Casino Hold’em is a table-comparing game, based on a variation of the popular Texas Hold’em Poker game. It is most popular outside of the United States.
Though the game has some presence in Western casinos, it is usually not a front-and-center game. Its popularity in other countries has exploded due to its wide online availability. As online gambling is heavily restricted in the United States, this game has not had the same impact on the local Poker scene.
Casino Hold’em Rules
Casino Hold’em is played using the Standard Anglo-American 52-card deck. Only a single copy of the deck is used. The game can be played by 2-8 Players, but one of those Players will always be the Dealer, representing the house’s interests.
Like any table game, Players begin by placing an appropriate Ante (according to the casino’s mins and maximums) into the Ante betting box on their table.
There should be 8 seats, 7 arranged on the outside of the table, while one is on the inside for the Dealer.
In front of each seat will be betting boxes for the Ante, as well as the additional side bets offered by various casinos. Casinos may offer one, two, or all three of these side bets. These are:
- The AA+
- The Jumbo 7
- The Progressive Jackpot
These side wagers will be explained in further detail in the relevant section below, just keep in mind that these side bets are available.
Players must make an Ante wager in order to participate in the side bets.
Once each Player has made an Ante that aligns with the casino’s betting rules, the deal begins.
- The Dealer will deal to every other Player, starting with the Player to their immediate clockwise.
- Players will each receive two face-down hole cards.
There is a variation, called Casino Hold’em Open, in which case Player’s hole cards will be dealt face-up instead.
Once each Player has been dealt their hole cards, the Dealer will deal themselves two hole cards. Then, the Dealer will deal out a Flop of three face-up community cards.
Players must form the best possible poker hand that they can, according to the traditional Poker-meld hierarchy. Once each Player has done so, turns will be taken Clockwise as Players make their official betting position.
Below the Ante and Side Wager boxes, there will be another betting box labeled “Call.” If Players feel that their hand is strong enough to beat the Dealer’s, based upon their two personal cards and the three community cards.
If Players feel their hand formed is strong enough to compete against the Dealer, then they must make a wager equal to, or double, the size of the Ante into the Call Box.
If the Player feels their hand is junk, then they may fold.
Folding Players surrender their wager in the Ante box, and forfeit their right to any earnings they might have made, but are not required to wager any further money.
Once each Player has made their position, and either folded or wagered the appropriate money, two more community cards will be dealt as a combined Turn/River that Players may use to further improve their hand, or to complete a partially unfinished hand.
After the final community cards are dealt, the Showdown begins.
- Players reveal their hole cards and declare the meld they have been able to form.
- The Dealer will do the same, revealing their hole cards and declaring their meld.
- The Dealer will compare their hand to the Player’s hand, and money will be moved as necessary.
- Players with better hands earn money, and Dealers with better hands cause Players to lose their Ante and Call wagers.
The Dealer must qualify by having at least a pair of 4s or better in their hand. If the Dealer does not qualify, the Ante bet will pay out based on the Player’s meld, while the Call bet will simply push.
If the Dealer does qualify but can beat the Player, the Player will lose both their Ante and Call Wagers. Only when a Player beats a qualified Dealer will they receive the full, appropriate payout from their Ante and Call Wagers.
The AA+, Jumbo 7, and Progressive Jackpot will all pay out, even if the Player folds or loses to the Dealer, and even if the Dealer does not qualify. You can find more details about the different payouts below.
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Payouts and House Edge
Players will be paid according to the meld they were able to form with their 7 available cards. The Call wager, assuming the Player beats a qualified Dealer, will pay out 1:1.
The Ante, however, pays out according to the following table:
|Payout (Based on Ante)
|Three-Kind and Below
In order to receive the Ante payout, Players must beat a qualified Dealer. The house edge according to the pay table above yields a house edge of about 2.1%, which is the best of the available pay tables for Casino Hold’em.
Side Bets in Casino Hold’em
There are three popular side bets offered for Casino Hold’em. Two of these wagers are offered in both the physical and digital versions of the game, while the Jumbo 7 is exclusive to online-only Casinos.
The AA+ bonus has its own paytable. The AA+ pays out based on the Player’s 5-card hand, after the flop but before the Turn/River. The five-card hand which the Player can form with these five cards determines the payout of the AA+ bonus wager. The table is below:
|Payout (Based on Wager)
|Pair of Aces
This paytable is the most commonly found in physical games of Casino Hold’em. This has a House Edge of about 6.2%. As the name suggests, Players must receive a pair of aces or better, or AA+, in order to receive a payout.
Progressive Jackpot Bonus
The other two wagers are both Progressive Jackpot side wagers. A Progressive Jackpot is, essentially, a Jackpot that builds by taking a fraction of the Player’s wager in order to increase the total payout of the Jackpot. The more people that play, the higher the Progressive will be.
Physical Casinos usually use a Progressive simply named “The Progressive Jackpot Bonus.” The table for this Progressive is provided below:
|Total Payout (In Dollars)
|Full Jackpot Value
|10% of Jackpot
Players that do not receive at least a Full House will receive no payment for the Progressive. This Progressive is based upon the payments made into the Progressive by other Players at the Casino, but most Casinos will usually put up one million dollars of their own money after the Jackpot is paid out, to prevent Players from winning a Jackpot worth only a few hundred or thousand dollars.
Jumbo 7 Bonus
The final side bet, offered exclusively by internet casinos, is the Jumbo 7 Bonus. The Jumbo 7 is a Progressive Wager run by Evolution Gaming.
Websites that wish to participate in the Jumbo 7 Progressive simply pay a licensing fee to Evolution Gaming. The Jumbo 7 is handled entirely by Evolution Gaming, with the payouts for the Progressive coming from Evolution Gaming itself, rather than the website used to win it.
Evolution Gaming puts up one million dollars every time the Jackpot is emptied, ensuring that Players winning the Jumbo 7 will always receive at least one million dollars.
The Jumbo 7 pays out based upon the 7 total cards available to a Player, both the community cards and their personal hole cards. A table for payouts is presented below:
|Payouts (In Dollars)
|7-Card Straight Flush
|Full Jackpot Value
|6-Card Straight Flush
|5-Card Straight Flush
Generally, the Jumbo 7 is a poor Bonus. Players must get at least a straight in order to receive any payout. Further, it only pays out about 50% of the amount of money put in, or a 50% return on investment.
This is actually going to cost you money to Play, even if you win, statistically speaking. About half of the money you spent to win will not be recovered by the win itself, meaning you might spend 1,000 dollars, but only win 500.
Suppose that you have the following hole cards:
And the Flop looks like this:
4♣ 10 ♥7♦
While it is true that you have a pair of 7s, keep in mind that the Dealer must have at least a pair of fours in order to qualify at all. Further, keep in mind that the Ante payout for pairs is only 1:1.
This means that in order to qualify, and lose to you, the Dealer must have a pair of 4s, 5s, or 6s. If the Dealer has any hand worse than that, you will win 1:1 on your Ante, and Push. If the Dealer has any better hand, then you will lose both your Ante and Call wager.
In this situation, you have very little reward and very high risk. The choice is obvious: Fold the hand.
Strategy and Tips
As mentioned above in the example scenario, do not take unnecessary risks when the reward is low. Do not fall for the sunken cost fallacy. If the Flop-hand dealt to you is not strong in any way, simply surrender the Ante wager.
Wager a high Ante every game, but fold often. By placing a high Ante in each game, you maximize the amount of money you can make when you get a strong hand. Double your call bet on these strong hands as well.
Casino Hold’em is a game of patience, and high payouts when that patience pays off. Participate in the Progressive if you wish, as the chance of a Jackpot is always worth playing.
Differences Between Texas and Casino Hold’em
Role of the dealer
Casino Hold’em is a table game, more so than a classic comparing game like Texas Hold’em. The game is largely organized and run by the Dealer, as a representative of the House.
There is still a dedicated House Dealer in Texas Hold’em, but they are not an active participant in the game. Further, the Dealing position does not move around the table in Casino Hold’em, as it does in Texas Hold’em.
Side Wagers and Bonuses
The key difference between the two games are the side-wagers and the Player’s opponents. Texas Hold’em offers no Bonuses. Although there exists the term “Side-pot” in Texas Hold’em, this is not a bonus payout like the Progressive or AA+ bonuses.
Furthermore, Players in Texas Hold’em are facing off against each other in a free-for-all. Casino Hold’em, conversely, is played on an individual basis between the Dealer and the Player, even if there are multiple Players sitting at the same table.