Casino Hold'em Strategy

Casino Hold'em is one of a few casino games where your decisions can directly influence the house edge. There is still a great deal of luck involved, as you can't control which cards are dealt, but you can improve your overall chances of winning money if you make the right decisions at the right times. You just need to know the right strategy.

That's something we can help with, and we provide some advice on the best strategy for playing Casino Hold'em below. We also look at a couple of other things you should think about if you want to give yourself the best chance of making money.

Optimal Strategy for Casino Hold'em

Optimal strategy for Casino Hold'em is basically just making the right choice each time you have to decide whether to call or fold. You make this decision after the first round of cards has been dealt, so you have your two hole cards and the three community cards to go on. Based on this information, and some other factors, there is always a mathematically correct decision to make.

While this sounds simple, it isn't. The math involved in determining the correct decision in any situation is actually quite complicated. You have to take into account the cards you can see, and also the cards you can't. These include the two community cards that are still to be dealt, and the two dealer's cards. You need to factor in the pay table too (this varies at different casinos), as this can affect what move you should make.

All of this means that it is essentially impossible to determine the absolutely optimal decision to make while sat at the table. Also, because there are so many different possible combinations of cards, it's not really practical to try and memorize what you should do in any given situation. There is an alternative though.

Practical Strategy

Although it's difficult to play optimal strategy at Casino Hold'em, you can get very close by following a fairly simple set of rules which are relatively easy to learn. All you need to take into consideration is the five cards that are visible when you have to make your decision to call or fold.

Basically you just need to call in each of the following situations, and fold any other time. Please note that this is based on all five cards, not just the two in your hand.

Based on these rules you will be calling approximately 80% of the time, and folding approximately 20% of the time. Depending on the pay table, the house edge should be around 2%.

Other Strategic Considerations

There are a couple of other strategic considerations that you should really be thinking about when playing Casino Hold'em. The first is whether you want to play the optional side bet or not. This pays out when you have a pair of aces, or better, after the initial deal has been made. It can result in some nice bonus payouts, but it actually increases the house edge.

You should therefore avoid this side bet if you are looking to maximize your overall returns in any way possible. Remember, though, that not every single decision always has to be about keeping the house edge to a minimum. Side bets can make playing casino games more fun, so that's worth considering too.

Another strategy to consider is to try to make sure that you always play with favorable rules and a favorable pay table. There is one rule in particular which varies at different casinos, and it can have a noticeable impact on your overall returns. In some casinos your ante bet will only be paid at 1:1 when the dealer doesn't qualify, but at other casinos it will be paid according to the pay table. It's definitely better to be paid according to the pay table.

The pay tables themselves also vary, so it's worth comparing what the payouts are at different casinos before deciding where to play. A pay table with higher payouts can make a significant difference to your overall returns in the long run.