Casino games based on Texas Hold'em

Introduction

To capitalise on the enormous popularity of Texas Hold'em Poker, casinos have devised games based on poker hands with a similar dealing structure. These casino games are not properly speaking poker variants, since the players do not play against each other but against the house. Therefore there is no scope for bluff: these are games of pure chance in which the house has a small edge.

Texas Hold'em Bonus

One such game is Texas Hold'em Bonus. The player places a bet and the player and the house each receive two hole cards. Then five shared cards are dealt in three stages as usual: a flop of 3 cards, a turn card and a river card. Before the flop the player must decide whether to fold or place an additional bet to continue. Before the turn and before the river the player has the option to place an additional bet (raise) or to continue without raising the stake (stand). Finally the house's two hole cards are revealed and the winner is determined.

In addition to the normal bet, the player may place a Bonus Bet which pays fixed odds for various sets of hole cards.

The Pogg's Texas Hold'em Bonus Guide provides more details of this game, analyses the house edge and provides a calculator for the optimal strategy.

Casino Hold'em Poker

In this game, introduced by Stephen Au-Yeung in 2001 and now played in several casinos, bets can only be placed at two stages of the game: before the deal and after the flop.

Before the deal players can play an ante bet to be dealt two hole cards. Then the face up three-card flop is dealt face up, after which they have the option either to fold, losing their ante, or to place a play bet, which is twice the amount of the ante bet. The final two table cards (equivalent to the turn and river) are then dealt, and the player's and the house's hole cards are shown. Each player and the house makes their best 5-card poker hand from the 7 cards available to them.

The house 'qualifies' with a pair of 4's or better.

  • If the house qualifies and the player has a better hand than the house, the player wins the ante bet at fixed odds using a pay table based on the player's hand, ranging from 1:1 (for a straight or less) up to 100:1 (for a royal flush). Also the player wins the pay bet at 1:1.
  • If the house qualifies and beats the player's hand, the house collects all bets.
  • If the house qualifies and ties with the player, the player's bets are returned.
  • If the house fails to qualify the player's play bet is returned and the ante bet is paid according to the fixed odds table.

The house advantage here stems from the fact that the house waits until after the turn and river and can then fold with a pair of 3's or worse, thus avoiding paying out on the 'play' bet which the player would often have won.

Before the deal the player can also place a bonus bet, which is simply a fixed odds bet on the 5-card hand formed by the player's two hole cards and the flop.

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