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A Beginner’s Guide to Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker

An Introduction to Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker 

Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker is one of the most popular forms of casino poker. One of the reasons for this is that it bears many similarities to its namesake Texas Hold’em. The game sees players take on the house, and it offers a number of bonus bets, which can lead to huge winnings. 

The game does not take long to learn and it is possible to use certain elements of strategy to reduce the house edge. Essentially, players need to form a stronger poker hand than the dealer in order to win, and all of the rules are explained in this guide, so that you can start playing in no time at all.  

How to Play Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker 

At the start of a round, players need to place two different bets, the Ante and the Blind. These bets are always the same size, so if you bet €1 on the Ante, the Blind will be €1 and your total bet will be €2. Once the bets have been placed, the dealer deals two face down cards to the player and two cards to themselves.  

After players have examined their cards, they have three options: Check, which means no action is taken, Bet 3x the ante, or Bet 4x the ante. If a player chooses to bet either 3x or 4x the Ante, the dealer will deal the Flop, the Turn and the River without the player having any further betting options. If the player chooses to Check, then the dealer will deal the first three community cards (the Flop), and players can choose to Check or Bet 2x the Ante. If the player chooses Check again, then the dealer deals the final two cards (the Turn and the River), and the final betting round takes place. In the final round, it is possible to bet 1x the Ante or to Fold. Check is not possible once the River has been dealt.  

At the end of a round, all of the cards are revealed. In order for the dealer to qualify, they must be holding at least a Pair. If the dealer does not qualify, then ante bets are returned to the player with no profit.  

When a round begins, players have only placed the Blind and Ante bets. However, by the end of a round, Players will have at least one Ante bet in the Play field as all bets during the hand are added to the Play section. When the round is over, if the player beats the dealer and the dealer has qualified, all the Play bets and the Ante bet are paid at 1:1.  

The Blind bet pays out if the player beats the dealer with a hand that is a Straight or better. It pays 1:1 for a Straight, 3:2 for a Flush, 3:1 for a Full House (also known as a Boat), 10:1 for Four of a Kind (Quads), 50:1 for a Straight Flush, and 500:1 for a Royal Flush. If the hand was not one of these, then the Blind bet is returned as a Push.  

Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker Hands 

Ultimate Texas Hold’em is not a complicated game and you are sure to grasp it after playing a round or two. However, at each stage of a round, when you decide whether to Check or bet more, it is vital that you are aware of the type of poker hand you are holding or believe that you can make. Therefore, it is important to spend some time studying the different types of poker hand, so that you can spot them with ease. The game uses the standard poker hands and there are just ten of them. From strongest to weakest they are:  

  • Royal Flush – This is the strongest hand possible and it contains the cards 10, J, Q, K and A all from the same suit.  
  • Straight Flush – This is five cards in numerical order from the same suit; for example, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 of Spades.  
  • Four of a Kind – This is a hand that contains four cards of same value, such as 4 Diamonds, 4 Clubs, 4 Spades, 4 Hearts.  
  • Full House – This is a hand that consists of three of a kind together with a pair, for example, three 7s and two Js, the suit is irrelevant.  
  • Flush – This is a hand of five cards from the same suit, for example, J, 5, 2, 4 and 10 of Spades. 
  • Straight – This is five cards in numerical order, the suit is not important. For example, 6 Hearts, 7 Spades, 8 Diamonds, 9 Clubs, and 10 Hearts.  
  • Three of a Kind – This is three cards of the same value and two unrelated cards. For example, 3 Hearts, 3 Clubs, 3 Diamonds, 5 Spades and 9 Hearts.  
  • Two Pair – This is a hand that contains two individual pairs of cards and one unrelated card. For example, 2 Spades, 2 Hearts, 4 Diamonds, 4 Spades, 9 Hearts.  
  • One Pair – This is a hand that contains two matching cards and three unrelated cards. For example, Jack Spades, Jack Clubs, 3 Diamonds, 6 Clubs, 4 Hearts.  
  • High Card – If a hand does not contain any of the above, then it is judged according to the highest value card in it.  

If the player and dealer have hands of the same strength, then the winner is determined by who holds the highest card. For example, a hand of 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (which is a Straight), will beat a 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Straight. Similarly, a Jack-high flush will beat a 10-high flush. 

Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker Side Bets 

Many versions of Ultimate Texas Hold’em offer at least one side bet. Side bets are optional bets that give players the chance to win more money. They can be a great deal of fun and some of them truly give you the chance of enormous winnings. 

The most common side bet in Ultimate Texas Hold’em is the Trips bet. You can place the bet at the beginning of a round and it is possible to win the side bet even if you lose the round. The side bet pays out as long as your hand contains at least a Three of a Kind (Trips). The exact paytable may vary from casino to casino, but often it will pay 3:1 for Trips, 4:1 for a Straight, 7:1 for a Flush, 9:1 for Boats (full house), 30:1 for Quads (Four of a Kind), 40:1 for a Straight Flush, and 50:1 for a Royal Flush. 

Some games will also offer a progressive jackpot side bet. A portion of this side bet is contributed to the jackpot pool, and it is possible for the pool to grow very big. The progressive jackpot is usually won if you form a Royal Flush with your two hole cards and the first three community cards. Furthermore, often it is possible to win smaller payouts for weaker hands, such as 10% of the jackpot for a Straight Flush. 

Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker Strategy 

One of the most attractive things about Ultimate Texas Hold’em is that there is a mathematically optimal strategy that you can use to reduce the house edge. Even better, you do not need to understand the maths in order to follow the strategy. The full strategy is fairly long and you can find it elsewhere; however, if you follow the following tips, then you will come very close to playing with optimal strategy. 

Pre-Flop Strategy 

There are not many options before the Flop in Ultimate Texas Holde’m, so the strategy is very simple to remember. Just follow these rules: 

  • Raise to 4x with all hands containing an Ace 
  • Raise to 4x with K5+ and K2s – K4s 
  • Raise to 4x with Q8+ as well as Q6s and Q7s 
  • Raise to 4x with JT+ and J8s and J9s 
  • Raise to 4x with all pairs of 3 or better 

In the above rules, the ‘s’ means that the cards are suited. If your hand does not fit into any of those rules, then simply Check and wait for the next betting round. Importantly, at this point there is never a reason to choose the 3x raise. 

Post-Flop Strategies 

After the Flop has been dealt, you need to decide whether to Check or go for the 2x bet. There are just two tips to remember: 

  • Bet 2x on the flop if you have two pair or better, a hidden pair (with one community and one whole card) that’s better than a pair of 2s, or four to a flush 
  • On the river, bet 1x if you have a hidden pair or better or if the dealer has fewer than 21 outs that can beat your hand 

If you are not familiar with poker odds and outs, then you can spend some time practising. Essentially, you need to know how many cards in the deck could help the dealer beat your hand. If the number is less than 21, then you can bet on the River, otherwise you should fold on anything weaker than a hidden pair.  

If you follow these rules, then you will be able to bring the house edge down to between 1% and 2%.  

To Conclude 

Ultimate Texas Hold’em is a fantastic choice for all poker fans. It combines strategy and luck, while offering the chance of big wins. Furthermore, it is an excellent way of practicing poker skills for when you do take on other players. Start playing using the above tips, and we are sure that you will have a great time.  

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