How to Play Casino Hold’em

Texas Hold’em poker has quickly become the most popular card game for gamblers in Canada. The success of this game can be found outside of Canadian poker rooms. The flop, turn and river concept is now available as a casino game, rather than just a poker room.

You will play Casino Hold’em against the dealer, making your decision on whether to continue with each hand after you see the flop (first 3 shared cards). To win, you need to get a better hand than the dealer, who must ‘qualify’ to trigger a win on your ‘Play’ bet. The appeal of this game comes from the potential for big wins if you hit strong poker hands. This game has a low house edge of 2.16% with the correct strategy.

Everything you need to enjoy a game of Casino Hold’em at both live and Canadian casinos online can be found below. This starts with the rules and flow of a typical hand. Strategy, side bets, and the effect of casino bonuses on your bankroll can also be found below.

Casino Hold’em rules: How a hand works

Casino Hold’em is played with a standard 52 card deck. Each player in the hand will post an ante bet before being dealt in. In a live casino, the minimum bet is the typical $5. This can be as low as 50c online.

Players receive two facedown ‘hole cards’. Sharing of what is on your cards with other players is not allowed. Three community cards are dealt with before any action is required. Based on the best poker hand possible by combining your cards and the community cards, you decide on the following actions:

  • Fold: This ends the hand for the player — with the ante bet being collected by the dealer.
  • Call: To continue, the player needs to place a bet that is double the size of the initial ante.

If the player decides to call, then the dealer will reveal the final two community cards.

At this point, your final ‘made hand’ is the best combination of five cards from the two hole cards and the five community cards. The player’s hand is then compared to the dealer’s hand. Payouts depend on whether the dealer has a hand that ‘Qualifies’ – a common idea in casino poker table games. To qualify, the dealer must have a pair of 4s of better.

Payouts for qualified/non-qualified hands in Casino Hold’em

  • If the dealer does not qualify, the ante bet pays according to the ante win paytable (below) and the call bet is a push.
  • If the dealer qualifies and the player’s hand is better, then the ante bet pays according to the ante win paytable and the play bet pays 1 to 1.
  • If the dealer qualifies and both the player’s and the dealer’s hands are equal, all bets placed are a push.
  • If the dealer qualifies and the dealer’s hand is better, then the player loses their bets.

Ante win paytable

The pay table for the ante win can vary from casino to casino in Canada. Here is an example of a standard paytable:

  • Royal Flush: 100:1
  • Straight Flush: 20:1
  • Four of a Kind: 10:1
  • Full House: 3:1
  • Flush: 2:1
  • Straight or less: 1:1

Casino Hold’em side bets

In addition to the standard gameplay, at most casinos, you will also have the chance to play the additional side bet. The most common one is the AA+ bet. This is named after the fact that you need a minimum of a pair of aces to win. The side bet is optional and is based on the five cards that are made up from the player’s two hole cards and the initial 3 community cards. Keep in mind that the house edge for this side bet is much bigger than for the main game.

The paytable for the side bet can also vary – here is one of the more standard pay charts:

  • Royal Flush: 100:1
  • Straight Flush: 50:1
  • Four of a Kind: 40:1
  • Full House: 30:1
  • Flush: 20:1
  • A Pair of Aces to a Straight: 7:1

At some casinos, you can find progressive jackpot prizes included in Casino Hold’em pay tables, usually for an additional bet. In some cases, the top prize for the Royal Flush is replaced by a progressive jackpot prize. Progressives shared with other casino poker games can be found in the giant casino venues in Québec and Ontario.

Strategy for Casino Hold’em poker

Unlike some other casino games where a play/fold decision must be made, there is no way to come up with a perfect strategy for Casino Hold’em. In a game of blackjack, for example, you can use charts to make the ideal next move. But in Casino Hold’em, knowing whether to fold or call is a little more complicated.

You should be calling the vast majority of the time, with a ratio of 82% calls and 18% folds. The most obvious circumstances where you should find a fold is if you have two unpaired cards that are lower than the community cards. This is always the case where there is a low chance of making either a straight or a flush.

A good example of a hand you should certainly fold would be if your hole cards are the 3 of diamonds and the 6 of spades, with the community cards being the Ace of hearts, the queen of clubs, and the nine of clubs. While this makes achieving the low 2.16% house edge difficult, folding the worst hands will get you close to it — allowing you to refine your Casino Hold’em strategy over time.

Playing Casino Hold’em online

There are two ways to enjoy Casino Hold’em games online in Canada.

The original version of this game involves playing against software. You can enjoy this game for small stakes, or even Casino Hold’em online for free in demo mode while you learn the strategy. The shuffle is controlled by random number generator software, which is regularly tested to ensure a fair deal.

A newer alternative is to play at live dealer casino rooms. Here you have a social element. You are betting on a hand dealt at a remote studio using your PC or mobile casino app. You can chat (by typing) with the dealer and other players while you gamble. This game is played one-to-many. This means everyone bets on the same hand. Each hand is played to the end, as some players will fold while others bet. Side bets are offered in both live and software Casino Hold’em games online.

Bonuses and rewards playing Casino Hold’em in Canada

If you play any casino game at live venues across Canada, it makes sense to sign up for the reward scheme. Many schemes are shared between casinos in a province — examples include reward cards in Manitoba casinos and First Nation casinos in Saskatchewan. You will often get $10 in free play as a sign-on bonus.

Hand your card to the dealer when you play Casino Hold’em. Your playing time and bet level will be recorded. The loyalty points you earn can be used for free play bonuses and discounts.

Online casinos handle bonuses differently — with some big rewards available at the leading brands.

Look out for no deposit bonuses before you part with any money. You will also find matched welcome bonuses – which boost your account based on the size of your first deposit. Table games are slower for clearing bonuses than slots. This balances the lower house edge for these games.

Casino Hold’em at Casinos in Canada summary

Texas Hold’em is one of the most enjoyable and exciting card games around. Casino Hold’em is based on gameplay — it is a casino game with a built-in house edge. You get to decide whether to ‘Play’ or ‘Fold’ after seeing the flop. This gives you the chance to ditch the worst poker hands.

Best of all, you get paid big money for the strongest poker hands. Add in the ‘AA+’ side bet, and Casino Hold’em makes it possible to scoop in a giant pot.

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