Ultimate Texas Hold’em good bet on casino floor

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Imagine two different casino card games. In the first you get two of your seven-card hand and now have a decision to make. Make a wager or fold. In the second game, you get your first two cards and can choose to make a wager or check, which allows you to continue.  

This is the major difference between the games Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold’em. This difference is, in my opinion, the key reason why Ultimate surpassed Texas Hold’em Bonus despite the late start.

It is also a feature found in many, if not all of the games invented by Roger Snow of Scientific Games. The decision to fold doesn’t happen until you’ve seen your entire hand.

Players don’t like to fold hands. It’s the equivalent of surrendering and it’s my belief that one of the larger areas of human error made in casinos is in this decision. So, it might seem that THBP has the advantage because not folding early when you should will cost the player even more.

But, this logic is flawed for two reasons. The first is that the player has so little information that the decision to fold is not as difficult and the player will make it. The other is that staying in on really bad starter hands is so punishing that if a player chooses to stay in on all of these, he’s likely to run out of money so fast that he may just give up playing the game.

We compare that to UTH which keeps the player interested and in the game right up until the very end. The end result is a fold rate of only 15 percent.  This also generates a secondary fascinating statistic. The game of Ultimate is one in which the dealer has no advantage in terms of card ranks. If the player never folded, he should win 50 percent of his hands. 

The house advantage comes in with the requirement that the dealer qualifies and the Blind wager. Using Expert Strategy, we find that the player will win more than 47 percent of the time. This means that the player would have won only about 15-20 percent of the hands that he folds.

When players realize this, they appreciate that folding is really a benefit to them, not a cost. 

When you fold at the beginning of THBP and realize how many of those hands you would’ve won, you begin to doubt if it is the right strategy. This leads to more errors, which leads to a higher frustration level.  When you do fold, you’re also out of the game for about two thirds of the time.

The bottom line is that UTH is simply a better game and this is why it is one of the most successful games of all time.

The real catch in Ultimate is that for the most part the player will win almost all the hands he is destined to win. The key is how much he will win which is dependent on when the player makes his wager — after getting his first two cards, after the flop or after seeing all his cards.

Thus, the important part of the strategy is not when to play vs. fold, but when to actually make the one wager you get to make. When playing the game, you won’t ‘feel’ your mistakes. The player will win a hand and not think about how much he won on the hand and whether wagering earlier could’ve meant he would win more.

After a very long delay (O.K., embarrassingly so on my part considering I did the original math analysis on the game), my Expert Strategy for Ultimate Texas Hold’em is complete. You can order now by sending a check for $7.95 to Gambatria, 8824 Cortile Dr. Las Vegas, NV 89134 or you can go over to Gambatria.com and pay by credit card. It is the most complete strategy for Ultimate that you will find anywhere.

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About the Author

Elliot Frome

Elliot Frome’s roots run deep into gaming theory and analysis. His father, Lenny, was a pioneer in developing video poker strategy in the 1980s and is credited with raising its popularity to dizzying heights. Elliot is a second generation gaming author and analyst with nearly 20 years of programming experience.

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