Online casino hold'em tips - beginner strategy

  • One of the most important tips for Casino Hold’em is to play at a safe and secure casino.
  • Always take advantage of any bonus offers, including those specific to Casino Hold’em.
  • Call with anything better than 4-7 and weaker hands if there’s a chance you can win the flip.
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Casino Hold’em is one of the many poker variations that have made the transition from the felt to the virtual reel world over the past decade or so.

As far as online casino games go, it stacks up well against the competition. The fact that it uses the same 52-card deck and hand rankings as traditional Texas Hold’em makes it easy to learn for anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of poker. At the same time, however, it’s deep enough to provide plenty of entertainment for true poker enthusiasts.

Everything about Casino Hold’em is designed to maximize player enjoyment while minimizing stress and heartache. You don’t have to worry about sketchy opponents; in fact, you only compete against the house. Additionally, your bet is rewarded if it holds any pair or higher, which means you’ll win a healthy percentage of hands.

Of course every hand isn’t a winner in Casino Hold’em – or poker for that matter – but the point remains: this is a game that caters toward the average player.

If you’d like to increase your chances of averaging an action packed player. Here are some great tips and a strategy to get you started on the road to improved performance in Casino Hold’em.

How to Play Casino Hold’em

Before we get into the nitty gritty details of Casino Hold’em strategy, it’s important that all readers have a firm grasp of the basics. If you already know how to play Casino Hold’em, feel free to skip ahead to the next section.

All Casino Hold’em action takes place on a specially designed table that features the following elements:

  • A layout representing the different bets players can make
  • An area to display the dealer’s cards
  • An area to display the community cards
  • A spot to display the payout multiplier for the caller (if applicable)

When all parties have finished placing wagers, two cards are dealt face down to the banker and one card to each player that has contributed to the main pot.

Once all players expose their lone card, a three-card flop is dealt into the middle of the table. At this point, players can choose to either fold (forfeit their ante bet) or call (match their ante bet with a second wager called the call or play bet).

Two more cards are added to the board to bring the total up to five community cards. If you’re still with me thus far, you’re already well ahead of the majority when it comes to Casino Hold’em knowledge.

It is at this point that the dealer reveals her cards to determine the best hand possible using both her cards and the five community cards. All players who called are paid out at even money if they hold a pair of fours or better.

Those with the best hand to start the hand (i.e. – the first player left of the dealer) are paid an additional award according to the strength of their hand. Full details of awards can be seen in the paytable below:

Casino Hold’em Pay Table

Call Ante Payouts

Flush or Better 50:40-1

Straight 40:30-1

Pair of Aces or Higher 30:20-1

Best Hand First 20:1

Call Bets Paid 1:1

Any Pair or Higher

Push Percentage

Quadraplets (4 of a Kind) 5.9

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Full House 3.6

Flush and Straight 3.2

Three of a Kind (excluding

ware twos) 2.8

Royal Flush (1 in 50,000

hands) 22,000-1

In addition to the main pot awarded to players with the best hand, players who make an additional “ante” bet have the opportunity to win an award regardless of the outcome of the main contest.

This side bet must be placed prior to the dealer dealing out her two cards, and it must be equal to twice the value of the player’s ante wager.

In order to win the ante bet award, the player’s hand must be of pair of fourths or higher. As you can see in the table above right, the rewards for these bets vary depending on the strength of the player’s hand.

It should be noted that in heads-up showdowns, the player’s award is increased by a multiplier displayed on the table surface. This multiplier varies from casino to casino, but 5x, 100x and 1000x are common figures.

Finally, it should be mentioned that some versions of Casino Hold’em also include a progressive jackpot side bet. To win this prize, a player must be dealt a pair of aces or better and then have that hand confirmed at showdown.

Payoffs for this bet typically range from 40x for a pair of aces to 1000x for a royal flush. In addition to these base payouts, many casinos also offer a progressive jackpot that is increased a small amount with every hand played and awarded to a player who’s deal and showdown aces form a royal flush.

Now that we’ve covered the ins and outs of Casino Hold’em rules and betting options, it’s time to move on to some tips and strategies that will help you make the most of your experience. 

General Casino Hold’em Tips & Advice

The following five Casino Hold’em tips aren’t necessarily geared toward helping you clean your opponent’s clock; rather, they’re designed to improve your overall experience with this popular casino poker game. 

However, I’ve purposefully included a few tidbits that will undoubtedly give your opponent a little less clock to work with – always a good thing. Let’s get started with my number one tip:

1) Stick to Trusted Casinos

Online Casino Hold’em may not be as prevalent as video poker or other popular electronic casino games, but that doesn’t mean every site has decided to feature the game in their lineup. However, for the sites that do offer Casino Hold’em, you can rest assured that you’re dealing with a legitimate operation.

Additionally, all reputable online casinos feature Casino Hold’em games produced by industry-leading software developer, Playtech. While there are a few versions of the game floating around cyberspace, the Playtech implementation is by far the most prevalent.

I could never understand why every casino didn’t feature the game when Playtech was offering it for pennies on the dollar. After all, it’s fast-paced, fun and easy to learn. 

Unfortunately, the reason has become evident in recent years: Casino Hold’em can absolutely destroy a casino when things don’t go according to house probability projections.

In simple terms, this is a game where luck of the draw can cause hundreds of dollars in rewards or losses almost instantaneously. Any season poker professional will tell you that it’s very difficult to get a read on what a player’s hole cards might be based on the community board, but that doesn’t stop eager casinos from placing this game front and center for customers to try.

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If the banker is holding a pair of aces or better, she’s going to win a large number of shows downs – especially against players calling with mediocre hands. On the flop, most players will continue with top pair or better – usually without considering the fact that their opponent could be sitting on a hidden flush or better.

To keep things simple, just remember that your average showdown win/loss rate in Casino Hold’em is roughly 50/50. Antes awards tip the scales slightly in favor of the player, but a run of bad flops can really dig a huge hole that’s hard to escape.

Luckily, you won’t have to worry too much about suffering through a prolonged bad streak if you stick to trusted online casinos. Every site suffers from occasional runs of bad luck, but the truly shady operations seem to always leave themselves “lucky” when the going gets rough.

For this reason, I always recommend taking advantage of sign up bonuses at multiple online casinos rather than maxing out at a single site.

Every online casino features a welcome bonus of some sort, and you can find the largest offers currently available to poker players online at

Next : Up to €600 / $800 / C$800 / £400

Next : Up to £150

Next : 100% up to €300 / $400 / C$400 / £200

Next : 100% up to US$750

Next : 100% up to US$500 + 60% up to US$500

I recommend having just one active account with each site, as operating multiple accounts at any single online casino is considered breach of terms and risky business indeed.

Having several open accounts means that you’ll spread your bad luck around rather than taking your lumps in one place, and bonuses are generally awarded per household / IP address.

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2) Take Advantage of Bonuses and Promotions

Most sign up bonuses are cleared at a rate of 100% when wagered on slots and scratch cards, with smaller contributions coming from various table games. However, I’ve found that Casino Hold’em often carries a much larger weight than you’ll see posted on most sites.

It wasn’t intended this way; rather, it’s simply a case of clearance rates being extremely high. Players who are seriously into Casino Hold’em are likely to average more than 20 hands per hour, meaning they’ll burn through their bonus in no time.

Additionally, the roughly 50/50 win/loss ratio makes it highly likely that players will regularly see their balance fluctuate wildly during a clearance session. This can be stressful for some players, so many people never really touch this game when trying to clear a bonus.

I would definitely encourage you to think differently on this point, as it’s one of the easiest ways to knock a large chunk off the top of your bonus clearing workload. Of course before you rush off to start grinding out thousands of Casino Hold’em hands, I suggest reading the rest of these tips and strategy pointers to ensure you fully understand this quick-paced poker variation.

3) Practice With Free Casino Hold’em Games

If you haven’t played much Casino Hold’em in the past, I strongly recommend opening up the free play version of this game and giving it a whirl for a while. The general flow of play is very similar to Texas Hold’em, but there are a few key differences to commit to memory:

  • All players use both of their holes cards to make their best hand
  • Only the dealer’s hole cards are used to determine the award for players who folded
  • Players who called are paid off at even money unless they have the best hand among all players, in which case they’re awarded a multiple of the ante reward according to the strength of their hand
  • Ranks of awards for both ante and call bets are determined by the dealer’s final hand

The best part about playing online Casino Hold’em is the fact that there’s not a bad player at the table costing you money with incorrect calls and silly rolls of the dice. On the flip side, you won’t be able to pig out on low-evil roll of the dice yourself.

With no dice involved in the action, Casino Hold’em is strictly a straight poker affair. In other words, it’s a thinking man’s game where success is measured by the size of your bankroll at the end of the night – not by the few big hands you managed to catch.

Get into the habit of making smart decisions on every hand, and you’ll be fine no matter what the cards have to say.

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4) Know When to Hold ‘Em and When to Fold ‘Em

Knowing when to hold onto your chips and when to run is an essential element of profitable Casino Hold’em play. Fortunately, it isn’t terribly difficult to learn the ins and outs of making correct folds and calls.

Always fold any of the following hands:

  • Anything weaker than a pair of queens
  • Hands with a pair connected by nothing but lower cards (example: 65 of clubs)
  • Weak pairs with connectors that don’t match in suit (Example: 72 of hearts and spades)
  • Worst hand first with no flush draws (call with this hand if worst hand second)

Call with any of the following hands:

  • Anything better than 4-7
  • Weaker hands if there’s a chance you can win the flip (two pair or better vs. worst hand first, for example)
  • Worst hand first with a flush draw

Keep in mind that these guidelines are just a starting point; variances and personal style will dictate many hands played to the river in Casino Hold’em. For instance, I often find myself calling with middle pair and a decent kicker, especially if I have a flush draw on the flop.

Likewise, everyone will have a different threshold for the type of two pair hands they’re willing to call with. The most important thing to remember is that you need to see the showdown in order to rake in the big rewards – anytime you fold a hand with a pair of fours or higher, you relinquish an award worth up to 1:1.

When you factor in the ante bet reward for any pair or higher, you’ll find that the optimal strategy in Casino Hold’em is to play a lot of hands all the way to the end. Of course you still have to be selective, otherwise you’ll go broke paying off with middle pair on a regular basis.

5) Enjoy Yourself!

Above all else, Casino Hold’em is meant to be a fun game that allows poker fans to indulge their Texas Hold’em instincts while enjoying quick results and reasonable odds. Don’t get upset over losing hands or failing to hit a big reward on the ante bet – just roll with the punches and wait for the action to turn around.

Despite the high house edge on ante and call bets, Casino Hold’em is a solid choice for poker players looking to get their fix in a quick and painless manner. Just stick to the tips and advice found in this Casino Hold’em guide and you’ll have a blast while getting your money’s worth.

Oh, and one last tip: be sure to check the pay tables on any Casino Hold’em games you intend to play, as payouts for call bets can vary from the standard 1:1 rewards. Anything less is unacceptable, as you’ll be giving the house a built-in expectation greater than 5%.

Casino Hold’em Strategy Chart

The A = call to the river, C = fold to the flop, CC = call flop, CC-river CCCR = call on the flop and continue through to the river, FC = fold on the flop and re-enter on the turn (blind refill), FC-River = fold on the flop and re-enter on the turn and defend on the river.

Online Casino Hold’em Gameplay Video

Here’s some live video from an online Casino Hold’em session to give you a sense of the pace and flow of play. Note that this video covers Playtech’s original version of the game, which did not include the return of the blind refill option (aka re-buys) to players who lose a hand and fold.

As you can see, the action moves incredibly quickly in Casino Hold’em – a dozen hands can fly by in just a few minutes. It’s also plain to see how lucky you can get hit when things swing in the right direction.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at , and that you pick up a couple useful tips and tricks along the way. Be sure to check out our comprehensive to boost your skills in every facet of the game.

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Good luck at the tables!

Will Schuetz

Will is a freelance writer and lifelong poker enthusiast. He became hooked on the game after watching World Series Replays on TV in preferred poker games omaha hell. After cutting his teeth on home games and low-stakes cash tables, he began working for an online poker site in 2007.