Casino hold’em (also called Caribbean hold’em) is a simplified version of Texas hold’em poker. It’s fun, fast and easy to learn, and offers big rewards for the best hands. Let us show you how to play, what pays what, and everything else you need to know to play casino hold’em online.
Casino hold’em rules
Like Texas holdem poker, casino hold’em is played with a standard French deck of 52 cards. But whereas regular poker is all about using your wits to outclass your fellow players, the goal in Caribbean hold’em is simply to beat the dealer – much like in blackjack.
The run of play in casino holdem goes like so:
– Each player makes an ante bet. This can be anything be anything from $1 to $100, depending on the specific table limits.
– Players and the dealer then receive two cards each, all dealt face-down.
– Three community cards are then dealt face-up on the middle of the table, just like the flop in holdem poker.
– Players then consider their hands and decide whether to fold or call. If they fold, they forfeit the hand and any bets made; if they call, they must put up an additional wager twice the size of their ante bet.
– If any players call, the croupier then deals two more face-up cards to complete the board (five cards total).
– Now each player’s hand is compared against the dealer’s. Each hand can consist of any five-card combination of the seven available (two hole cards, five community cards).
– The dealer needs at least a pair of Fours to qualify. If the house’s hand does not qualify, all remaining players win the ante bet. The call bet, however, is pushed.
– If the dealer qualifies and the player’s hand is stronger, the ante bet wins and the call bet pays even money (1 to 1).
– If the dealer qualifies and beats the player’s hand, both the ante and the call bet are lost.
– If the dealer qualifies and ties the player’s hand, both the ante and the call bet are pushed.
Ante bet pay table
As with video poker and many table games, the ante bet in casino hold’em poker pays according to a list of predetermined returns for specific hand values. Wins with a straight or less usually pay even money, while the stronger hands (flush, full house, etc.) pay better and better the higher you go.
Below is the standard pay table used in the Casino Hold’em Poker game developed by Net Entertainment, which is available at several of our top-ranked online gambling sites.
- Royal flush – 100 to 1
- Straight flush – 20 to 1
- Four of a kind – 10 to 1
- Full house – 3 to 1
- Flush – 2 to 1
- Straight or lower – 1 to 1
With this pay chart, Caribbean hold’em poker holds a house edge of around 2.16 per cent. In other words: you can expect to lose less money compared to European roulette (2.70%), but it’s not quite as player-friendly as craps (0.45%), blackjack (~0.50%), or baccarat (1.01%).
AA Bonus side bet
When you put up your ante at the start of a hand, you will notice there are three betting boxes for each player. The two labelled ‘Ante’ and ‘Call’ are self explanatory, but there is also one for the AA+ Bonus side bet.
This is an optional extra which can be played alongside your ante at the beginning of each hand. It is completely independent of your ante and call wagers – so winning or losing the bonus bet doesn’t affect your overall hand, and vice versa.
The rules for the AA Bonus are simple: if you have a pair of Aces or better at the flop (i.e. after the first three up-cards are dealt), you win the bet; if not, you lose it.
As with the ante wager, there are bigger payouts for stronger hands. The AA+ side bet on NetEnt Casino Hold’em Poker, for instance, pays 25 to 1 for a flush or higher and 7 to 1 for a straight or lower.
While many players enjoy the added thrill of the AA Bonus, it is a sucker bet in the truest sense. For example, the AA+ pay table described above carries a house edge of some 6.40 per cent. That means when you play the side bet, you’re almost tripling the casino’s theoretical advantage.
Casino holdem strategy
One reason casino hold’em games have a higher house edge than blackjack or online video poker is because there is no optimal strategy for it. Seven cards in play means there are simply too many possible outcomes to fit into a comprehensive basic strategy chart, while trying to process and implement such data on the spot would almost certainly make your head explode.
With that said, we can tell you that computer simulations show an optimal strategy casino hold’em player would take the call bet in 82 per cent of hands. Thus, you should only look to fold when you have a hand that ranks in the worst 18 per cent of hold’em poker plays.
So the rule of thumb is this: only fold when you have little to no chance of making any kind of hand. We’re talking about absolute stinkers, like an offsuit Seven-Deuce split in the hand with no help on the board. Otherwise, have a punt. Remember, the dealer needs at least Fours – so you’re a chance to win even when you miss your draw.