Casino Hold'Em Guide
Casino Hold’em, also known as Caribbean Hold’em, was introduced to casinos in 2000 by Stephen Au-Yeung. The game is now played in live casinos around the world, first appearing in Egypt, Russia and South Africa. In 2002 the game was shown at the International Casino Exhibition held in London, UK. It was licensed for use in the UK in 2007. This game is also offered at over 500 online casinos using Net Entertainment, Real Time Gaming, Playtech and Galewind software.
Online this game is based on the traditional multi-player Texas Hold’em, but in Casino Hold’em you are playing against the house rather than against other players. If the dealer qualifies you are in a straight contest with the dealer’s hand. The game offers an AnteWin Bonus and you have option to place a side bet as well.
How to Play Casino Hold'em
The game begins with you (and any other players) making an Ante bet and/or an optional AA side bet. You and the dealer are then dealt two cards face down. Three community cards are dealt to the table, known as the Flop. After checking the cards dealt to you, you need to decide to either fold your hand and lose your ante bet, or call by placing an additional bet double the size of your ante bet.
If you have called the dealer will deal two more community cards to the board, totalling five cards. You and the dealer will then put together the best five card poker hand from the two cards dealt to you and the five on the board. Your hand is then compared to the dealer's.
The dealer must have at least a pair of fours or better to qualify.
- If the dealer does not qualify the ante bet pays according to the ante pay table and the call bet is a push (there isn’t a win or lose).
- If the dealer has qualified and your hand is stronger then the dealers, the ante bet pays according to the ante pay table and call bet pays 1:1.
- If your hand is equal to the dealer’s all bets are pushed.
Casino Hold'em payouts
In Casino Hold’em you do not only win a standard 1:1 sum if you have the stronger hand, but for some hands you can win even more. The most common ante paytable is usually the following:
- Royal Flush - 100:1
- Straight Flush - 20:1
- Four of a Kind - 10:1
- Full House - 3:1
- Flush - 2:1
A side bet, the AA Bonus, is based on the poker value of the player’s two cards and the first three cards from the flop. It pays out the following:
- Royal Flush - 100:1
- Straight Flush - 50:1
- Four of a Kind - 40:1
- Full House - 30:1
- Flush - 20:1
- Pair of aces to a Straight - 7:1
Casino Hold'em house edge and optimal strategy
The house edge, excluding the side bet, is around 2.16% for the ante paytable listed above. Some casinos tweak the paytable slightly, but generally speaking the game's house edge ranges from 2 - 2.4%.
Calculating an optimal strategy for this game is very difficult as the optimal decision is based on the combination of all seven cards dealt. A computer can do the elaborate calculations for correct play, but it is difficult to make a set of general rules like they exist for Blackjack. 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 will assist:
- 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.