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HOME > STRATEGY > Strategies & Tips > Ultimate Texas Hold'em

Ultimate Texas Hold'em

10 May 2020

By John Grochowski

QUESTION: Can you tell me something about Ultimate Texas Hold’em strategy? I tried to figure this out myself and went to the Wizard of Odds page on the game (https://wizardofodds.com/games/ultimate-texas-hold-em/).

In the strategy for making a medium raise of twice your ante, it lists a hidden pair, except pocket deuces. By hidden pair, does he mean your face-down cards and not the cards on board?

I’m not really a poker player. I play the games out on the main floor like Three Card Poker but not against other players, so I’m not up on all the terms.

ANSWER: The Wizard, Michael Shackelford, does include an explanation that you must have read past. For a pair to be hidden, at least one of the cards has to be in your hand rather than in the community cards.

If you’re dealt two 8s in your hand, they’re a hidden pair. If you’re dealt one 8 and there’s also one 8 on board, that’s also a hidden pair.

For novices, the “hidden” part is important because it means at least one of the cards is not available to the dealer. If both 8s were among the community cards, they could help the dealer just as they could help you.

Ultimate Texas Hold’em is fairly widespread, but not available in all casinos. It brings a taste of Hold’em to table pits, but you’re playing against the dealer and a pay table, not against other players. There is no bluffing, and there’s a rigid raise structure with three opportunities. You can check on the first two, but unless you’ve raised earlier, you must either raise or fold at the third opportunity.

QUESTION In Jacks or Better video poker, does it matter whether I start with a pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings or Aces?

I know it matters in other games because the payouts are bigger on four Aces than other four of a kinds. But my brother was telling me Jacks were the best of the high cards and Aces the worst.

ANSWER: If you’re talking about starting with a high pair, then in Jacks or Better it makes no difference whether the pair is Jacks, Queens, Kings or Aces.

Assuming you’re not tossing away a second pair, a full house or a third or fourth matching card, the average return for drawing to a high pair in 9-6 Jacks or Better is 7.68 coins, regardless of whether you have Jacks or one of the higher denominations.

What your brother-in-law might have been talking about is the value of a hand starting with a single high card. In those cases, Jacks are the most valuable cards because there more possible straights that include Jacks than other high cards.

Jacks can be part of straights that are Ace, King, Queen or Jack high. Straights with Queens must be either Ace, King or Queen high, those with Kings must be Ace or King high, and straights with Aces must be either Ace high or Ace low.

That translates into higher average value of hands that start with Jacks than with other high cards.

If you have a hand that of Jack-6-4-3-2 of mixed suits, the 178,365 possible draws to the Jack include 1,020 straights. The average return is 2.45 coins per five wagered.

If the hand is Queen-6-4-3-2, there are 765 possible straights and the average return dips to 2.42 coins.

You don’t get to choose the cards you’re dealt, of course, but in Jacks or Better, yes, a single Jack does put you in a better position than a single Queen, King or Ace.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field. Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago.

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