mixed suits because Queen is higher than Jack.

Your hole cards

At the start of the game, you will be dealt two cards. You should look at these cards, but keep them hidden from the other players. These are your private cards, i.e. your hole cards.

The use of communal cards in Texas Hold’em

In a round of Texas Hold’em, five communal cards will be placed face-up on the table. You are allowed to use any number of these cards (including zero) together with any number of your hole cards to form your best poker hand.

The communal cards are not laid out at the start of the game. Instead, they are dealt gradually, with a betting round between each new deal. The first deal is for card 1-3, the next deal is for the 4th card and the last deal is of the 5th card in standard Texas Hold’em. In Ultimate Texas Hold’em, the way the dealer deals the communal cards can vary – if you are playing alone at the table you will probably be allowed to make a large bet after seeing your hole cards and have all five communal cards dealt in one go if you want to.

The first three communal cards are known as the flop. The 4th card is the turn and the 5th card is the river.

Showdown

Showdown in Ultimate Texas Hold’em is when the dealer compares her hand to the player’s hand to see who has won.

Ultimate Texas Holdem poker

A round of Ultimate Texas Hold’em

These are the basic steps for a round of Ultiamte Texas Hold’em. Always check the rules applicable to the specific table you wish to play at, because they may differ from the norm.

  1. You (the player) put one wager on the ante spot and another wager on the blind spot on the table. The ante bet and the blind bet must be of the same size.
  2. The dealer gives your and herself two cards each, dealt face down. These are your respective hole cards. You are allowed to look at your own cards, but will not find out what the dealer has.
  3. You now have two options:- You make a wager 4x the size of the ante. The dealer puts the flop, turn and river on the table and the hand goes to showdown, and this ends the game.

    – You don’t make a wager (this is known as checking) and the dealer only puts the flop on the table.

  4. If you checked, you will now be seeing the flop and decide what do to next.- If you wager 2x the ante amount, the dealer shows you the turn and the river, and the hand goes to showdown.

    – If you check, the dealer shows you the turn and the river, and you need to make a new choice: bet or fold.

  5. If you fold, you forfeit your hand and lose what you have wagered.If you instead elect to bet, the bet must be the same size as the ante. The hand goes to showdown.

What happens during a showdown in Ultimate Texas Hold’em?

The dealer will display her hand so everyone can see if the dealer hand opens. The dealer needs a pair or better to open. She isn’t required to use any of her own cards, so if there is a pair on the table, the dealer will always open.

If the dealer doesn’t open, you automatically get a small payment and get to keep your wagers, regardless of how poor your hand is.

If the dealer opens, your best poker hand will be compared to her best poker hand. You are both allowed to use anywhere from 0 to 5 of the communal cards on the table to form your hands. If the dealer hand wins, you lose your money. If you hand wins, you get paid according to how high your hand is.

The values of winning bets

The ante bet pays 1:1 when it pays.

The play bet pays 1:1 when it pays.

When it pays, the blind bet pays according to how high your hand is. At most tables, you need at least a Straight to get paid on the blind bet.

This is a commonly used paytable for the blind bet:

  • Royal Flush – 500x
  • Straight Flush – 50x
  • Four of a Kind – 10x
  • Full House – 3x
  • Flush – 1.5x
  • Straight – 1x
  • Three of a Kind or lower – Push (you get to keep the wager, but doesn’t get paid)