Live dealer poker seems to be gaining quite a lot of momentum lately. We see Evolution Gaming offering multiple different types of casino poker including Casino Hold’em, Three Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Caribbean Poker and Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker. They are far from the ones offering live casino poker though – Ezugi, BetGamesTV and PlayTech all have some variations available.
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Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker
Evolution Gaming is the only live dealer provider to offer Texas Hold’em Bonus (not to be confused with Casino Hold’em), and even they have only been providing this game for a few months. A few of the casinos that spread this game are Leo Vegas and William Hill.
How to Play
Texas Hold’em Bonus is a really easy game to play. You start off by making an ante bet, and if you want you can also bet on the bonus and the first five jackpot. Then you and the dealer are each dealt two cards. After you look at your cards you can decide if you want to fold or see the flop. To see the flop you must bet twice the ante. If you decide to see the flop then three community cards (the flop) are dealt out.
At this point, you may either bet or check. If you do decide to bet your bet must be equal to your ante. After the betting is complete, you get to see the turn, and again here you have the top to check or make a bet equal to the ante. Then the river is bet, and the cards are turned over and the bets are resolved.
If the dealer has a better hand than you, then you lose all bets except the bonus if it qualifies. If you have a better hand than the dealer, then you win even money on all of the bets you have made except for the ante itself. The ante pays even money if you make a straight or higher, otherwise you push. If the dealer and you have the same hand then all of your bets push except the bonus.
Texas Hold’em Bonus offers two side bets, the first five jackpot and a bonus bet. The bonus bet has the following payouts:
- AA for both player and dealer, 1000:1
All of the remaining payouts are for the player’s hand only:
- AA, 30:1
- AK suited, 25:1
- AQ or AJ suited, 20:1
- KK, QQ, or JJ, 15:1
- AQ or AJ offsuit, 5:1
- Any pocket pair below jacks, 3:1
There is also a first five progressive jackpot you can play for a euro/pound/dollar. It pays out as follows:
- Royal Flush, progressive jackpot (presently at £66,390)
- Straight Flush, £2500
- Four of a Kind, £250
- Full House, £50
- Flush, £25
- Straight, £10
- Three of a Kind, £3
Return to Player
The RTP for the main game is 97.96% and for the bonus bet it is 91.46%. The return for the first five jackpot game is 81.81% based on a £50,000 jackpot, but as the jackpot increases with time so does the return.
Best Casino to Play Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker
The best choice if you want to play live dealer Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker is Leo Vegas. This site offers live dealer games from a whole bunch of different live dealer providers, so you get a really nice selection of games if you play there. They also have some roaring deposit bonuses and a generous reward program that differs depending on your country of residence.
Ultimate Texas Hold’em
How to play
You start off by placing equal ante and blind bets, and if you want you can place the optional trips bet as well. Then, before the flop, you have the opportunity to bet if you think you are going to win. You can either bet three or four times the ante or if you want you can just check and see the flop. On the flop, you can bet twice your ante if you haven’t already bet. Then the turn and river are flipped over. If you had checked before then you now have the option to make a bet equal to your ante, and if you don’t then you fold and can’t win.
The dealer needs a pair to qualify. If the dealer doesn’t qualify, then you win your blind and your play bet, but you push on the ante. If the dealer does qualify then you either win all bets or lose all bets depending on who has the best five card hand, you or the dealer. The ante and the play bets pay out at 1:1, whereas the blind bet pays out depending on your hand strength as is listed above.
This game has an optional side bet, where you bet on whether you get trips or better using your two cards and the five community cards. Here are the payouts for this bet:
- Royal Flush 50;1
- Straight Flush 40:1
- Four of a Kind 30:1
- Full house 8:1
- Flush 7:1
- Straight 4:1
- Three of a Kind 3:1
The house edge for the main game is 2.18% of the initial bets, and 3.5% for the trips bonus bet.
Blind Bet Payout
The blind bet that you have to make at the start of the game also pays out if you make bigger hands:
- Royal Flush 500:1
- Straight Flush 50:1
- Four of a Kind 10:1
- Full House 3:1
- Flush 3:2
- Straight 1:1
Anything else is a push.
To start off with, you want to make a big raise before the flop with any ace or king. You also want to raise Q8 or higher and JT. You also want to raise every pocket pair except 22. On the flop, you want to raise 2x if you pair up, or if you have an overcard and a flush draw. On the river, bet if you make any pair or if you think the dealer doesn’t have anything.
The Best Casino to Play Ultimate Texas Hold’em
If you are looking for a good place to play live dealer Ultimate Texas Hold’em online we recommend Royal Panda Casino. This brand is licensed by the UKGC and MGA to run an online casino, has a great selection of games (both live dealer and more traditional online casino games), and some really attractive deposit bonuses. They also have great customer service and support for mobile betting.
There are three live dealer providers that offer Casino Hold’em games, Evolution Gaming, Playtech, and Microgaming. Each of these providers offers this game with the same rules.
Evolution’s Casino Hold’em game is played with a single deck and dealt from a shoe. This provider only offers a single table of Casino Hold’em. They actually use two decks, with one being in play while the other is machine shuffle, in order to keep the action flowing. One nice feature about Evolution’s live dealer Casino Hold’em game is that if your video feed is lagging a bit because your internet is slow, then there will be a graphical popup depicting what cards are in play. Otherwise, if your internet is not having problems, you will get a full live dealer stream.
Evolution also has a very useful help section that you can examine to see all of the rules of the game and the payouts, and it pulls up as an overlay on the screen, to pull it up just click on the question market. Evolution does offer the AA bonus bet and the ability to chat with the dealer. You can also adjust your video quality so that it matches the strength of your internet, which is a neat feature.
Evolution also has another Casino Hold’em game called “Jumbo Jackpot”. It is just like their normal Casino Hold’em game, except there is an additional £1 side bet for the player’s cards and the five community cards that you can make with the following payouts:
- Seven Card Straight Flush : The full jackpot, over a million GBP
- Six Card Straight Flush :£5000
- Five Card Straight Flush : £250
- Four Of A Kind : £50
- Full House : £5
- Flush : £4
- Straight : £2
The Jumbo Jackpot is progressive, so it keeps growing the longer it hasn’t been hit.
Playtech’s live dealer Casino Hold’em uses a high quality video feed with two different camera views that you can rotate between. The dealers are sharply dressed and friendly, which makes for a positive playing experience.
A neat feature of the Playtech software is that it displays the results from previous hands, and you can click back to see what the dealer had and what the player’s hand was. It also has a feed from the roulette table showing what numbers are hitting, so you can keep an eye on which section of the wheel is hot. Playtech also has the AA side bet.
You can find Playtech live dealer Casino Hold’em at William Hill, Betfair, and Paddy Power.
Ezugi also offers a Casino Hold’em game, which is pretty much on par with what Playtech and Evolution have to offer. This game is also dealt from a shoe and uses a shuffling machine. All of the payouts in Ezugi’s game are identical to those offered at Playtech and Evolution. You can also find the AA sidebet in the Ezugi Casino Hold’em game.
AA Side Bet
Aside from the main bet, you can also place an optional side bet on whether or not you will make a pair of aces or better using any combination of your two hole cards and the first three five community cards (the flop). This bet has the following payouts:
- Royal flush 100:1
- Straight Flush 50:1
- Four of a Kind 40:1
- Full House 30:1
- Flush 20:1
- Straight 7:1
How to Play
Casino Hold’em is very straight forward. To start off, you place a bet on the ante, as well as the option AA side bet if you want. Then, you are dealt two cards and see the flop (the first three community cards).
At this point you can either call, by betting twice your ante bet as your call bet, or you can fold in which case you lose your ante. Generally you want to call very liberally (82% of the time), only choosing to fold if you completely miss the flop and have low cards without a draw.
Then you get to see the turn and river. At this point the dealer’s hand is exposed. If the dealer has a hand that is worse than a pair of fours, you win your ante but push your call bet. If the dealer has a pair of fours or better, then if you beat the dealer you get paid for the ante and the call, but if the dealer beats you then you lose the ante and the call.
The Best Casino for Live Dealer Casino Hold’em
To play this game we recommend Leo Vegas. This is a neat little live dealer casino that offers no deposit bonuses in the form of free spins so that players can check them out without any risk. They also have a deposit bonus just for live casino users.
This bonus comes in the form of a 100% match up to £250 with a 70x wagering requirement. By partnering with a number of different live dealer providers, Leo Vegas is able to bring you a wider variety of live dealer games than virtually any other online casino.
You can also take advantage of the rest of their welcome package, as well as participate in draws to win trips around the world or earn free sports bets just by playing blackjack.
Three Card Poker
Three Card Poker is currently available from both Playtech and Evolution Gaming, although Playtech’s version is called Three Card Brag after the popular English 16th century gambling game shown in the movie Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. The only difference between Three Card Brag and Three Card Poker is that in Brag straights beat flushes and three of a kind beats a straight flush. This is technically the right way to do it because poker hand rankings are based upon probabilities and with three cards it is easier to make a flush than a straight.
Overall we prefer the Three Card Brag game offered by Playtech, because of the historical connection with the traditional English gambling game, as well as the more accurate hand rankings based upon three card poker probabilities. Playtech also has a great high quality video feed and is partnered with some excellent online casinos.
Evolution Gaming’s Offering
Evolution Gaming’s Three Card Poker is basically the same as Playtech’s Three Card Brag except that they have the addition of a second side bet, the six card bonus. This six card bonus has the following payouts:
- Royal Flush 1000:1
- Straight Flush 200:1
- Four of a kind 100:1
- Full House 20:1
- Flush 15:1
- Straight 10:1
- Three of a Kind 7:1
With this bonus you are combining your three cards with the dealer’s three cards and making the best five card poker hand. The RTP for this side bet is 91.44%.
Other than that the games are pretty much the same and both Playtech and Evolution were only running a single table of three card poker. Both providers dealt the game from a shoe, like you would see at a blackjack table, which looks kind of funny given that they are only using a single deck. Presumably this is to prevent the dealer from exposing one of their hole cards because three card poker is a game that is easily beaten if you know what one of the dealer’s cards are.
How To Play
If you’ve never played Three Card Poker before, don’t despair, this game is super easy to play. All you have to do is place an ante, and then decide if you want to play the hand. If you do decide to play then you must bet an additional amount equal to your ante. The best strategy is to choose to play Q-6-4 or higher, but some people like to bluff and hope that the dealer doesn’t have anything, because if the dealer doesn’t have queen high or better they just fold their hand, in which case you win your ante bet but push your play bet. If the dealer does qualify then whoever has the highest hand wins. For three card brag the hand rankings are as follows:
- Brial (which is three of a kind)
- Running Flush (straight flush)
- Run (straight)
- High Card
For three card poker a straight flush beats three of a kind and a flush beats a straight because they use more familiar five card poker hand rankings.
There is also an additional side bet you can bet on called pair plus where you can bet on whether you get a pair or better in your hand. This has the following payouts:
- Prial / Three of a Kind 40:1
- Running Flush 30:1
- Run 6:1
- Flush 4:1
- Pair 1:1
Assuming this pay table is used then the house edge on pair plus side bet is 2%. If you follow the suggested strategy for the main bet above, playing Q-6-4 or better, then the house edge on the main bet will be 3%.
The Best Casino For Three Card Poker
The best casino to play live Three Card Poker (Three Card Brag) is William Hill. Not only are they one of the most trusted names in the online gambling world, they also offer an extremely attractive 150% up to £150 match deposit bonus, where you start playing with an extra £150 right away. Couple that with a very nice loyalty program where players can get access to VIP hosts, specialized promotions, higher betting limits and faster withdrawals, as well as other offers like free bet promos and you have a clear winner.
You must wager 30x your deposit and bonus before you are able to cashout, and while all games do count some games count at a discounted rate, for example blackjack only counts for 20% towards clearing your bonus. In addition to having great bonuses, William Hill is licensed by the Government of Gibraltar and the UK Gambling Commission, so that is another strong reason to play there.