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Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em (3x)


Let me say right up front that I now doubt this game actually exists. I got bad information from my forum at Wizard of Vegas about the game. It just goes to show to not believe every report you read online, even if a good poster verified with a 99.996% degree of confidence. I spent a lot of time on this page, so will leave it up anyway, but I invite you to not bother with it.

This page covers a variant of Ultimate Texas Hold'em® where the player may raise 3x only before the flop. This version can be found at the Scarlet Pearl casino in Biloxi, MS. For the standard version, allowing the player to raise 4x before the flop, please see my page on Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em.

Ultimate Texas Hold'em® is a poker-based casino game in which the player may make one raise at any time during the course of the hand. The earlier the raise is made the higher it may be. Unlike other poker-based games, raises made after the ante still have action, even if the dealer doesn't open. This game was invented by Roger Snow of Shuffle Master. The same base game, with some minor rule changes, is also distributed by Galaxy Gaming under the name Heads Up Hold 'Em. Evolution Gaming, a supplier of live dealer games to Internet casinos, refers to the game as "Extreme Texas Hold 'Em" in some jurisdictions, for legal reasons.

ULTIMATE TEXAS HOLD ’EM® is a registered trademark of Bally Gaming, Inc. and is used with permission on this website.

Where To Play Ultimate Texas Hold'Em Online for Real Money

How To Video

The following video is based on the standard version, where the player can raise 4x before the flop.


Following are the rules for what I call the inferior 3x version of Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em, addressed on this page.

  1. The game is played with a single ordinary 52-card deck.
  2. The player must make an equal bet on both the Ante and Blind, and can also make an optional Trips bet.
  3. Two cards are dealt face down to the player and dealer. The player may look at his own cards.
  4. The player can check or make a Play bet equal to three times the Ante.
  5. The dealer turns over three community cards.
  6. If the player previously checked, then he may make a Play bet equal to two times his Ante. If the player already made a Play bet, then he may not bet further.
  7. Two final community cards are turned over.
  8. If the player previously checked twice, then he must either make a Play bet equal to exactly his Ante, or fold, losing both his Ante and Blind bets. If the player already raised he may not bet further.
  9. The player and dealer will both make the best possible hand using any combination of their own two cards and the five community cards.*
  10. The dealer will need at least a pair to open.
  11. The following table shows how the Blind, Ante, and Play bets are scored, according to who wins, and whether the dealer opens.

    Scoring Rules

    Winner Dealer Opens Blind Ante Play
    Player Yes Win Win Win
    Player No Win Push Win
    Dealer Yes Lose Lose Lose
    Dealer No Lose Push Lose
    Tie Yes or No Push Push Push
  12. Winning Ante and Play bets pay 1 to 1. Winning Blind bets pay according to the following pay table.

    Blind Bet Pay Table

    Player Hand Pays
    Royal flush 500 to 1
    Straight flush 50 to 1
    Four of a kind 10 to 1
    Full house 3 to 1
    Flush 3 to 2
    Straight 1 to 1
    All other Push
  13. The Trips bet will pay according to the poker value of the player's hand regardless of the value of the dealer's hand. Pay table for the Trips bet can be found in my standard page on Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em.


There are 52 possible outcomes of each hand. The table below shows the probability of each and the contribution to the total return, assuming optimal strategy. A 3x raise is referred to as a "large raise," a 2x raise as "medium," and 1x as "small."

Return TableExpand

Raise Dealer
Player Hand Winner Pays Combinations Probability Return
Large Yes Less than straight Player 4 3,140,424,343,760 0.112909 0.451635
Large Yes Straight Player 5 195,058,020,480 0.007013 0.035065
Large Yes Flush Player 5.5 199,160,655,360 0.007160 0.039383
Large Yes Full house Player 7 261,421,403,040 0.009399 0.065793
Large Yes Four of a kind Player 14 21,003,399,360 0.000755 0.010572
Large Yes Straight flush Player 54 1,444,036,640 0.000052 0.002804
Large Yes Royal flush Player 504 556,552,440 0.000020 0.010085
Large No Less than straight Player 3 1,317,173,128,560 0.047357 0.142070
Large No Straight Player 4 64,386,219,840 0.002315 0.009260
Large No Flush Player 4.5 41,791,833,360 0.001503 0.006762
Large No Full house Player 6 0 0.000000 0.000000
Large No Four of a kind Player 13 0 0.000000 0.000000
Large No Straight flush Player 53 180,911,880 0.000007 0.000345
Large No Royal flush Player 503 86,472,360 0.000003 0.001564
Large     Push 0 223,641,379,520 0.008041 0.000000
Large Yes   Dealer -5 3,192,698,833,800 0.114788 -0.573941
Large No   Dealer -4 66,873,993,600 0.002404 -0.009617
Medium Yes Less than straight Player 3 2,415,318,761,280 0.086839 0.260516
Medium Yes Straight Player 4 158,035,798,360 0.005682 0.022728
Medium Yes Flush Player 4.5 183,447,763,404 0.006596 0.029680
Medium Yes Full house Player 6 320,575,227,408 0.011526 0.069155
Medium Yes Four of a kind Player 13 20,440,911,312 0.000735 0.009554
Medium Yes Straight flush Player 53 3,016,851,612 0.000108 0.005749
Medium Yes Royal flush Player 503 147,692,880 0.000005 0.002671
Medium No Less than straight Player 2 1,207,385,216,712 0.043410 0.086819
Medium No Straight Player 3 53,068,201,380 0.001908 0.005724
Medium No Flush Player 3.5 45,718,738,920 0.001644 0.005753
Medium No Full house Player 5 0 0.000000 0.000000
Medium No Four of a kind Player 12 0 0.000000 0.000000
Medium No Straight flush Player 52 397,598,400 0.000014 0.000743
Medium No Royal flush Player 502 11,938,680 0.000000 0.000215
Medium     Push 0 214,144,135,720 0.007699 0.000000
Medium Yes   Dealer -4 2,047,325,382,988 0.073608 -0.294433
Medium No   Dealer -3 11,023,268,784 0.000396 -0.001189
Small Yes Less than straight Player 2 1,600,861,520,204 0.057556 0.115113
Small Yes Straight Player 3 421,268,280,080 0.015146 0.045438
Small Yes Flush Player 3.5 202,016,746,236 0.007263 0.025421
Small Yes Full house Player 5 46,108,374,192 0.001658 0.008289
Small Yes Four of a kind Player 12 961,429,692 0.000035 0.000415
Small Yes Straight flush Player 52 2,023,968,588 0.000073 0.003784
Small Yes Royal flush Player 502 46,580,760 0.000002 0.000841
Small No Less than straight Player 1 816,981,676,824 0.029373 0.029373
Small No Straight Player 2 145,034,240,580 0.005214 0.010429
Small No Flush Player 2.5 43,096,215,600 0.001549 0.003874
Small No Full house Player 4 0 0.000000 0.000000
Small No Four of a kind Player 11 0 0.000000 0.000000
Small No Straight flush Player 51 279,004,320 0.000010 0.000512
Small No Royal flush Player 501 6,914,880 0.000000 0.000125
Small     Push 0 455,005,062,076 0.016359 0.000000
Small Yes   Dealer -3 3,115,133,127,184 0.112000 -0.335999
Small No   Dealer -2 60,518,663,424 0.002176 -0.004352
Fold -2 5,498,509,547,520 0.197690 -0.395380
Total   27,813,810,024,000 1.000000 -0.096655

The lower right cell shows a house edge of 9.67% per Ante bet. What this means, for example, is if you bet $100 and both the Ante and Blind initially, then you can expect to lose $9.67 cents on average. However for comparison to other games I believe the Element of Risk is more appropriate to look at. The average total amount bet by the end of the hand is 3.67 times the ante bet. So the element of risk would be 9.67%/3.67 = 2.63%. The standard deviation, relative to the Ante bet, is 4.94.

By way of comparison. In the standard version of Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em, where the player may raise 4x before the flop, the house edge is 2.19% and the element of risk is 0.53%. In other words, the player can expect to lose five times as much in this 3x version.

Wizard Strategy

The following is my "Wizard Strategy" for Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em®.

Large Raise: The following table shows when to make the 4X raise.

Ultimate texas hold em strategy 3x pre flop

Medium Raise: Make the 2X raise with any of the following:

  • Two pair or better.
  • Hidden pair*, except pocket deuces.
  • Four to a flush including a hidden 10 or better to that flush

* Hidden pair = Any pair with at least one card in your hole cards (thus the pair is hidden to the dealer).

Small Raise: Make the 1X raise with any of the following, otherwise fold:

  • Hidden pair or better.
  • Less than 21 dealer outs beat you.


What I mean by an "out" is a dealer hole card that will cause you to lose. Let's look at this situation as an example.

In the example above, there 15 cards that will pair the dealer and beat you (three suits each of K, 7, 2, A, and 10). Then there are the two ranks (jacks and queens) which will out-kick the player. All four jacks and queens remain in the decks, so that is 2×4=8 more cards that will beat you. So, we're up to 15+8=23. We don't count the other three nines because those will result in a push. So, because there are only 23 outs (21 or more), we fold.

BTW, using my Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em® calculator, we see that the expected value of raising this hand is -2.136364, which is less than the -2 of folding.

I get asked a lot about combinations of cards that will beat the player. For example, any two dealer spades that would give the dealer a flush in the example above. The answer is no. It would really make things complicated if the strategy accounted for double-card combinations that would beat the player.

The second and third decision points are influenced by the James Grosjean strategy, for which I have great respect, as I do for all of Grosjean's work. I highly recommend his strategy if you want to something even more powerful than my simple strategy above.

All Side Bets

For the rules and analysis of a host of side bets, including the Trips bet, please see my page on standard Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em

Internal Links

External Links

  • Wikipedia — Entry on Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em.
  • Discountgambling.net has an outstanding analysis of this game, including what I call his "nut kicker" strategy for the second and third decision points.
  • Shufflemaster's Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em® page.
  • Demo game — Play this licensed demo game at our sister site Latest Casino Bonuses.
  • Discussion about this 3x version in my forum at Wizard of Vegas.