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Last Updated: June 7, 2018
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Premium Hold 'Em
Premium Hold 'Em is a poker variant marketed by AGS. The first placement, that I'm aware of, was at Harrah's Rincon near San Diego in early 2018. It later got a field trial placement at the Mont Bleu in Lake Tahoe on May 31, 2018.
The game can most easily be compared to Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em. In both games, the player must make two equal bets to start. It also shares the same kind of betting structure as Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em, except it has two opportunities to raise instead of three. It does differ in that it gives the player and dealer three hole card each and a four-card flop. All things considered, the element of risk, assuming optimal player strategy, is a low 0.595%.
- A single 52-card deck is used.
- Hands are scored as in conventional Texas Hold 'Em, which I assume the reader is familiar with.
- Play begins with the player making equal bets on the Ante and the X-Tra Bonus. At this time, the player may make optional side bets on the Player Bonus and Dealer Bonus.
- The player and dealer shall each receive three hole cards face down. The player may inspect his own cards.
- The player may either check or make a Play bet equal to three times the Ante.
- The dealer shall deal four community cards face up, known as the flop.
- If the player did not make the Play bet before the flop, then the The player may bet 1x or 2x hit Ante bet or fold. If the player did make the Play bet before the flop, then play continues with no decision to be made at this point.
- The dealer shall reveal his own hole cards.
- The dealer qualifies with a pair of threes of better. If the dealer does not qualify, then remaining Ante bets shall push, before any hand comparison.
- The best five-card hand of both player and dealer shall be compared, the higher hand winning.
- The Ante bet, if still live, and the X-Tra Bonus shall pay even money if the player has the higher hand, push on a tie, and lose if the dealer has the higher hand.
- The X-Tra Bonus bet shall pay according to the pay table below if the player has the higher hand, push on a tie, and lose if the dealer has the higher hand.
- The Player Bonus and Dealer Bonus bets shall pay based on the poker value of the hand bet on only. Wins are shown in the pay table below.
The pay table below shows the win for winning X-Tra Bonus hands (which must beat the dealer), the Player Bonus and Dealer Bonus.
Blind Bet Pay Table
|Four of a kind||10||10|
|Three of a kind||Push||2|
|Two pair (jacks up or better)||Push||1|
The following table shows the win, number of combinations, probability, and contribution to the return for all possible events in Premium Hold 'Em, assuming optimal strategy. The numbers in this table are quoted with permission from the outstanding web site Discount Gambling.
Ante, X-Tra Bonus, and Play Analysis
|Four of a kind||3||Yes||14||55,353,208,088||0.000833||0.011663|
|Three of a kind||3||Yes||4||575,993,062,524||0.008669||0.034675|
|Four of a kind||3||No||13||3,718,604,400||0.000056||0.000728|
|Three of a kind||3||No||3||292,929,250,596||0.004409||0.013226|
|Four of a kind||2||Yes||13||48,452,947,496||0.000729||0.009480|
|Three of a kind||2||Yes||3||1,548,010,040,012||0.023298||0.069894|
|Four of a kind||2||No||12||1,966,734,000||0.000030||0.000355|
|Three of a kind||2||No||2||144,904,859,028||0.002181||0.004362|
|Four of a kind||1||Yes||12||349,955,952||0.000005||0.000063|
|Three of a kind||1||Yes||2||55,773,134,484||0.000839||0.001679|
|Three of a kind||1||No||1||521,670,744||0.000008||0.000008|
The lower right cell in the table above shows a house edge of 2.06%, measured as the ratio of the expected player loss to the Ante bet.
The following table shows the probability of each number of units bet. The lower right cell shows that by the end of the hand the player will have an average total bet equal to 3.46 times the Ante bet.
Blind Bet Pay Table
|Total Bet||Probability||Expected Bet|
What I feel is a good measure of the value of a bet is the Element of Risk. This is defined as the ratio of the expected player loss to the average total amount bet. In the case of Premium Hold 'Em, this ratio is 2.058%/3.458 = 0.595%.
The standard deviation, based on the Ante bet, is 4.63. This is similar to Jacks or Better video poker, which is 4.42. To compare to other casino games, please see my house edge comparison.
The following table shows the probability and contribution for all possible outcomes of the Player Bonus and Dealer Bonus bets. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 4.87%, which isn't bad for a side bet.
Player & Dealer Bonus Analysis
|Four of a kind||10||224,848||0.001681||0.016807|
|Three of a kind||2||6,461,620||0.048299||0.096597|
|Two pair (jacks up or better)||1||17,385,408||0.129951||0.129951|
Discount Gambling has a very detailed strategy for Premium Hold 'Em. I recommend you follow the strategy there.
- Premium Hold 'Em — Math analysis and strategy at Discount Gambling
- Demo game — by AGS, the game distributor.
- Rack card
- Discussion about Premium Hold 'Em in my forum at Wizard of Vegas.
Written by: Michael Shackleford