If you could imagine such a thing as diet Texas Hold’em for live casinos, then Casino Hold’em would be it.
This is a fast, simple game based on the popular poker variation, where the player competes against the dealer rather than other players, and has only a single decision to make during the game – play or fold.
Essentially, the middle of the game has been stripped out, so there are no rounds and no ability to check or raise or anything like that.
The cards are dealt, you decide if you like the look of them or not and either play on to find out whether you win or fold straight away.
The nice thing about a live casino game like this is the interaction with the dealer and other players. The same level of concentration is not required as with real life poker, and everything is down to chance, so you can afford to relax into it a lot more.
How Does it Work?
To begin with, Casino Hold’em works a lot like a regular game of poker.
The player places their ante bet before being dealt two face up cards along with the dealer’s two face down cards. Next, the first three cards of the flop are dealt face up, so the player can see how their hand is looking.
From here, it’s decision time. Looking at the cards in your hand and the 3 in the flop, you must choose whether to play or fold.
To play will cost twice your ante bet, but to fold means you lose your ante and the chance to win the round, although you are insulated from further losses in that round.
Once you have made your choice the final two cards are drawn and you can see what your best hand is. At this point, whether you win or lose hinges on the dealer’s cards (unless you have an amazing hand of course) which are still face down.
The dealer will flip them over one at a time, and the winner will be revealed.
One unique aspect to Casino Hold’em is that the dealer must qualify in order to win, and they do this by getting a pair of 4s or higher. If they do not qualify the player will win according to the pay table on their ante bet, but their play bet will be a push.
So ideally the dealer qualifies but does not have a stronger hand than you, because in that situation you win 1:1 on the play bet and according to the paytable on your ante.
The Live Casino Aspect
Each game is played with an automatically shuffled 52 card deck. There are two decks used on each table that are rotated and placed into the shuffling machine at the end of each round. This is right next to the dealer so you can see what is going on.
The dealer will split the deck once it is taken from the machine before putting it in the shoe.
In terms of placing bets, the live casino software will offer you a number of different chip values. Using these you can place whatever amount you like, first by clicking on the chip value, and then by clicking on the ante space on the table. Clicking more than once will add multiple chips.
Betting time is only about 15 seconds long so there is no time to waste, although you can hit the ‘repeat bet’ button if you just want to do the same thing each time.
Once the game is under way, the software will offer you the option to play or fold by presenting a red and a green button for you to click. If you do not make a decision in time, you will automatically fold when the time runs out.
There is a scanner by the shoe which reads each card as the dealer draws it, so the software can also create a digital representation of what you see on the table and indicate the possible useful cards and hands that could be made.
The best possible hand is identified automatically and winnings are paid out instantly if applicable.
Unlike a real life game of poker, there are a few side bets to have a think about with Casino Hold’em.
The first is called the Bonus Bet, and pays out if a pair of Aces or a better hand is created in the first five cards – so the players two cards and the first three in the flop.
This pays out at a better rate than the regular paytable, starting at 7:1 for a pair.
The second is called the Jumbo 7 Jackpot. It’s a fixed stake side bet which pays out a fixed amount from £2 – £5,000 for straights to a 6 card straight flush respectively. This is taken from all five cards in the flop as well as the player’s two cards.
However, a 7 card straight flush will trigger the jackpot, and as it is a progressive across the whole network this can be worth millions. When this happens it is split between all players with a qualifying side bet on the table where the jackpot was won.
Being a simple poker variation, Casino Hold’em is good for beginners, and the minimum stake is equally inclusive at just 50p for the ante. If you want to play the round it will obviously cost you 2x your ante which is another £1, so in effect the minimum bet is £1.50.
The most you can have on the table is £1,000, but this only applies to your ante bet, so if you want to go on to play the round you will need another £2,000, making the effective maximum bet £3,000 per game.
The minimum stake for the Bonus side bet is the same and the maximum is £500, but there is also the Jumbo 7 Jackpot to consider, and this is a little steeper at £1. This is a fixed amount, however, so £1 is both the least and the most you can stake on the Jumbo 7 Jackpot.
Being a sort of variation in itself, Casino Hold’em doesn’t have a string of alternative game versions with different rules and features.
That said, there is one:
2 Hand Casino Hold’em
Whereas in the original game only one hand is played per game, in this version the dealer draws two hands per game round.
The player can bet on one or both of them, and the same goes for the bonus bet too.
The game rules are unchanged and the payouts all remain the same, so really, this is just an option for people who want to get through a greater number of hands in the same amount of time – although each game does take slightly longer due to the extra hand being dealt each time.
The Jumbo 7 Jackpot is not available with this variation of the game.