Ultimate Texas Hold'em guideIt’s one of the most entertaining casino games you can play: Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker is a fun blend of classic Texas Hold’em gameplay and casino games like Three Card Poker.

Unlike No Limit Texas Hold’em, Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker is played against the house, with the dealer acting as your sole opponent.

The game offers a reasonably low house edge for a casino game, requires a degree of strategy and understanding, and can be a very fun way to spend a Friday evening at the casino.

In this guide, we are going to teach you all about the Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker rules, the strategies you should use at the table, and all the payouts you can expect.

While there is no way to actually beat the house in the long run, we will show you the tricks and strategies that will give you a real chance of winning in any standalone session, as well as point you to the best online casinos where you can play the game and have the best possible odds.

Let’s get started with the basics!

Ultimate Texas Hold’em: Key Facts
🃏 Game TypeTable game with cards
📈 House Edge2.2%
🎯 Skill RequirementsLow
💻 Where to Play OnlinePokerStars Casino US

What Is Ultimate Texas Hold’em?

Ultimate Texas Hold’em is one of the most popular casino-banked poker variations in existence. The game represents a simplified version of classic Texas Hold’em and, unlike the original, it is played with fixed payouts and against the casino dealer instead of other players.

Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker Rules Explained

Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker is a relatively straightforward casino game, but more complex than many other forms of casino poker.

For starters, this game includes multiple bets that you can place, as well as decisions at three different points in each hand.

All the different bets and decision points add to the complexity of Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker strategy that you need to apply to give yourself the best possible winning odds.

At most Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker tables, you will be offered the following bets:

  • Ante Bet
  • Blind Bet
  • Play Bet
  • Trips Bet

Note that the Ante and Blind bet are obligatory, and that the two have to be the same value. The Play bet, on the other hand, is a non-mandatory bet that you can make if you decide to at different points in a hand.

The Trips bet is completely optional and does not have to be placed at any point in a hand. If you wish to, you can place a Trips bet before a hand starts, and will be paid according to the fixed Trips paytable.

Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker Step-by-Step Guide

The best way to demonstrate how the game works is by walking you through an Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker hand, so let’s take a look and learn how each the game works step-by-step.

  1. Place Your Initial Bets: To get started, you will need to place an Ante bet and a Blind Bet. These two bets have to be the same value. If you place $10 on the Ante slot, you must also place $10 on the Blind slot. You can place a Trips bet as well if you choose to, and the value of this bet is up to you.
  2. Get Your Hole Cards: Once all the Antes and Blinds are placed, the dealer will deal two cards to each player at the table and to himself. This process is the same as in Texas Hold’em Poker.
  3. Place the Play Bet: Once the hole cards are dealt, you are faced with the first decision in the hand. You can place a Play bet worth 3x or 4x the Ante bet on the Play slot. You can also check and wait for the next betting round.
  4. See the Flop: The dealer puts out a flop made up of three community cards. These cards are out there for everyone to use, just like in Texas Hold’em Poker.
  5. Check or Bet Again: Once the flop is dealt, you once again have an option. If you checked preflop, you can now check or place 2x the Ante bet on the Play slot.
  6. See the Turn & River: In Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker, the dealer deals the turn and river cards together. With these two, all five community cards are on the table.
  7. Bet or Fold: Once the final cards are on the table, you have to make a bet of 1x Ante or fold your cards. If you made a bet on previous betting rounds, you don’t need to make any bets.
  8. Showdown: The dealer now reveals his cards and the hands are compared. All bets are paid out according to paytable, and the next hand starts.

Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker Payouts Explained

Before you can actually start playing Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker, you have to understand how much different hands are worth in this game.

The game uses classic Texas Hold’em Poker hand rankings to determine hand value, but the payouts in this game are determined according to fixed payables.

Some poker hands can be worth many times your initial bet, while others will only get you your bet back. In Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker, payouts are made for Ante and Play bet, Blind bet, and Trips bet separately.

We will now explain how payouts work for all three categories.

Ante & Play Bet Payouts in Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker

The first payout you will receive at showdown in Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker is the one for your Ante bet and your Play bet.

Ante bet payouts are only made when the dealer qualifies, which means he has at least a pair in his hand. If the dealer has a pair and you beat that pair, you will receive a 1:1 payout on your Ante bet.

If the dealer does not qualify in a hand, your Ante bet will be returned to you, but you will not be paid out any profit on it.

When it comes to your Play bet, this bet is paid at 1:1 anytime you can beat the dealer’s hand, whether the dealer has qualified or not.

Since your Play bet can be anywhere between 1x and 4x the size of your Ante, you can win quite big on this one if you decide to place it preflop. On the other hand, if you only place your Play bet on the river, it will be worth only 1x your Ante.

Blind Bet Payouts in Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker

The Blind bet, which you have placed before the flop, acts quite a bit differently than the Ante bet, and does not necessarily pay based on how your hand stacks up against the dealer’s.

If you have a winning hand that’s worse than a Straight, the Blind bet is returned to your stack, but no profit is paid out.

On the other hand, if you have a Straight or better, you will be paid a profit according to a fixed paytable, regardless of the dealer’s hand.

So, even if you lose with your Straight or better, you will still get paid something on your Blind bet. Here is the common paytable used for Blind bet payouts in Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker:

Poker Hand Payout Ratio
Straight 1:1
Flush 3:2
Full House 3:1
Four of a Kind 10:1
Straight Flush 50:1
Royal Flush 500:1

Trips Bet Payouts in Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker

The final bet to take into consideration is the Trips bet. This bet is completely optional, but if you do decide to place it, your winnings will not depend on the dealer’s hand at all.

The Trips bet does not take the dealer’s hand into consideration, and you will neither win nor lose based on how your hand stacks up to the dealer’s.

Instead, all Trips bets are paid out according to the following paytable, with payouts starting at Three of a Kind or better:

Poker Hand Payout Ratio
Trips 3:1
Straight 4:1
Flush 7:1
Full House 9:1
Quads 30:1
Straight Flush 40:1
Royal Flush 50:1

Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker Hand Rankings

If you are at all familiar with poker games like Texas Hold’em or Pot Limit Omaha, the poker hand rankings used in Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker will be easy for you.

If you are a complete poker novice or haven’t played the game in a while, here is a little refresher in poker hand rankings you will need to know before you start playing this game. The following is a list of all hands you can make in Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker, from best to worst:

  • Royal Flush
  • Straight Flush
  • Four of a Kind
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Three of a Kind
  • Two Pair
  • One Pair
  • No Pair

This hand rankings table applies for both you and the dealer. However, the dealer’s hand is counted as “not qualified” if it has no pair, which can affect the way payouts are made, as explained earlier on this page.

Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker Strategy

If you are new to Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker, it is not advisable to just jump into the game without knowing proper strategy.

When played optimally, the game can have a house edge as low as 2%, which is pretty good for a casino game and stacks up well with other games like Roulette, Blackjack, and Craps.

However, if you play the game wrong, you could be losing as much as 15% with every hand you play, which is an absolute disaster.

For that reason, we will teach you some basic Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker strategy right here, which you can learn by heart and apply to the game every time you play.

If you memorize these basic strategy tips, you will have a good chance of winning every session you play, and you will reduce the house edge to the absolute minimum.

When to Play in Ultimate Texas Hold’em

Unlike many other casino games, which only allow you to make one bet before the hand starts, Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker gives you a chance to make a Play bet on any street you choose.

Preflop, when you are holding just your two hole cards, the house will give you a chance to make a 3x or a 4x Play bet.

The optimal strategy for this betting street suggests you should always make a 4x bet if you choose to make one, but you should only do so with certain hands.

The strategy for which hands to bet with can be a little tricky, but here is a baseline you can follow:

  • Any pocket pair
  • Any Ace
  • Any suited King or K5+
  • Suited Q5+ or off-suit Q8+
  • Suited J7+ or off-suit J9+

All hands that fall into this category are good enough for a 4x bet. All other hands should be checked in the preflop betting round, as you will get further opportunities to place bets later on in the hand.

If you proceed to the flop and have not made any bet preflop, you will have a chance to bet 2x on the flop.

You should do so with two pair, any one pair that involves one or two of your hole cards, a flush draw with at least a ten in the hole.

With all your other hands, you will have to proceed to the river where you can only place a 1x bet, and should do so if your hand is a favorite to beat the dealer’s, which is generally the case if the dealer has fewer than 21 outs to beat the hand you are holding.

Manage Your Bankroll Carefully

Your bankroll is your tool when playing Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker. If you go broke in just a few hands, you won’t get a chance to win your money back.

While playing the optimal raising strategy is critical to winning or breaking even in this game, there is also a lot of variance at play, which is why a proper bankroll is necessary to play.

When considering how big of a bankroll you want to bring, you should take into account that you will need to make some 4x bets with your strong holdings before the flop, which means you need to be able to sustain losing multiple hands with all bets maxed out.

So, it is best not to approach the Ultimate Texas Hold’em table without at least 100 ante bets, which might sound high now, but will begin to make a lot more sense when you actually start playing.

Stay Away from Side Bets

Like in most gambling games, side bets in Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker are mostly a losing proposition and they only serve to increase the house edge.

If you go into a game and start placing chips on Trips or other site bets that might be offered, you will simply be losing more money in every hand you play.

While these side bets may offer a path to a quick win on any given hand, over hundreds of hands they will deplete your bankroll and leave you with nothing to show for your effort.

Where to Play Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker

Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker is one of the most widespread casino poker games out there, with casinos all over the world offering it at their tables.

If you are a live casino player, you may be able to find Ultimate Texas Hold’em tables at any casino you frequent, but if you want to play from the comfort of your home, you may be in luck too.

Some of the top online casino brands in America now offer Ultimate Texas Hold’em tables, with both live dealer and virtual tables available for real money play.

You can check out some of the following licensed casino sited to play the game right now:

Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker FAQ

What is the house edge in Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker?

Ultimate Texas Hold’em is one of the best casino games in terms of casino edge if played correctly. The house edge goes down to just 2% if you play the best betting strategy, but can escalate to as high as 15% if you make the wrong bets.

Where can I play Ultimate Texas Hold’em online?

Some of the best regulated online casinos in the US such as BetMGM Casino, DraftKings Casino, and Borgata Casino offer the game at live dealer tables with real money bets, available to players in any state where online gambling is legal.

How do I win in Ultimate Texas Hold’em?

In order to win a hand of Ultimate Texas Hold’em outright, you will need to beat the dealer’s hand at showdown. The dealer will need to qualify with one pair or better if you want to win double money on your ante bet, but your play bets will be paid regardless of the dealer qualifying.

When should I bet in Ultimate Texas Hold’em?

Betting at the right time is critical to Ultimate Texas Hold’em strategy. Only bet 4x before the flop if you hold a strong starting hand (J7s or better), or on the flop if you hold two pair, a pair with a hole card, or a ten-high flush draw.

Should I play the side bets at Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker tables?

No! Side bets are introduced into the game to increase the house edge and allow the casino to win more money from the players. In the long run, these bets will cost you money and make it harder to win at the game.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) helpline at 1-888-532-3500