What is Casino Hold’em?

Casino Hold’em is a card game that puts a unique spin on the popular poker variant Texas Hold ‘em.  The game was created by Stephen Au-Yeung in 2000, first going live in the casinos of Egypt, Russia and South Africa.  Today, it is played in more than hundred land-based casinos around the world and a countless number of online casinos.

Object of the Games

Casino Hold ‘em is very similar to Texas Hold ‘em.  The key difference is that it is essentially a house game, meaning that instead of competing against other players, you are playing against the casino.  The overall goal of the game is to beat the dealer by assembling the best hand possible out of your two initial cards and five community cards.  If your hand has a greater value than the dealer’s, you win.  Similar to Texas Hold ‘em, winnings vary depending on the hand you assemble.  Casino Hold’em also offers an added level of excitement by placing a side wager, a bet that pays out if a pair of aces or better is dealt within the initial five cards.

Antes and Side Bets

What makes Casino Hold’em such as desirable game is that not only is the player paid out at the standard rate of 2 to 1 if they have a better hand, but also higher winnings for rare poker hands.  The payout table for this game is typically as follows:

Royal Flush – 100 to 1

Straight Flush – 20 to 1

Four-of-Kind – 10 to 1

Full House – 3 to 1

Flush – 2 to 1

Straight or less – 1 to 1

Also known as AA+ bonus bets, side bets are paid out based on the value of your two initial cards and three community cards.  A Royal Flush usually payouts at 100 to 1, a Straight Flush 50 to 1, Four-of-a-Kind 40 to 1, Full House 30 to 1, Flush 20 to 1, and a Straight 7 to 1.  Take note that the pay structure may be different depending on where you play, a factor that often means the house has a greater edge.

House Advantage

In Casino Hold’em, the house edge, not including the side bet, will vary greatly depending on the rules enforced by the casino operator.  However, most pay tables are structured to show a house edge that ranges from approximately 2% to 2.5%.  In the ante table outlined above, the edge would be 2.16%.

Optimal Strategy

There is really no standard strategy for Casino Hold’em because the game play for each individual hand is based on the value of all five cards you receive.  For this reason, a number of strategy calculators exist to help players gain an edge.  Perhaps the best strategy is knowing that the skilled player raises at a rate of about 82%, meaning at worst, only 18% of the hands should be forfeited.   However, even these are just estimates that depend on a broad range of factors and mainly only apply when the player has little to no chance for a flush or a straight.

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