How To Play Ultimate Texas Hold Em
Ultimate Texas Hold Em is one of the most popular casino games available today as it brings the action of Texas Hold Em out of the Poker room and on to the main casino floor. Whether you’re a fan of regular Texas Hold Em or a fan of regular casino games such as Blackjack and Pai Gow, you’ll be sure to enjoy the fun of UTH. After reading our guide, you’ll know when to hold em, when to fold em, when to check, when to raise, and how to win!
Ultimate Texas Hold Em is a more complex game when compared to Three Card and Pai Gow Poker; there are multiple betting rounds and outcomes that affect how the player is paid. We’ll break down how betting and payouts work, then get into the betting strategy, but first here is some Poker terminology and an explanation of how final hands are made in Texas Hold Em:
- Hole Cards: The two cards dealt to the player
- Community Cards: Five cards that are dealt face-up, the player and dealer combine with their two hole cards to make the best five-card hand possible
- Pre-Flop: The first betting round after the player has received their hole cards but before any community cards have been dealt
- Flop: First three community cards
- Turn: Fourth community card
- River: Fifth and final community card
- Check/Checking: Declining to bet
Final hands in Texas Hold Em are made by choosing the best 5 card hand out of the seven cards available between the player’s two hole cards and the five community cards. Players can use both, one, or none of their hole cards. For example:
Hole cards: A♥3♠
Community Cards: A♣K♦J♦9♣7♥
The player’s final five-card hand in this scenario would be a pair of Aces with A♣A♥K♦J♦9♣ as the 3♠ would not be used
In UTH there are three bets, the Ante bet, Blind bet, and Play bet. The first bets the player makes are the ante and blind bets, these bets must always be identical.
The blind bet will be paid out if the player receives a winning hand by the River and has a straight or better. The Blind bet receives special payouts based on the strength of the player’s winning hand:
Royal Flush: 500-1
Straight Flush: 50-1
Four of a Kind: 10-1
Full House: 3-1
If the player wins the hand, but with a hand weaker than a straight, such as one pair, the blind bet will push (Ante bet will pay 1:1)
The Ante bet is paid out if the player has a winning hand and the dealer qualifies. The dealer qualifies if they have a pair or better, even if the pair is on the community cards. For example, if the dealer has 63 with community cards of 44QJ8, the dealer would have a pair of fours and qualify. If the player wins the hand but the dealer does not qualify, the Ante bet results in a push.
The Play bet can be made at different times in the hand or can be passed on by checking. Here is an example:
1. Player makes $50 wager on both Ante and Blind Bets
2. Player is dealt their hole cards
3. Now the player must decide to check, make a 3x Play bet, or make a 4x Play bet based on the strength of their two hole cards. The 3x and 4x Play bet is the multiplier of the Ante/Blind bet. In this example, the Play bets would be 1x-4x multiples of the $50 Ante and Blind bets. We will discuss the strategy regarding when to check and when to make the Play bet later in this guide.
4. The Flop is dealt, the first 3 community cards. If the player has already made a 3x or 4x Play bet, that will remain the Play bet until the River. If the player checked Pre-flop, they now have the option to check again or make a 2x Play bet.
5. After the Flop betting round, the next two cards, the Turn and the River are dealt, and all the community cards at this point are revealed. If the player made a Play bet at any previous time in the hand, the hand goes to a showdown with the dealer and the winner and bet payouts are decided. If the player has not made a Play bet by the River because they have checked every round, the player must now decide to either fold, forfeiting their Ante and Blind bets, or make a 1x play bet and go to a showdown with the dealer.
Here is a cross table for all the possible betting results:
With multiple betting rounds and the overall complexity of Ultimate Texas Hold Em, knowing when to check, when to make a Play bet, and when to fold is quite complicated. For the Pre-flop bet, the player has the option to check, bet 3x or 4x. Our recommendation for optimal strategy is to never make a 3x bet pre-flop and either check or make a 4x bet. This recommendation is due to the fact that based on the player’s current information (Knowing the two hole cards) the player is either likely to be the underdog or the favorite in the hand and thus should either check or make the maximum bet available. However, if you feel like making a 3x bet instead of a 4x that’s up to you and part of the fun of UTH!
Here is a cheat sheet for when to make a 4x Play bet Pre-flop:
When to make 2x raise:
The player can only make a 2x Play bet on the flop if they checked in the previous betting round and should make a 2x bet with any of the following:
- Two pair or better
- Four to a flush with a hole card 10 or better to the flush
- Hidden* pair (Except if the player has hole cards of 22)
*Hidden pair: A pair when the player has a hole card that pairs with a community card for example, 9♥7♦ with a flop of K♣7♦3♣
When to make 1x raise:
The player can only make a 1x raise if they checked in the previous two betting rounds and all five community cards are revealed. This round is different from the previous rounds as the player must choose between making the 1x Play bet or folding and forfeiting their Ante and Blind bets. The player should make the 1x play bet in these two scenarios:
- Player has a hidden pair or better (Hidden pair explained above)
- Less than 21 dealer outs beat that player’s hand
An out is any card the dealer can have that when combined with the community cards would beat the player. Here is an example:
Community Cards: Q♥9♣3♦J♣6♦
Player cards: 10♥7♥
There are 15 cards the dealer could have to make a pair and win (Any of the three remaining Q, 9, 3, J, or 6) and eight cards that would give the dealer a higher hand, any of the four remaining Aces or Kings. Adding all of these up we have 23 outs for the dealer and thus the player should fold.
Hold Em or Fold Em!
Ultimate Texas Hold Em is one of the most popular games found on casino floors all throughout America. With a deep strategy and several possible outcomes, the action in Ultimate Texas Hold Em never stops. We hope after reading our guide you feel you have the skills to hit the tables and know when to hold ’em, when to fold ’em, when to check, and when to bet. Remember that the cheat sheet is your friend and we will see you holding and (hopefully not too often) folding at an Ultimate Texas Hold Em table at Downtown Grand soon!