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Casino Hold'em is a Texas Hold'em variation that is popular is played in Egypt, Austria, Seychelles, Australia, and Russia.

1. Play begins with each player making an ante wager.

2. Two cards are dealt face down to each player and dealer. In addition three flop cards are dealt face up. The players may examine their own two cards but sharing information should be discouraged. All players and dealer may use the three flop cards as part of their hand.

3. Each player must decide to either fold or call. If the player folds he gives up his cards and his ante bet. If the player calls the call must be equal to two times the ante bet.

4. The dealer will then deal two more community cards, for a total of five. The dealer will also turn over his own two cards.

5. Each hand shall be scored according to the best 5-card hand that can be composed out of the 5 community cards and the player or dealer's personal two cards.

6. The dealer must have a pair of fours or better to qualify. If the dealer does not qualify then the player will win the ante and push on the call.

7. If the dealer qualifies and beats the player then the player will lose both the ante and call.

8. If the dealer qualifies and the player beats the dealer then the player will win both the ante and call.

9. Whether or not the dealer qualifies, if the player beats the dealer then his ante will pay according to the table below. There are two variations of the bonus table, according to the preferance of the casino manager.

10. If the dealer qualifies and the player beats the dealer then the call shall pay 1-1 (even money).

HandTable 1Table 2
Straight Flush20 to 125 to 1
Four of a kind10 to 112 to 1
Full House3 to 13 to 1
Flush2 to 12 to 1
All other1 to 11 to 1

Unfortunately there is no easy way to quantify optimal strategy for this game. I can say the optimal strategy player will raise 85% of the time. So only in the worst 15% of hands should the player fold. In general these are when the player has two singletons in the hole that are low compared to the flop, with little or no chance for a straight or flush.

House Edge
Following table 1 the house edge with optimal strategy is 2.68%, and 2.20% under table 2. Remember, the house edge is defined as the ratio of the expected player loss to the initial wager. In Casino Hold'em I think this makes the game look more casino friendly than it really is. The element of risk (ratio of expected player loss to total amount bet) is only 0.99% and 0.82% depending on the pay table.

I used a random simulation of initial hands to calculate the house edge and optimal strategy to play each one. This was a time consuming game for the computer to run through and the sample size is not as large as I would like. Therefore the house edge could be off by about 0.4%.

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