The Ultimate Guide To Ultimate Texas Hold’em On The Strip

OTS Note: Texas Hold’em is not the traditional kidney-shaped table poker game that Vegas is immediately associated with. If you’re looking for that style of play, we have a Las Vegas Poker guide for that. If Pai Gow is more your style, we have a Pai Gow guide too.

Unlike many more games like Roulette and Baccarat, the reward for even a small Texas Hold’em bet can be enormous. $5 side bet can make you a millionaire when you play Ultimate Texas Hold’em on the Strip. With numerous side bets to get the adrenaline pumping and enough strategy to challenge the most thinking players, Ultimate Texas Hold’em has widespread appeal.

From the time he sees his hand, a wise player at any of the Las Vegas casinos can make only one bet in Ultimate Texas Hold’em. A skilled player knows when he’s ahead and when to cut his losses. He can check, and see the community cards for free, but that comes at a cost. The amount a player is allowed to wager decreases with each betting round. 

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Don’t be a flop, wait for the river! In Las Vegas

How to Play Ultimate Texas Hold’em

Players make equal-sized bets on the Ante and the Blind, and an optional Trips side bet to start the hand. Two cards are dealt face down to the players and the dealer. Five community cards are placed face down in front of the dealer. Players look at their cards and have the option to check or raise and make a Play bet 3x to 4x the size of their Antes. The dealer turns over the first three community cards, called the flop, and players who checked pre-flop have the option to check or raise to two times the size of their Ante. Players who have already bet have no choice but to check. The final two community cards are turned over and players who have checked twice must put in a raise the same size as their Ante, or fold and forfeit their Ante and Blind bets. Players who have bet must check, and the hand proceeds to showdown. The players and dealer make their best possible five-card hands according to traditional poker hand rankings using a combination of their hole cards and the five community cards.  

Selecting a Winner

The dealer must hold a pair or better for his hand to qualify. It also qualifies if the community cards pair. When the dealer’s hand doesn’t qualify, the player’s Ante bet is returned, but his Blind and Play bets remain active. The player wins even money on his Ante and Play bets when his five-card poker hand outranks the dealer’s qualifying hand. 

Blind Bet

When he beats the dealer with a straight or better, a player’s blind bet is paid out based on the strength of his hand. A winning Blind bet can be extremely profitable, much more so than the Ante which pays even money, or 1:1. A player’s Blind bet’s a push when he beats the dealer with less than a straight. 

Blind Bet Pay Table

  • HAND            PAYOUT
  • Royal Flush        500:1
  • Straight Flush        50:1
  • Four of a Kind        10:1
  • Full House        3:1
  • Flush            3:2
  • Straight        1:1

Summary of Ultimate Texas Hold’em Payouts

  • If the dealer doesn’t qualify, Ante bet is returned to the player. Blind and Play bets active.
  • The player wins even money on his Ante and Play bets when his hand outranks the dealer’s.
  • If the dealer’s hand beats the player’s, the player loses his Ante, Play and Blind bets.
  • Blind bet pays a straight or better based on hand strength.
  • If a player wins with less than a straight, the Blind bet pushes.
  • Ties end in a push.       
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Pocket kings to pocket the cash in Las Vegas

Trips Bonus Wager

When a player who makes this side bet is dealt three of a kind, he’s paid based on the table below. He’s eligible for the Trips Bonus whether he wins, ties or loses the hand. He gets paid for a winning hand even when he folds. The house edge is just under 2% when you make this wager.

Trips Bet Pay Table

  • HAND            PAYOUT
  • Royal Flush         50:1
  • Straight Flush         40:1
  • Four of a Kind     30:1
  • Full House         9:1
  • Flush             7:1
  • Straight         4:1
  • Three of a Kind     3:1
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Don’t get mixed up. Focus required for Las Vegas poker

6-Card Bonus

A player wins the 6-Card Bonus side bet if he beats the dealer with three of a kind or better. The player combines his two hole cards with four 6-Card Bonus cards to make the best possible five-card poker hand. The top four highest-ranking hands require six cards to complete. A player needs to make the Trips Bonus Wager to be eligible to bet on the 6-Card Bonus. The house edge on this side bet is 6.74%.

6-Card Bonus Pay Table

  • HAND            PAYOUT
  • 6-Card Royal Flush    $100,000
  • Royal Flush        1000:1
  • Straight Flush        200:1
  • Four of a Kind        100:1
  • Full House        20:1
  • Flush            15:1
  • Straight        9:1
  • Three of a Kind    8:1
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Raise the stakes. poker in Las Vegas

Hole Card Bonus

A side bet with a huge payday, the Hole Card Bonus pays out when you and the dealer have the same premium hand. Not available at all casinos, the Hole Card Bonus has a high 8.54% house edge. The Hole Card Bonus side bet can be found at the Ultimate Texas Hold’em tables at Flamingo Las Vegas.

Hole Card Bonus Pay Table

  • HAND                    PAYOUT
  • Both you and dealer have aces:     1000:1
  • You have aces:             30:1
  • AK suited:                 25:1
  • AQ or AJ suited:             20:1
  • AK off suit:                 15:1
  • JJ, QQ and KK:             10:1
  • AQ or AJ off suit:             5:1
  • Pairs 2s – 10s:             3:1   
Image of a pack of cards spread out in a non-uniform manner.
Who will have the upper hand playing Pai Gow Poker?

Bad Beat Bonus

Every poker player has suffered his fair share of bad beats. Maddening hands like when you’re way ahead with a nut flush and the river pairs, giving your opponent a full house. Or when you go all-in with what you thought was the nuts, only to discover your opponent has a well hidden four of a kind in his hand. Some poker rooms offer a bad beat bonus to curb the pain, and so do some Ultimate Texas Hold’em games. The side bet with a 14.79% house edge pays when either the player or dealer loses with three of a kind or better. The more devastating the loss, the higher the payout. While Las Vegas slot machines may be fun, they do not offer any incentive if your luck is going poorly.

Bad Beat Bonus Pay Table

  • Straight Flush        7,500 to 1
  • Four of a Kind        500 to 1
  • Full House        50 to 1
  • Flush            30 to 1
  • Straight        20 to 1
  • Three of a Kind    9 to 1
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Keep the fun going by getting a credit line in Las Vegas

Millionaire Progressive

In 2021, a guest at Venetian won over $1 million playing Ultimate Texas Hold’em. The guest, who wished to remain anonymous, made the Millionaire Progressive side bet for $5. The guest was dealt a spade royal flush for a $1,042,938 jackpot. When players make the $5 Millionaire Progressive side bet, only offered at Venetian and Palazzo, they qualify for an Envy Bonus that pays out when anyone at the table is dealt a straight flush or better.

Millionaire Progressive Pay Table

Royal Flush in Spades    Mega Progressive    $5,000 Envy Bonus

Royal Flush            Major Progressive    $2,000 Envy Bonus

Straight Flush            Minor Progressive    $1,000 Envy Bonus

Four of a Kind            $1,500   

Full House            $250   

Flush                $200   

Straight            $150   

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Can’t read my poker face? Try it out in Las Vegas

Progressive Jackpot

Other casinos, including Luxor Las Vegas, offer a Progressive Jackpot side bet, also with an Envy Bonus. When someone at the table is dealt Ace/King/Queen of spades, the other players win a $100 bonus. When another player is holding a royal flush in any other suit, his tablemates win a $25 bonus. Pay tables vary widely from one casino to the next, but it takes a full house or better to win the Progressive side bet.

HAND                    PAYS

Ace/King/Queen of Spades        100% of the Progressive Jackpot

Ace/King/Queen of any Other Suit     10% of the Progressive Jackpot

Straight Flush              200:1

Four of a Kind             100:1

Full House                 10:1

A man with cards falling around him
See how the chips fall, on the strip

Ultimate Texas Hold’em Odds

At 2.2% when calculated separately, the house advantage on the Ante and Blind bets is relatively low. The majority of the casino’s profit in Ultimate Texas Hold’em comes from high risk side bets. Experts advise avoiding side bets altogether, but if you’re determined to make one, stick with the Trips Bonus Wager. After hitting the tables, be sure to to check out the best sportsbooks in Vegas for even more action.

Ultimate Texas Hold’em Strategy

Much like Blackjack, players of Ultimate Texas Hold’em can turn the odds in their own favor. To minimize the house edge, bet early and aggressively with your best hands. Optimal strategy says to raise 4x your Ante before the flop with the premium hands listed below.

  • Pair of 3s or better
  • All aces
  • Any suited king
  • K5+
  • Q6 suited and higher
  • Q8+
  • J8 suited and higher
  • JT+

When the first three community cards are revealed, raise 2x the size of your Ante with the hands listed below. Check all other hands.

  • Two pair or better
  • Hidden pair 3s or better: A pair made up of one hole card and one community card
  • Four to a flush

When the final two community cards, the turn and the river are exposed, put in a raise the same size as your ante with any hidden pair or better.

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Play your cards right at The Strat, Las Vegas

Where to Play Ultimate Texas Hold’em on the Strip

Ultimate Texas Hold’em is offered at many casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, with minimum bets typically ranging between $10 and $25. The best deal on the Strip is at Luxor where the minimum bet is a low $5. The games are fun and fast paced at New York New York where the minimum bet is $10, and at Aria and Treasure Island where the minimum is $15 during off peak hours. 

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