The mid-21st century was quite literally a boom period for Las Vegas, framed against the backdrop of nuclear testing out in the Nevada Desert. It also marked the first appearance of Texas Hold’em Poker on the Strip.
Now recognised as one of the most significant developments in casino gaming history, Texas Hold’em Poker is the variant of the card game that you’re most likely to encounter, whether that’s online or in scenes from your favourite movies and TV shows.
Of course, the intensity and high-stakes gameplay of Texas Hold’em isn’t for everybody – and the prospect of finding a handful of people to attend regular nights can be like pulling the proverbial teeth.
This is where Casino Hold’em comes in. It’s a contest of dealer vs. player that uses many of the standard Texas Hold’em rules in a quick-fire format. For instance, you’ll still be playing with a total of seven cards by the end of the game and the values of the hands remain the same.
So, let’s leave the dazzling lights of Las Vegas behind and outline the fundamentals of Casino Hold’em Poker. This is the game you can play from anywhere, including in the comfort of your own home. Once you have an understanding of the game’s basic rules, you’ll be ready to pick up tips and tricks to improve your strategy.
Casino Hold’em Rules
There are four betting rounds in the standard Texas Hold’em, interspersed by the addition of more cards to either the table or each player’s hand. Finally, the game ends with each participant trying to make the best hand possible. In contrast, Casino Hold’em condenses the length of the game by eliminating around half of the playing stages.
It’s worth noting that much of the terminology involved in Texas Hold’em is retained for this form of poker, which means that there’s still a learning curve involved in getting started. You’ll want to arm yourself with at least a basic understanding of poker before playing Casino Hold’em, as, otherwise, the dealer’s chances of winning are higher than they should be.
Playing a Hand of Casino Hold’Em
As a bit of an introduction, here’s a summary of how an average game of Casino Hold ’em Poker plays out. We’ll add in the names of the standard rounds, or Streets, a bit later, as they’re still relevant to this variant of poker. Here is how an example game of Casino Hold ‘Em at Casino.com is played:
1. An entry bet is placed. (The player can also make an AA Bonus bet if desired)
2. The player and dealer get two cards.
3. Three cards are placed onto the table, face-up.
4. The player must decide to bet or surrender.
5. If betting, a wager must be placed of at least 2x the value of the entry bet.
6. A fourth and fifth card is placed on the table, face up.
7. The strongest hand wins.
By the end of the game, all players have access to seven total cards to play with. These are the table cards, also known as shared or Community cards, and the two cards they were dealt at the outset.
Just to keep you on top of all the complexities of poker, here is the previous step-by-step in the proper parlance:
1. The Ante bet is placed.
2. Two Hole cards are dealt.
3. The Flop is dealt.
4. The player must decide to Call or Fold.
5. A Raise bet is made.
6. The Turn and River are dealt.
7. The Showdown begins
It’s not as complicated as it might seem. All these terms simply refer to either a betting round or a dealing stage. If you’re making your first foray into Casino Hold’em, don’t worry – the dealer or software can help.
Differences Between Texas Hold’em and Casino Hold’em
What are the differences between Casino and Texas Hold’em? In brief:
• There’s only one betting round, instead of four.
• The Turn and the River cards (fourth and fifth Community cards) are dealt at the same time.
• Playing against the casino means that there’s a house edge applied, of between 2% and 2.5%.
In Casino Hold’em, you can also forget about things like bluffing, player positions, personalities, and behaviour. This is Texas Hold’em stripped down to the chassis. If you’re interested in other versions of the game, though, there are a lot of other things to learn from the poker world, including variants like 3 Card Poker and 3 Card Brag.
Card Values and Hand Rankings
Card rankings are arguably the most important aspect of Casino Hold’em, mostly because they determine your chances of winning. In this version of poker, the card values are A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 (strongest to weakest). An ace can also have a value of 1 in certain situations.
Due to the number of cards in play, there are more possible hand types in Hold’em than in one of the games we just mentioned, 3 Card Poker. From best to worst, they are:
|Royal Flush||A, K, Q, J, 10, same suit|
|Straight Flush||Any 5 cards in sequence, same suit|
|Four of a Kind||Four cards of same rank, any suit|
|Full House||Three cards, same rank and two cards, same rank|
|Flush||Any 5 cards, same suit|
|Straight||Five cards in sequence, any suit|
|Three of a Kind||Three cards, same rank, any suit|
|Two Pair||Two pairs of two cards, same rank, any suit|
|One Pair||Two cards, same rank, any suit|
|High Card||Anything else, highest value card in the hand (e.g. Ace-high)|
Once again, these hands are ranked strongest or most valuable to weakest. The objective of Casino Hold’em poker is to get to the Showdown (the final stage) with a strong hand. Be aware that the dealer will not qualify to play if they do not have a hand stronger than one pair of two fours. In this scenario, the player wins on the Ante bet only.
Types of Bets
As we hinted at earlier, betting in Casino Hold ’em is one area where the game differs from Texas Hold’em poker. You will only have a single decision to make when playing Casino Hold’em, namely, whether to Call or not after the Flop. In other forms of poker, you can also Check against other players’ hands, a decision that can inject a great deal of strategy into each betting round.
Casino Hold’em does offer a solitary side bet that can add an extra element to each game. We’ll discuss this next.
Hold’em Payouts and Odds
While Texas Hold’em is a highly variable game in terms of its wagers, prizes, and buy-ins, Casino Hold’em does have fixed odds and payouts, just like blackjack and roulette. As a standard rule, everything below a Straight is paid out at 1:1. This hand is the most likely outcome for players in Casino Hold’em.
Let’s take a moment here to explain exactly how the player can win in Casino Hold’em. Over the course of the game, you will place up to three bets. These are the Ante, Raise, and (optional) Bonus bets. It’s possible to win on all three of these wagers depending on how your hand compares to the dealer’s and whether or not they qualify.
|Dealer Qualifies?||Dealer Hand||Player Hand||Outcome|
|No||N/A||N/A||Ante bet pays out, Raise bet is returned|
|Yes||Loses||Wins||Ante bet pays out, Raise bet pays out|
|Yes||Tie||Tie||All bets returned|
|Yes||Wins||Loses||All bets lost|
A returned bet is known as a ‘Push’.
Now, let’s consider what the payouts are per the hand created:
|Raise||Royal Flush||100:1||31,000 to 1|
|Straight Flush||20:1||3,200 to 1|
|Four of a Kind||10:1||600 to 1|
|Full House||3:1||39 to 1|
|Flush||2:1||33 to 1|
|Straight or Lower||1:1||Varied|
|Bonus||Royal Flush||100:1||650,000 to 1|
|Straight Flush||50:1||72,000 to 1|
|Four of a Kind||40:1||4,200 to 1|
|Full House||30:1||695 to 1|
|Flush||20:1||510 to 1|
|Other*||7:1||21-255 to 1|
*Straight (255 to 1), Three of a Kind (47 to 1), Two Pair (21 to 1), One Pair of aces (31 to 1).
The Bonus bet is based on the quality of a hand created from the two Hole cards and the three Community cards dealt during The Flop. However, as Casino Hold’em is an online casino game, the odds, house edge, payouts, and included features differ by manufacturer. In NetEnt games, for instance, the bonus bet is called the AA bet. You can win the bonus bet even if you don’t win the game or the croupier fails to qualify.
Plus, while the statistics of poker are extremely complex, to the extent that several books have been published on this and other areas of the game, you can get a handle on this with research and practice. Check out our Casino Hold’em strategy guide for more.
While poker basics are relatively easy to get to grips with, there’s no denying the fact that a combination of terminology and strategy makes the game seem like an exclusive club. This isn’t helped by the fact that millions of pounds or dollars trade hands at the highest level. Casino Hold’em, which was only invented at the turn of the current century, is designed as a fast-paced panacea to some of the issues associated with Texas Hold’em – from the perspective of a newcomer, at least.