PokerListings.com is the world's largest and most trusted online poker guide, offering the best online poker bonus deals guaranteed, exclusive site reviews and the most free poker content available on the Web.
How to Play Ultimate Texas Hold'em | Ultimate Holdem Rules
The premise of Ultimate Texas Hold’em is simple:
- Beat the dealer in a standard hand of Texas Hold’em
All of the standard hand rankings of Texas Hold'em poker apply although the betting works slightly different than a normal player vs. player round of Hold’em
Once all the betting is done, the player and dealer compare hands and the best 5-card poker hand wins. The Ultimate Texas Hold’em player is then paid out according to the bets they made along the way and their final hand.
Ultimate Texas Hold’em Rules
On the table in front of you (either live or online) you will see different betting circles:
To play a hand of Ultimate Texas Hold'em you need to make at least 2 bets - the Ante and Blinds bet. The Trips bet is an optional bet you can make which pays out only if you hit certain hands.
The Play bet you can make in different multiples of your original bets at various points in the hand. Here’s how a hand of Ultimate Texas Hold’em works:
- Each player makes the two mandatory opening bets - an "ante" bet and a "blinds" bet
- There is also an optional "Trips" bet players can choose before the deal
- Two cards are then dealt face down to the players and the dealer
- Once players have checked their cards they can choose to add on a "Play" bet at a value of 3x or 4x the ante bet
- Players can also check and wait for the next betting round
- Dealer then deals 3 community cards face up on the table. These are shared between players and dealer
- If the player checked in the first betting round they can now make a Play bet worth 2x ante or can check again
- Once you've made the Play bet you can’t bet again
- After players have again bet or checked the dealer deals two more shared community cards in the middle of the table
- If player has yet to make a Play bet (checked twice) they must now either fold (lose both their ante and blinds bets) or bet 1x ante
Once all the cards have been dealt and all Play bets made the dealer will reveal their hole cards and declare their best 5-card hand.
Ultimate Hold’em: Dealer Qualifying Hand
Note: The dealer must have at least a pair to have a qualifying hand. if the dealer does not have a qualifying hand your Ante bet is returned to you. All other bets receive action.
Ultimate Texas Hold'em Payouts
After all the cards have been distributed and all extra Play bets made, hands are then evaluated based on the standard poker hand rankings. If you need a reminder of how the official poker hand rankings work, check our page here:
Here's how it's determined if payouts are required:
Play, Blind & Ante Bets
- If your hand beats the dealer’s hand: Play and Ante bets pay 1:1; Blinds bet pays according to scale
- If the Dealer hand beats your hand: Play, Ante and Blind bets all lose
- If Dealer fails to open: Ante bet returned to player
- If the final hands are tied: All bets are a push
Blind Bet Payouts
Your Blinds bet from the beginning of the hand will pay you out according to the strength of your hand. This is regardless of whether it beats the dealer hand or not.
The minimum hand you need to get paid is a Straight. If you beat the dealer with less than a Straight, though, your bet is a push. Here is a standard payout chart for Ultimate Texas Hold'em Blinds bets:
500 to 1
50 to 1
Four of a Kind
10 to 1
3 to 1
3 to 2
1 to 1
Ultimate Texas Holdem - Trips Bet
The Trips bet has a slightly more complex payout structure than the other bets. Bets are won according to the value of your hand regardless of whether your hand beats the dealer's.
Each Trips pay table will likely be slightly different but a common one looks like this:
- Royal Flush 50:1
- Straight Flush: 40:1
- Four of a Kind 30:1
- Full House 9:1
- Flush 7:1
- Straight 4:1
- Three of a Kind 3:1
- All Other -1
Again, this is an optional bet you do not have to make before the hand starts to pay but can pay out an extra bonus, if you will, should you hit a big hand. The house edge for the Trips bet is usually around 1.9%
Ultimate Texas Hold'em - Other Bets
Depending on the casino you're in or the online casino you're playing it you may find some other optional bets at your Ultimate Texas Hold'em table.
At some Ultimate Texas Hold'em tables you can find an optional Progressive Jackpot bet you can make. This is usually either $1 or $5. A portion of each bet is contributed to a growing progressive jackpot that pays out should a big hand hit.
The cards used to make up your Progressive Jackpot hand are your two hole cards and the first three community cards only. A Royal Flush pays out 100% of the progressive jackpot and a Straight Flush 10%. Lower ranked hands are paid out on a sliding scael.
Hole Card Bonus
The Hole Card bonus can be found in Vegas and elsewhere and pays out based on hole cards alone, both yours and the dealers. Common hole card bonus bets include:
- Both you and dealer have aces: 1000-1
- You have aces: 30-1
- AK Suited: 25-1
- AQ Suites: 20-1
and so on.
Ultimate Texas Hold'em - Basic Strategy
While players who have a lot of experience playing Texas Holdem will immediately feel comfortable playing Ultimate Texas Hold'em as a casino game, the optimal strategy is slightly different given a few obvious factors:
- You are only playing against the dealer, not any other players
- There is no fold equity or making the dealer fold when you have a bad hand
- There is no bluffing
- Position makes no difference
- There is no rake
An understanding of the basic Texas Hold'em odds of hitting certain hands on the flop, turn and river come in handy but how much and when to bet is slightly different.
Knowing when to bet the max (4x) or 3x on the flop or waiting for later streets and smaller bets is a crucial part of making Ultimate Texas Hold'em profitable but they can be rather complex equations.
A general understanding of when your "outs" are likely to hit is very helpful though and can guide you in a general sense towards optimal strategy.
Ultimate Texas Hold'em - Best Payouts
The simplest and most effective Ultimate Texas Holdem strategy to remember is pre-flop, and that is:
- Bet the max (4x your ante and not 3x) when you are dealt premium hole cards
What hands qualify as premium hole cards? Well, loosely:
- Pairs - 33 or higher
- Q6 suited or higher
- J8 suited or higher
- Any suited King
- Q8 unsuited or higher
- K5 unsuited or higher
- Any Ace
If you have hole card combinations lower than these you can still proceed to make bets on later streets (they still might turn into quality hands) but it is better to check or fold right there than raise pre-flop.
Post-Flop Ultimate Texas Hold'em Strategy
Once you've reached the flop the computations and decisions to play "perfect" Ultimate Texas Hold'em Strategy get far more complicated. If you've played a lot of hands of Texas Hold'em online you likely have a good feel for which hands will ultimately hit or not.
Otherwise, a Ultimate Texas Hold'em odds calculator is required to know what to do in each and every situation. As a few general rules though:
- Raise 2x when you have two pair or better, a hidden pair (one hole card, one community card) above 22 and 4 cards to a flush
- Raise 1x on the final bet if you have a hidden pair or better or under 21 dealer outs that can beat your hand
Ultimate Texas Hold'em - House Edge
As far as casino table games go, Ultimate Texas Hold'em has a fairly low house edge. Taken separately your ante and blinds bets lose about 2.2% of the time. Together, they drop down to about 1%.
So overall you have a fairly decent shot at breaking even. To really minimize the house edge you need to follow the optimal strategy as loosely outlined above or by pinpointing exact scenarios with an Ultimate Texas Hold'em calculator or chart.
We won't provide you with a full breakdown here but you can dig around and find them online easily. What we will say, though, that is you fold most of your trash hands and make sure you raise the maximum when you have the best hole cards as outlined above, you won't stray too far from optimal strategy.
Best of luck at the tables!
Play Ultimate Texas Hold'em Free Online
As we always recommend, the best way to get your feet underneath you before plunging down any big bets is to try out the free "instant play" version of any casino game online.
All of the best online casinos you'll find on our toplists will have free instant play (or "demo") versions of Ultimate Texas Hold'em you can launch right in your Internet browser and play away with free chips.
You won't win any real money, obviously, but it will give you a great sense for how the game play will flow online, where and how to place your bets and help you recognize hand scenarios where you're more or less likely to beat the dealer.
More on Online Casinos
If you'd like to refresh your understanding of Texas Hold'em odds and outs, check our pages here:
- What Are the Odds? A List of Long-Shot Odds in Texas Hold'em
- How Not to Suck at Poker: Count Your Outs
More Guides to Casino Poker Games:
Short Deck Hold’em – also known as Six Plus (6+) Hold’em – is No-Limit Hold’em...
Want the keys to tournament poker in 2017? Who better to take you for a...