How to Play Ultimate Texas Hold’em

Ultimate Texas Hold’em is one of the most popular poker table games. Most casinos with a pit offer it. Ultimate Texas Hold’em is based on the most popular game dealt in poker rooms. It has some differences. Most notably, each player is trying to beat the dealer, not other players. 

Heads Up Hold’em and Ultimate Texas Hold’em are similar games. You can read how to play Heads Up Hold’em here. Some online casinos do not have Ultimate Texas Hold’em. Instead, these casino sites have Caribbean Hold’em. It is a simplified version of the game. The rules are in a section below.

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Buying into an Ultimate Texas Hold’em game

Players at an Ultimate Texas Hold’em table need chips. You may bring those from another game or drop cash on the table. The dealer will pick the cash up from the table, count it, and turn it into chips. Minimum bets usually start at $5 or $10 for Ultimate Texas Hold’em, so most chips will be red $5 ones. 

Ultimate Texas Hold'em table at Plaza in Las Vegas, Nevada

How to make a bet at Ultimate Texas Hold’em

The first step in playing a hand of Ultimate Texas Hold’em is making a bet. This is done by making two separate wagers. One goes on the ante. The other is a blind. These bets must be equal. 

How to play a hand of Ultimate Texas Hold’em

Once the bets are established, each player receives two cards. The dealer also gets two cards. Five community cards are placed in the center. These are dealt face down. 

Players may look at their two cards. The option is to either check or raise four times the ante. There is an option to only raise three times the ante here. However, that is never the proper play.

If the player raises the preflop, the cards are placed in front of the bet. Preflop raisers have no more action in a hand of Ultimate Texas Hold’em. Players that check will need to make at least one decision later in the hand.

The dealer shows the flop. This contains three of the five community cards. These cards are shared by all players and the dealer. Players that did not raise before the flop decide whether to raise double the ante or check. Players that raise should place their cards in front of the bets. There are no more decisions to make during this hand for these players. 

Once the flop bets are established, the dealer shows the turn and the river together. At this point, players that did not raise before or after the flop must decide whether to bet an amount equal to the ante or fold. If the player folds, the cards are given to the dealer. All bets are lost. If the player raises, place the cards in front of the chips.

Dealer must qualify for ante to play

The dealer will then show the house hand and determines its strength before resolving the bets. If the dealer does not have at least a pair, the dealer does not qualify. The ante pushes and is returned to the player. 

The blind and raise are still in play, even if the dealer does not qualify. If the dealer has at least a pair, the ante is in play. 

How bets are resolved at Ultimate Texas Hold’em

The dealer’s hand is compared to each player’s hand. If the dealer beats the player, the house wins the ante, blind and raise. If the player beats the dealer, the ante and raise are paid. The blind pushes on most Ultimate Texas Hold’em wins. If the player makes a straight or higher, it has an additional payout.

Ultimate Texas Hold’em blind pay table

The amount bet on the blind is multiplied by the number in the pay table to determine the payout. For example, a player with a $5 blind bet that makes four of a kind wins $50 as that is 10 times the $5 bet. 

  • Royal flush: 500
  • Straight flush: 50
  • Four of a kind: 10
  • Full house: 3
  • Flush: 1.5
  • Straight: 1

Ultimate Texas Hold’em side bets

The main side bet at an Ultimate Texas Hold’em table is for trips. A common pay table for it is as follows. The player must make at least three of a kind for this bet to win. Any hand lower than trips loses. The amount wagered is multiplied by the pay table amount. 

The player can still win the trips bet, even if the dealer wins the hand. If the board has three of a kind on it, and you want to fold your kickers, make sure that the dealer knows to pay your trips bet.

  • Royal flush: 50
  • Straight flush: 40
  • Four of a kind: 30
  • Full house: 8
  • Flush: 7
  • Straight: 4
  • Three of a kind: 3

You may find pay tables that pay 6 on a flush and 5 on a straight. That one is slightly better than the one above. The best pay table offers 9 on a full house and 7 on a flush. 

Another common side bet is the $1 progressive jackpot. This hits when a player makes a royal flush using at least one hole card. All other players that made the progressive bet win a $100 envy when this occurs. It pays $1,000 if the board makes a royal flush. The other payouts are:

  • Straight flush: $250
  • Four of a kind: $75
  • Full house: $10

You may find that the progressive jackpot bet is $5. When this occurs, multiply all payouts by $5. 

Ultimate Texas Hold’em strategy

There are three parts of learning Ultimate Texas Hold’em strategy. These are preflop, after the flop and at the river. It is important to know each step to receive the best Ultimate Texas Hold’em payback, which is about 0.5% with perfect play. 

Preflop strategy

The most important preflop strategy to learn is that there is never a reason to raise three times before the flop, even though it is permitted. If it is worth the raise, it is worth going four times the ante here.

The easiest way to remember the preflop strategy is to raise any of the following:

  • All pocket pairs, except deuces
  • All hands that contain an ace
  • All hands that would equal 20 in blackjack
  • All hands containing a king, except for with an unsuited 2, 3 or 4
  • Any queen with 8 or 9
  • Suited queen with 6 or 7
  • Suited jack and 8

Strategy after the flop

After the flop, raise in any of these situations if you did not raise preflop:

  • Any pair or better not on the board, except pocket deuce
  • Any four-card flush when the player holds a card for it that is at least a 10

River strategy

The river is a chance to try and bail out a poor hand. It is important to know what hands will beat you here. Play any hand:

  • With at least a pair where a hole card is part of that pair or better
  • If there are at least 21 cards that the dealer could have and beat you.

It is important to count the possible ways to lose to the dealer with an unpaired hand. Kickers can win in this situation. Count any card the dealer could have that would beat you, including flush and straight draws, as well as kickers.

Caribean Hold’em rules

Caribbean Hold’em plays like Ultimate Texas Hold’em. The goal in both games is to beat the dealer with your two hole cards. However, the betting is simpler. The player makes an ante and blind wager. Two cards are dealt to the dealer and player. The flop is shown. The player has the option to raise an amount equal to the ante or fold. The dealer must have at least a pair of fours to qualify. It can be on the board. The ante pushes if the dealer does not qualify.

There is a $1 progressive side bet in Caribbean Hold’em. It pays based on the following table. The progressive jackpot connects with Caribbean Stud Poker, when available. The hand must be made on the flop. If the turn or river card is needed to make a jackpot hand, it does not qualify.

  • Royal flush: 100% of the progressive jackpot
  • Straight flush: 10% of the progressive jackpot
  • Four of a kind: $500
  • Full house: $100
  • Flush: $75

Last Updated on July 7, 2023 by John Mehaffey