Casino Hold'em is a simplified casino version of the hugely popular poker game Texas Hold'em, with the major difference being that it is played only between the dealer and the player. Like in the traditional poker form of Texas Hold'em, you must decide whether you think you can beat the dealer by making the best possible 5 card hand out of the 7 cards dealt. You also have the opportunity of playing an 'Aces or better' side bet if you're feeling lucky for a shot at extra winnings.
How to play Casino Hold'em
The game begins with the player making an ante bet as well as an optional AA or better side bet. You and the dealer then are each dealt two cards and the 'flop' of three shared cards are dealt to the middle of the table. Two options are then presented to you - you can either fold, forfeiting your ante bet and possible AA side bet, or you can call by placing an additional bet which is equal to double your ante. The 'turn' and 'river' cards are then dealt to the centre of the table and each player makes the best five card hand possible out of the seven cards shown. Four results are possible:
- The dealer fails to qualify (with a pair of 4s or better). In this case the ante bet pays according to the paytable and the call bet pushes.
- The dealer qualifies, but you have a better hand. In this case you win on ante according to the paytable and the call bet pays 1:1.
- The dealer qualifies and has a hand equal to yours. Both your bets push in this scenario.
- The dealer qualifies and has a stronger hand than you - you lose both of your bets.
The pair of aces or better side bet adds an interesting element. When making your bet, you may choose to place between $1 and $50 in the AA pot. If you end up making a pair of aces or better, you receive either sevenfold or twenty-fivefold your bet. As usual with table game side bets, the house edge is considerably higher on the aces or better bet.
Casino Hold'em strategy
Calculating an optimal strategy for this game is very difficult as the optimal decision is based on the combination of all seven cards dealt. Unlike a regular game of Texas Hold'em Poker, you should only be looking to fold the worst 18% of hands - playing tight will not win you this game! The following rules help:
- Always raise with a pair, an Ace high or King high.
- Always raise with a flush draw or straight draw (open ended or gutshot).
- Always raise with two over cards (i.e. your two cards are higher than the 3 visible on the board).
- Raise with a Queen or Jack high unless the board is single suit and you don't have a matching suit.
- Fold against a paired board (eg 559) when you only have a 10 high or worse, unless you have a straight or flush draw.
- Fold unpaired low cards (eg 73) that don't leave you with a chance of a straight or flush draw.