Texas Hold’em has taken the world by storm, becoming a television sensation and the most popular form of poker spread in casinos and poker rooms around the world. With the widespread recognition the game has, it’s no surprise that someone eventually adapted Texas Holdem to be used as a table game on the main casino floor. The result was Casino Hold’em, a game that takes the action of Texas Hold’em and turns it into a one-on-one showdown between the player and the dealer.
It even finds a way to incorporate some of the same strategic decision making that made the original Texas Hold’em so popular. The game even has a relatively low house edge, making it less of a gimmick designed to get poker players to try a table game, and more of a solid choice for any casino gambler looking to try a fun and challenging new game.
Casino Hold’em Rules
The goal of Casino Hold’em is to beat the dealer’s poker hand by making the best possible five-card hand out of the player’s two hole cards and the five community cards that may be used by the player or the dealer.
At online casinos like a hand begins with each player making an ante bet. Two cards are then dealt face down to each player and the dealer. Each player is allowed to examine their own cards. The dealer will also deal the first three community cards – known as the flop – face up on the table.
At this point, the player must make the decision to fold or call. If the player decides to fold, they lose their bet and forfeit their hand. If the player wishes to call, they must make a call bet of twice the size of their initial ante bet (in other words, if the ante bet was $1, the call bet would be $2). After all players have made their decisions, the dealer will then deal out the final two community cards. The dealer will also reveal his hand.
Each player’s hand is scored by making the best possible five-card poker hand out of any combination of their two cards and the five community cards. This means a player may use both, one, or neither of their cards, depending on what will give them the best hand. The dealer will make the same determination. The dealer requires a pair of fours or better to qualify. If the dealer does not qualify, each player remaining in the hand wins their ante bet based on the chart below, while call bets push. If the dealer does qualify, and the player can beat the dealer’s hand, the player again wins the ante bet according to the chart below, as well as winning even money on their call bet.
If the dealer qualifies and beats the player’s hand, then the player loses all bets. Ties between the player and dealer result in all bets ending in a push.
- Royal Flush: 100-1
- Straight Flush: 20-1
- Four of a Kind: 10-1
- Full House: 3-1
- Flush: 2-1
- Straight or Less: 1-1
Best Sites for Casino Hold’em
Online Casino Hold’em for Real Money
The game plays pretty much the same way online as it does in a live casino. However, there is one additional bet you might run into when you play Casino Hold’em for real money: a progressive side bet, similar to that seen at Caribbean Stud Poker tables.
The bet costs $1 to make, and pays based on the first five cards the player looks at (his hole cards, along with the first three community cards). If the player makes a sufficiently strong hand out of these five cards, they can win money from the progressive jackpot as follows:
Progressive Jackpot Pay Chart
- Royal Flush: 100% of Jackpot Amount
- Straight Flush: 10% of Jackpot Amount
- Four of a Kind: $500
- Full House: $100
- Flush: $75
For the record, the progressive jackpot is usually a poor bet for the player – but, of course, this depends on how much money is in the jackpot. If the jackpot amount ever reaches $230,000, this bet will have a positive expectation for the player, making it too good to pass up!
The optimal strategy for Casino Hold’em is extremely difficult to determine, due to the enormous number of possible combinations between the player’s two hole cards and the first three community cards. Obviously, this makes any sort of chart or simple rule for playing perfectly close to impossible.
However, some general advice can be given. It’s known that the optimal strategy requires the player to raise 82% of the time, and fold only 18% of the time. This means that players should only fold the very weakest hands they encounter during play. Hands that may deserve folds include those in which the player holds less than a pair, does not have overcards to the board, and has no realistic flush or straight draws.
Casino Hold’em Odds
If a player uses the perfect, optimal strategy and plays at a table with a pay chart like the one described above, the house edge in Casino Hold’em is about 2.16%. As we mentioned, working out the perfect strategy is virtually impossible, so in practice the house edge may be slightly higher – but only slightly, assuming the player is playing reasonably well and following our advice above.