As an acclaimed live dealer games software developer, Evolution Gaming is known for going that extra mile in providing the optimal live casino software for their operators and players. This is not really something that comes as a surprise after over a decade-long industry presence, multiple Live Casino of the Year awards, Casino Content Supplier of the Year title, and numerous studios located in Georgia, Romania, Malta, and Canada. Their Live Ultimate Texas Holdem is not the first poker variant launched in collaboration with another software supplier; in 2014, the developer released a highly popular Live Three Card Poker with SHFL entertainment, a renowned US gaming machine manufacturer.
The latest collab with Scientific Games was designed and created to shake the very core of the industry, and provide, as the name itself suggests, the ultimate Texas Holdem online version which would obliterate the need for all other variants and Holdem versions – judging by the time invested in details, the developer is definitely on the right path.
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How to Play Evolution Ultimate Texas Holdem – Software and Gameplay
Playing one-on-one online poker is preferred by all those who enjoy having a duel with the casino – contrary to what you might think, poker players who grew accustomed to group games will easily adjust to this (arguably) more reductive variant, as it triggers a lower amount of stress, making it easier for the player to keep the focus and leaving more room for a successful implementation of strategy.
The online Texas Holdem is, of course, the exact replica of the game found inside a land-based casino, with a few software-related perks available only to live casino visitors. Evolution’s version is streamed 24/7 and shot with sophisticated cameras that use OCR technology, capturing every single card move and making the session smooth and transparent – flawless even.
The game commands are located at the very bottom of the screen, and the players can join the session at any time, launching the game from their PC, tablet or smartphone. Once at the table, stakes can be submitted according to Texas Holdem rules, as soon as the dealer signalizes that the bets are opened. The time for placing the chips on the gaming table is limited, however, the software is extremely user-friendly and easy to navigate, making the entire process swift and painless.
The initial move that the participants must draw is the submission of both Ante and Blind bets, marking the player’s entrance in the game and actually starting the session – if you are the only player at the table, which can easily happen online (depending on the hours you choose to practice your poker skills), the dealer will not draw the cards from the shoe until at least one visitor places the chips onto the relevant areas while the bets are opened; there will also be enough time to withdraw your chips in case you change your mind, remove the bets completely, re-bet or double the stake before the dealer closes the bets and starts to deal. Apart from the obligatory Ante and Blind, Ultimate Texas Holdem provides an additional side bet – Trips Bonus Bet – which is separated from the Ante and all the follow-up bets.
One of the main advantages of Live Ultimate Texas Holdem played online is the integrated rulebook which you can access without interrupting the session – for further assistance, Evolution Gaming enabled a Live Chat communication channel that you can use during the gameplay to converse with the dealer.
The software also allows the player to add an extra table from the Evolution Live Casino lobby and customize the game using the advanced settings command in the right upper corner of the screen.
5 Card Poker Betting Stages, Betting Options and Side Bets
Round 1 – Hole Cards
As soon as the bets are closed, the dealer will proceed onto the stage 1 of the dealing and betting process and draw two cards for the players, placing them face up on the table, and two cards for the house, which will be facing down. The players will then be presented with the following alternatives:
a) Raise 3x
b) Raise 4x
The last option will leave your current bets as they are, while the other two will raise the amount wagered by 3 or 4, depending on the option selected. Once the decision is made and confirmed, the new stage of the dealing and betting process will begin.
Round 2 – Community Cards
In stage 2, the dealer draws two community cards called the Flop and places them on the table facing up. This is the second deal in the session, which precedes the next phase of the betting procedure and presents the player with another opportunity to increase the bet. Once again, the players can opt for the Check option and the dealer will add two more cards to the community pile – Turn and River. All of the five cards are combined with the player’s and the dealer’s hand to complete the combination and produce the highest ranking hand possible.
Round 3 – Last Chance
With the last two community cards added, players will have one final chance to increase their bets, except this time, the amount cannot exceed the original Ante bet placed at the beginning of the session. The only other alternative at this point would be to fold, although failing to increase the bet will automatically result in folding your hand.
The cards are then being revealed and the bets settled in accordance with the hand values and the payout table.
For the dealer to qualify, the hand dealt for the house will need to have at least one pair or a higher ranked combination – if this is not the case, all the bets will be returned to the players.
If the player manages to form a combination that outranks the dealer’s hand, the bets will be paid according to the standard payout rates.
Stronger dealer’s hand will result in losing the Ante and Blind bets, whereas an equal value hand will be declared a push and the bets will be returned to the player.
The side Trips Bonus is settled independently from Ante and players will win the bonus bet if a 3 of a Kind or a higher ranked card combination is formed out of the initially dealt pair of cards and the community Flop, Turn and River.
Ultimate Texas Holdem Hand Ranking and Payout Table
Obviously, a thorough understanding of the hand ranking and payout odds is a must, otherwise, you will not be able to make a proper decision and draw the right move when needed. Even though Evolution software offers a detailed list of rules and payout tables, memorizing the combinations is essential, especially since constant check-ups of the hand ranking can be quite inconvenient. In Poker, the hands are ranked as described in the table below:
|High Card||Ace||If two hands each have an Ace as the High card, the second highest cards is used to determine the winner.|
|One Pair||5+5||Any two cards with the same value.|
|Two Pairs||9+9/3+3||Any two pairs with the same value within one hand.|
|Three of a Kind||5+5+5||Any three cards with the same value.|
|Straight||2+3+4+5+6||A string of 5 consecutive cards (which do not have to be suited).|
|Flush||A+3+5+9+10||Any five cards with the same suit.|
|Full House||5+5+5+9+9||A combination of a Pair and Three of a Kind.|
|Four of a Kind||6+6+6+6||4 suited cards with the same value.|
|Straight Flush||3+4+5+6+7||5 consecutive suited cards.|
|Royal Flush||A+K+Q+J+10||5 suited high value cards|
The payout tables are matched with the hand rank and the frequency that particular combination has.
The payout odds on the standard set of bets are the following:
- Royal Flush = 500:1
- Straight Flush = 50:1
- 4 of a Kind = 10:1
- Full House = 3:1
- Flush = 1.5:1
- Straight = 1.1:1
- Other = push
Side Trips Bonus bet comes with the following payout table:
- Royal Flush = 50:1
- Straight Flush = 40:1
- 4 of a Kind = 30:1
- Full House = 8:1
- Flush = 7:1
- Straight = 4:1
- Three of a Kind = 3:1
- Ante bet pays 1:1
Ultimate Texas Holdem Strategy and Tips
The strategy applied to Texas Holdem is fairly simple and used starting with the initial betting round. When the first three options are displayed, it is always recommended to raise the bets by 4, unless you are on a strict budget. Raising your bets is a good idea in case you land one of the following combinations:
- A couple of 3s ( the same rule does not apply to a pair of 2s)
- Ace-High or better
- Unsuited 10-J
- Unsuited 8-Q
- Unsuited 5-K
- King-High (suited)
- Q-6 (suited)
- J-8 (suited)
On the second round, the optimal move would be to double the bet instead simply selecting to check; this move should be drawn if the players have at least two pairs, 4 cards to a flush with a 10 or better formed with the community cards, or a pair – again, formed with the community Flop cards. These types of combinations are called “hidden”.
In the final stage of the betting, players are advised to use the last chance and raise their bets if they are able to form a hidden pair or if the house has under 21 outs to defeat them. The “out” in poker is the card that you cannot see and is yet to be revealed. This particular card will improve one’s odds of winning and if the players know their outs, it will usually give them a certain advantage. For example, a hand with 4 diamonds in poker has exactly 9 outs to create a Flush – the total number of diamonds in a deck is 13 and since you are already looking at 4 of them, 5 is what remains unseen.
The functionality of Evolution’s software makes the game equally suitable for players with different level of experience and skills, however, if you are still a beginner, it is always advisable to keep your initial bets closer to the house limits and avoid side bets. The rest will follow.
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