# ULTIMATE TEXAS HOLD'EM

**Introduction**

Ultimate Texas Hold'em is a variation of the game Texas Hold'em in which you play against a casino dealer. The game is available at casinos using Chartwell software, as well as many land based casinos. The game's low expected loss per unit wagered makes it a useful alternative for clearing bonuses. Optimal strategy is complex, so game play can be slow. Note that Ultimate Texas Hold'em and Texas Hold'em Bonus are not the same game, even though they both have the same house edge per wager of 0.53%.

**Rules and Play**

At the start of the hand, you must make equal ante & blind bets, so you are betting two units. You may also make an optional trips bet. The trips bet has a higher house edge per wager than the main game, so I expect most players reading this will only make an ante & blind bet. Ultimate Texas Hold'em has three opportunities to raise -- at the start of the hand when all community cards are unknown, after three community cards are dealt (the flop), and after all five community cards are dealt. After any raise, the remaining cards are dealt, and the hands are scored. As more community cards are known, the maximum raise decreases. A summary is below:

**Start of hand
without any community cards** -- May Raise 4x, Raise 3x, or Check without
raising. The hands ends after a raise.

**After flop is
dealt, with 3 community cards** -- May Raise 2x or Check without raising.
The hands ends after a raise.

**End of hand, with
all 5 community cards visible **-- May Raise 1x or Fold and forfeit
the hand, losing both the ante and blind bets.

Ultimate Texas Hold'em has many possible payouts. If the dealer has a pair or better, the dealer "qualifies." Payouts depend on whether the dealer qualifies, as summarized below:

**Player Wins, Dealer
Qualifies** -- Blind bet pays according to the table below, all other
bets pay 1:1

**Player Wins, Dealer
Does not Qualify** -- Blind bet pays according to table below, raise
bets pay 1:1, ante bet pushes

**Player and Dealer
Tie **-- All bets push

**Player Loses,
Dealer Does not Qualify** -- Ante bet pushes, all other bets lose

**Player Loses,
Dealer Qualifies** -- All bets lose

Hand |
Final Hand Odds |
Ante Bet Payout |

Royal Flush | 1 in 31,000 | 500:1 |

Straight Flush | 1 in 3,200 | 50:1 |

4 of a Kind | 1 in 600 | 10:1 |

Full House | 1 in 39 | 3:1 |

Flush | 1 in 33 | 3:2 |

Straight | 1 in 22 | 1:1 |

3 of a Kind or Less | 9 out of 10 | Push |

**Optional Trips Bet**

Ultimate Texas Hold'em offers an optional trips bet. The trips bet must be made in addition to the ante & blind bets. It cannot be made alone. The trips bet pays based on the player's final hand. Chartwell offer the highest common paytable option with a 1.90% house edge. However, the house per wager is substantially higher than the main game bet, so I expect most players will not make this bet. A summary is below:

Hand |
Final Hand Odds |
Ante Bet Payout |

Royal Flush | 1 in 31,000 | 50:1 |

Straight Flush | 1 in 3,200 | 40:1 |

4 of a Kind | 1 in 600 | 30:1 |

Full House | 1 in 39 | 8:1 |

Flush | 1 in 33 | 6:1 |

Straight | 1 in 22 | 5:1 |

3 of a Kind (Trips) | 1 in 21 | 3:1 |

2 Pair or Less | ~6 out of 7 | Lose |

House Edge |
1.90% |

**Strategy**

**Start of hand
without any community cards** -- You should never raise 3x. When the
raise bet has good odds, you should make the maximum raise of 4x. This makes
the strategy decision a choice of raising 4x or checking. You should raise
4x with the minimum hands below. That is, you should raise with a suited Q6,
but not a suited Q5 or 22 pair.

Pair -- 33

Suited -- A2, K2, Q6, J8

Unsuited -- A2, K5, Q8,
JT

**Additional raises
with 3 or 5 community cards ** -- Unfortunately, there is no simple
way to explain optimal strategy for the additional raise decisions of Ultimate
Texas Hold'em, due to the large number of exceptions to general rules. Instead
I recommend using the Ultimate
Texas Hold'em Strategy Calculator, which compares the EV or raising to
checking/folding and returns the highest EV decision. Once you get a feel
for the game, you will recognize hands that a large portion of hands are obvious,
and you'll only need to use the calc for a small minority of hands.

**House Edge**

Under standard rules, the house edge of Ultimate Texas Hold'em is 2.18%, when defining house edge in terms of the ante bet (not the total ante + blind initial bet). The house edge per full initial bet (ante + blind) is 1.09%. The average bet size is 4.15x the initial ante bet (or 2.08x the full initial ante+blind bet), making the house edge per unit wagered 0.53%. The latter value of 0.53% is more appropriate for estimating expected loss while completing a wagering requirement.

**Variance**

The standard deviation per ante bet (not the total ante + blind initial bet) of Ultimate Texas Hold'em is 4.94. When defined in terms of the full initial bet (ante + blind), the standard deviation is 2.47. The average bet size is 4.15x the initial ante bet, making the standard deviation per unit wagered 2.42 if a unit is defined as the ante bet size (or 1.71 if a unit is the full initial bet of ante+blind). The standard deviation per wager is more appropriate for estimating range of return while completing a wagering requirement than standard deviation per hand.

The calculators on this site assume house edge, variance, and bet size are defined in terms of the ante bet, rather than the full intial (ante + blind) bet. When estimating variance over a wagering requirement using the return & variance calculator or return & variance simulators, enter a bet size that is the size of the ante bet.

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