Ultimate Texas Holdem Poker Strategy: How to Play & Win?

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Ultimate Texas Hold'em is one of the most popular live and online casino games for poker players.

One big reason is that if you know what you are doing, playing with the right Ultimate Texas Hold'em strategy, it has one of the lowest house edges of any casino game.

But what is the best Ultimate Texas Hold'em strategy? PokerNews has collected all there is to know for you in understanding this exciting game, ensuring you're optimally prepared to win big at the tables.

Half the battle is just knowing the basic rules of Texas Hold’em, particularly the hand rankings, which are common in most poker games. Read on for details on how to play and to find your best Ultimate Texas Hold'em Strategy.

Brand new to video poker? Check out our specialist beginner's guide to Video Poker, which will teach you all the basics you need to know!

How to Play Ultimate Texas Hold'em

Before we dive deeper into the strategy, it's imperative to know the basic rules of the game. Usually, you can play Ultimate Texas Hold'em at a casino with up to six players and a dealer (also known as the house).

The game utilizes a standard 52-card deck. Although online, you will find many 'heads-up games' where you will compete one-on-one against the house.

Each player must post an ante and a blind before each hand begins. You will see posted minimums and maximums. Keep in mind that your bet must be the same for both of these and that it will also serve as a base for other bets as the hand progresses.

Therefore, we recommend when first getting your feet wet to bet as small as possible to further the power of your bankroll. You can always adjust with higher bets once you feel comfortable that you have optimized your game.

There are also optional side bets which can vary from casino to casino including the Trips bet you can place before the hand is dealt which we will get into later.

ultimate texas hold'em table

Remember, hand rankings are the exact same as Texas Hold’em.

Check out our detailed description of How to Play Hold'em to brush up on Hold'em hand rankings.

You can decide to bet three times or four times the Ante and place the bet into the Play box or check before the flop comes.

A flop is then dealt, and you will have an option whether to bet the Ante bet two times or check once again.

ultimate texas holdem flop

The turn and river are dealt one after the other, and you will have one last option on whether to place a bet equal to the Ante in the Play box or to fold the hand.

ultimate texas holdem turn & river

There is a bit of basic strategy that you should either memorize or have a chart with you while playing to best optimize when to bet in the Play box, when to check, and when to fold.

Players that folded after the river was dealt will automatically lose their Ante and Blind bet.

Those remaining in the hand will turn over their cards, as will the dealer. If you have a better Texas Hold'em hand than the dealer, you win the play bet for the same amount as your bet.

The Blind bet can also only be won if you have won the hand. Assuming this is the case, it is paid out on a sliding scale and can be worth as much as 50 to 1 for a straight flush. However, if you don’t have a straight or better, you will simply just get your bet back as a push.

Here is a look at the potential different payouts of the Blind bet, which can vary slightly from casino to casino.

Ultimate Texas Hold'em Payouts Table

Royal flush500 to 1
Straight flush50 to 1
Four of a kind10 to 1
Full House3 to 1
Flush3 to 2
Straight1 to 1
All OtherPush

The Ante bet is a bit trickier. If the dealer doesn’t qualify with at least a pair, you will get your Ante refunded as a push. This is the case whether you had a better hand or not, as long as you didn’t fold your hand.

If the dealer qualified with a pair or better, you must beat the dealer to win this even-money bet.

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Best Ultimate Texas Hold'em Strategy

You should quickly get the hang of the rules of Ultimate Texas Hold'em by reading the rules above and potentially watching a few hands being played.

However, we don’t recommend that you hop right into Ultimate Texas Hold'em until you learn some basic strategy, as it could turn out to be a nightmare to play based on gut feeling.

For example, if you decide to blindly bet four times your bet in the Play box every hand, you will be subject to a house edge of around 14%. Likewise, if you aren’t betting at the correct times, you will also increase the house edge.

You should always bet the maximum allowed in the Play box before the flop when you bet. The following chart should serve as a guide to when you should place a bet in the Play box and when you should fold preflop.

  • B = Bet four times in Play box
  • C = Check
  • S = Bet four times in Play box if suited, otherwise check

The strategy gets a little easier if you don’t bet pre-flop. You should bet two times on the flop in the Play box if you have two pair or better, a hidden pair, or a flush draw with a hidden ten or better. A hidden pair means that there isn’t a pair on the board, and you are using one or more of your hole cards to create that pair.

River strategy can be particularly tricky. It is easy to memorize what to do, but not always easy to make the optimal play in real time.

Place a bet equal to your Ante bet if you have a hidden pair or better or the dealer has less than 21 outs to beat you. After some practice, determining how many outs the dealer has to beat you will become more second nature, but take your time at first as it’s your money, and the game typically doesn’t have a time limit, with the exception of some multiplayer online games.

5 Pillars of a Great Ultimate Texas Hold'em Strategy

Mastering the below strategies will enhance your decision-making at the tables, ensuring you're well-positioned for the most rewarding and enjoyable gaming experience.

That's why our experienced team of casino veterans has collected the best tips for you to help you dominate at the table.

Without further ado, here are the top five tips from PokerNews that are essential to know before you dive into Ultimate Texas Hold'em:

1) Manage Your Bankroll Wisely

If you're new to Ultimate Texas Hold'em, it's best to start with a modest bankroll and avoid the high-stakes games.

Starting out at lower stakes ensures you're enjoying your time at the tables longer, allowing you to understand the intricacies of the game without risking significant losses.

2) Follow Optimal Raise Strategies

Stick to the aforementioned raise when holding strong hands (pairs of 3s or better) and "check" with weaker hands.

Don't blindly bet your hands! The house edge can increase to 14%(!) of you do so. Following this strategy helps you minimize losses on uncertain hands.

3) Avoid Side Bets If The Payout Isn't Good

As tempting as those side bets are, it's best to steer clear of most of them if you're new to the game. While they offer high payouts, the odds are against you. Instead, focus on the main game.

Expert players can deduce if an edge on a side bet is worth it to play it (see above on the Trips bet). Generally speaking, though, it's best to avoid getting involved in side action.

4) Learn Basic Poker Hands

Understanding traditional poker hands is crucial when it comes to playing Ultimate Texas Hold'em. Luckily, PokerNews is your one-stop-shop for all things poker, and you'll have all the poker rules right here at your fingertips. Understanding poker hand rankings helps you make better decisions playing Ultimate Texas Hold'em.

5) Observe Experienced Players

To become the best, you have to learn from the best. Watching more experienced players can provide valuable insights in how to play Ultimate Texas Hold'em. If you're new, pay attention to their strategies and decision-making processes to gain a better understanding of the game.

Ultimate Texas Hold'em Side Bets

Side bets are usually a way for online and live casinos to extract a little extra money per hand, spin, or dice roll at extremely bad odds.

This isn’t necessarily the case in Ultimate Texas Hold'em with its optional Trips bets that you will see on just about every table.

It all comes down to the odds that they are paying on the Trips bet as it could be an under 1% advantage for the house under optimal conditions if you can find them.

Your Trips bet can be a different amount than your Ante and Blind bets and is only paid if you wound up with trips or better. In almost every case, you are paid 3 to 1 for trips or a set and 50 to 1 if you nail down the elusive Royal Flush.

What you should be looking for if considering to place a Trips bet is a bet table similar to the one below, which gives the house less than a 1% advantage.

Royal Flush50
Straight Flush40
Four of a Kind30
Full House9
All Others-1

Other payout tables might look similar, with a Royal Flush paying 50 to 1 and trips paying 3 to 1. However, some more minor differences in the middle of the pay table can make a big difference.

For example, the pay table below would give the house a more than 6% advantage and should be avoided at all costs.

Royal Flush50
Straight Flush40
Four of a Kind20
Full House7
All Others-1

There are other side bets that online and live casinos make available, including hole card bonuses and bad beat jackpots.

In general, any side bet that isn’t the Trips bet gives the house a huge house edge and, therefore, should be avoided.

One exception might be in the case of progressive jackpots where the jackpot is high enough to make the house edge low and, in some cases, even give the player an advantage. One pitfall even here is that the jackpots are few and far between and thus will likely cost you money unless you hit at least one jackpot in your lifetime.

ultimate texas holdem game

Reasons to play Ultimate Texas Hold'em

  • Low house edge of around 2% when following basic strategy
  • Fun to play alone or with friends
  • Similar to traditional Texas Hold'em Poker
  • Can play for just a few minutes
  • Potential to win big

Ultimate Texas Hold'em is a fun online and live casino game that can be played whether you have a few spare minutes or want to grind a long session.

The rules are easy to learn, and before long, it is possible to master the strategy of the game to reduce the house edge to approximately 2% in the base game.

While it isn’t likely you will become a long-term winner in this game without a bit of luck, it is more likely than many other games to have winning sessions and go on runs to win a chunk of change.

Best Online Casino Sites to Test Your Ultimate Texas Hold'em Strategy

There are plenty of real money online casinos offering Ultimate Texas Hold'em, either through their table game selection or as a live dealer game.

Find a full guide to The Best Online Casinos for Video Poker here!

Best Online Casinos for Ultimate Texas Hold'em US

FanDuel Casino is our pick for US players in states with legal gambling who want to play Texas Hold'em at a real money casino.

At FanDuel Casino, Ultimate Texas Hold'em players have the potential to receive enormous payouts, especially if you're lucky enough to build a good hand - the odds for a Royal Flush are 500:1, for example. This means, unlike in standard online poker, you are always lavishly rewarded if you have a monster hand.

Additional Texas Hold'em games at FanDuel Casino include Live Dealer Ultimate Texas Hold'Em and Texas Hold'Em Plus.

Not all US states offer legal online gambling, but luckily, our friends over at VGW Gaming have the perfect alternative for you. We encourage you to check out the offering at Chumba casino, which is a fantastic social casino app offering free poker games to casino players.

Chumba Casino operates under sweepstakes law and is completely legal in every US state (with the exception of Washington and Michigan). Also, it's always free to play at Chumba Casino through the innovative Gold Coins model, or enhance your playing experience though promotional play with Sweeps Coins, which can be redeemed for various prizes.

Best Online Casinos for Ultimate Texas Hold'em UK

Are you based in the UK and want to play Ultimate Texas Hold'em?

We recommend Sky Casino, one of the best online casinos in the UK with a fantastic selection of video poker games and Ultimate Texas Hold'em games.

With both live and online video poker tables on offer, and other great games like Jacks or Better, Sky Vegas is the place to be for all your video poker and Ultimate Texas Hold'em needs.

Top 5 Ultimate Texas Hold'em Tips to Win

Congratulations, you've made it all the way to the end of the article. With our strategic tips and gameplay advice, you should be ready to rock Ultimate Texas Hold'em in no time.

Before you dive into the action, here's a quick rundown of our top 5 winning tips. Good luck!

1) Bet Smart

Stick to a conservative 4x raise for strong hands and check the weaker ones. This minimizes your losses at the table.

2) Control Your Budget

Play smart and responsible — start with a modest bankroll and avoid the high-stakes games. As you grow more experienced and comfortable in playing the game, only then should you consider dipping into a higher-stakes game.

3) Play Quality Hands

Prioritize strong starting hands like pairs for better outcomes. Quality over quantity — play your good hands big, and your weaker hands cautiously.

4) Be Patient

Patience is the name of the game in Ultimate Texas Hold'em. Wait for opportune moments to capitalize on strong hands, and avoid rash and risky decisions with weaker holdings. A strategic and balanced playing style offers your best shot to win at the game.

5) Learn From Expert Players

If you're unsure what to do, studying and copying expert players is usually a sensible tactic. Follow their lead during more complex decision-making.

Our Ultimate Texas Hold'em Tips Checklist!
Our Ultimate Texas Hold'em Tips Checklist!

Ready to play Ultimate Texas Hold'em? Check out Sky Vegas, one of our recommended online casino rooms to play this exciting game!

Ultimate Texas Hold'em Strategy FAQs

What is Ultimate Texas Hold'em?

Ultimate Texas Hold'em is a reinvented variant of the classic poker game Texas Hold'em. In this variation, the player does not compete against other players. Instead, they play only against the dealer.

How to play Ultimate Texas Hold'em?

Ultimate Texas Hold'em is a table game played against the dealer, and is a variation of Texas Hold'em, with some key differences. To play Ultimate Texas Hold'em, you will need to make two mandatory bets: the ante and the blind. You can also place an optional Trips bet, which pays out if you hit a three-of-a-kind or better.
Once you have placed your bets, the dealer will deal you two cards face down and place five community cards face down in the center of the table. After this, the game moves into betting rounds, with each player deciding to 'check' or 'raise' depending on their hand. This is followed by the 'flop' where the dealer reveals the first three community cards.

What is the difference between Texas Hold'em and Ultimate Texas Hold'em?

Ultimate Texas Hold'em shares many similarities with traditional Texas Hold'em. However, the biggest difference is that you play exclusively against the dealer in Ultimate Texas Hold'em. And it's also worth noting that Ultimate Texas Hold'em is played at a table that looks much more like a Blackjack table.

What are the best hands in Ultimate Texas Hold'em?

The hand rankings in Ultimate Texas Hold'em are the same as in traditional Texas Hold'em poker, so from from highest (best) to lowest (worst): Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four-of-a-Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three-of-a-Kind, Two Pair, One Pair, High Card.

What is the best Ultimate Texas Hold'em strategy?

The best Ultimate Texas Hold'em strategy, in our humble opinion, is to play aggressively. This means that you should only play your best hands, and you should bet and raise when you have a strong hand.

Does Ultimate Texas Hold'em have good odds? What is the House Edge?

The game of Ultimate Texas Hold'em has one of the lowest house edges in the casino. it is possible to master the strategy of the game to reduce the house edge to approximately 2% in the base game.

How can you win at Ultimate Texas Hold'em?

It's important to note that although there are strategies to follow when playing Ultimate Texas Hold'em, there is no foolproof way to guarantee a win. You can, however, improve your chances of winning by learning the rules and applying different strategies when deciding to make bets. Also, keep in mind that Ultimate Texas Hold'em is a game of chance, and even the best players will lose sometimes. So, it's important to gamble responsibly and don't bet more than you can afford to lose.

How does the dealer's hand affect my Ultimate Texas Holdem strategy?

In Ultimate Texas Hold'em, you are trying to beat the dealer's hand. However, the dealer must have at least a pair to "qualify." If the dealer doesn't qualify, your Play bet is returned, and your Ante bet is paid even money. This aspect doesn't greatly affect your strategy but is important to remember for hand resolution.

Can I use bluffing in Ultimate Texas Hold'em?

Bluffing, a key element in traditional poker, is not a factor in Ultimate Texas Hold'em since you're playing against the dealer and not other players. Your decisions should be based purely on the strength of your hand and the probabilities involved.

Article last updated Nov 2023

Casino Content Executive
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