Discount Gambling

Texas Hold’Em Bonus

Texas Hold’Em Bonus is a poker-based table game where the player’s 2 hole cards compete against the dealer’s 2 hole cards when combined with a community 5-card board. The players at the table compete only against the dealer, not against each other. The player must Ante before receiving cards. The player looks at his hand, then decides to either fold it (i.e., surrender the Ante), or to bet 2x the Ante and play it. The flop is then dealt. The player next decides to either 1x bet his hand, or check. The turn is then dealt. The player again decides to either 1x bet his hand, or check. Finally, the river is dealt, and the dealer turns up his hand. If the player has the better hand, he receives even money on all his post-flop bets. The Ante only pays even money if the player has a straight or better, else it pushes if the player wins. If the dealer beats the player, the player loses all his bets. All bets push on a tie.

Simple Strategy

Texas Hold’Em Bonus Simple Strategy (-2.9% EV)
Bet Requirements
Pre-Flop Fold 23o thru 27o, else
2x bet all others
Flop Bet two pairs or better, else
Bet your pair with any board undercards, else
Bet your pair with any draw, else
Bet bottom pair unless board suited, else
Bet any combo flush and straight draw, else
Bet 5th nut flush draw or better, else
Bet an open-ended straight draw with both hole cards 8 or higher, else
Bet 2nd nut kicker against a tripped board, else
Bet nut kicker against a paired board, else
Bet 1st and 4th nut kickers against a non-suited board, else
Check all others
Turn Bet your two pairs or better, except for a pocket underpair with no draws, else
Bet your pair (except bottom or underpair) if not a scare board, else
Bet nut kicker if the board is double paired, else
Unless scare board, Bet nut kicker with open-ended straight draw, or 4th nut flush draw, else
Check all others

where “scare board” means open-ended or 4-to-a-flush on the turn, and “your” hand means your hand that beats the board.

Advanced Strategy

The following strategy attempts to provide a small set of rules for when to bet your hand. The strategy is broken down for the preflop, flop, and turn betting rounds. Furthermore, the strategy is sub-divided per betting round according to the texture of the board (i.e., paired, suited, double-paired, etc.). Even though the set of betting rules seems large, once you get enough practice with the game, you’ll probably remember most of them.

The terminology used in the strategy is borrowed from the poker world. If you’re experienced in poker, you’ll find the strategy easy to understand, and eventually, to remember.

The strategy simulates at a 2.3% house edge, compared to the theoretical 2.037% edge. That’s very good performance, given the challenge of finding a compact set of betting rules for all the possible hole card and board combinations.

Preflop

Fold only 2-3 thru 2-7 offsuit. Play (2x bet) everything else.

Flop

The following rules determine your decision to bet 1x after the flop.

Tripped Flop

Bet 2nd nut kicker or better against a three-of-a-kind flop.

Paired Flop

Pocket Pairs

Always bet pocket 4’s or better. Bet 3’s if there’s a deuce (i.e., an under card) on board.

Other Pairs Or Better

Always bet any two pairs or better against a paired flop.

Draws

Against a paired flop, bet the following draws:

  • 5th nut flush draw
  • 6th nut flush draw and any board under card to your highest hole card
  • any straight flush draw
  • any open-ended straight draw with both hole cards 8 or higher
  • any gutshot straight draw with 3rd nut kicker or better
Kickers

Against a paired flop, you should bet the following kickers:

  • nut kicker
  • 2nd and 4th nut kickers
  • 2nd nut kicker with high runner-runner flush draw

Offsuit Flop

Pocket Pairs

Bet any pocket pair against an offsuit, unpaired flop if there’s an under card on board, or you have a straight or flush draw.
Else (no board under cards):

  • Check 2’s thru 4’s.
  • Bet 5’s unless the board shows any possible straight.
  • Bet 6’s unless the board shows two possible straights (1 gap).
  • Bet 7’s unless the board shows three possible straights (no gap).
  • Always bet 8’s or better.
Other Pairs Or Better

Bet any pair or better against offsuit flop.

Draws

Against an offsuit flop, you should bet the following draws:

  • 5th nut (or better) flush draw
  • 6th nut flush draw with one board card below your smallest hole card
  • 7th nut flush draw with two board cards below your smallest hole card
  • any combination flush and straight draw
  • any open-ended straight draw with both cards 8 or higher
  • any straight or flush draw with the nut kicker
  • any straight or flush draw with 2nd and 4th nut kickers
Kickers

Against an unpaired flop, you should bet a hand with both 1st and 3rd kickers or better only when there’s no possible straight on board.

Suited Flop

Pocket Pair

Bet any pocket pair if there are two under cards on the board, or you have a flush draw.
Else (less than 2 board under cards):

  • Check 2’s thru 7’s.
  • Bet 8’s, 9’s if there are any under cards on board.
  • Always bet 10’s or better.
Other Pairs or Better

Check bottom pair on a suited flop unless you also have a flush draw. Else bet your hand.

Draws

Against a suited flop, you should bet the following draws:

  • any open-ended straight draw with any flush draw
  • 3rd nut flush draw
  • 4th nut flush draw and one board under card to your lowest hole card
  • 5th nut flush draw (or better) and a gutshot straight draw
  • 5th nut flush draw and 4th nut kicker
  • 6th nut flush draw and 3th nut kicker
  • 7th nut flush draw and 2nd nut kicker
  • any flush draw with nut kicker
Kickers

Against a suited flop, you should never bet just kickers.

Turn

The following rules determine your decision to bet 1x after the turn.

Quad Board

Bet 3rd nut kicker or better, else check.

Trip Board

Bet 2nd nut kicker or better.

Double Paired Board

Bet nut kicker or better. Bet 2nd nut kicker for 8’s and 5’s or better on board.

Scare Flush Board

Bet pocket A’s if there’s no possible straight on board. Otherwise, only bet two pairs or better against a 4-flush board.

Scare Straight Board

A scare straight board is when there’s an open-ended straight on board.

Pocket Pairs

Against a scare straight board, you should bet pocket pairs only in the following cases:

  • Bet any pocket over pair, unless possible flush on board and you have no flush draw
  • Bet any pocket pair with a draw to a higher straight
Other Pairs or Better

You should bet the following pairs against a scare board:

  • Bet two pairs or better
  • Bet top pair if no flush possible on board, or you have any flush draw
  • Bet second pair with 5th nut flush draw or better
  • Bet third pair with 3rd nut flush draw or better

Paired Board

For a paired board, you should bet the turn according to the following rules.

Pocket Pairs

You should bet the following pocket pairs against a paired board on the turn:

  • Bet any pocket pair when the board contains under cards to your pair
  • Bet 4’s or better when no possible straight or flush on board
Two pair or better

You should bet any two pairs or better against a paired board on the turn.

Draws

You should bet the following draws on the turn against a paired board:

  • nut kicker and any flush draw
  • nut kicker and gutshot draw, both cards play
  • nut kicker and gutshot draw, no possible flush or straight on board
  • 2nd nut flush draw
  • any combination open-ended straight and flush draw with both hole cards 9 or higher
  • open-ended straight draw with nut kicker
Kickers

Against a paired board on the turn, you should bet Ace or King nut kicker when no possible flush on board, and both your hole cards play.

Unpaired Board

Finally, for an unpaired, non-scare board, you should bet the turn according to the rules below.

Pocket Pairs

Pocket pairs should be bet against an unpaired board on the turn as follows:

  • never bet 2’s
  • bet pocket 3’s or better with open-ended or flush draw
  • bet pocket pair when board has two or more under cards
  • bet any pair when board has one under card and no possible flush or straight
  • bet 4’s and 5’s when board has one under card, no possible flush, and only one possible straight (2 gaps)
  • bet 6’s and 7’s when board has one under card, no possible flush, and only two possible straights (1 gap)
  • bet 8’s when board has one under card and no possible flush
Other Pairs

You should bet the following hands against an unpaired board on the turn:

  • bet 2nd pair or better
  • bet third pair or better unless gutshot board
  • bet bottom pair if no possible flush, and at most one possible straight on board
  • bet bottom pair with any flush or open-ended straight draw
  • bet bottom pair with any gutshot draw and no possible flush on board
Draws

Against an unpaired board, you should only bet these draws with nut kickers:

  • 4th nut flush draw with nut kicker, unless gutshot board
  • open-ended straight draw with nut kicker, unless idiot end
  • gutshot straight draw with top two kickers, no possible straight or flush on board
Kickers

You should never make a turn bet with only kickers on an unpaired board.

16 Responses

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  1. me said, on March 23, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    in Texas Hold’ em if the bad beat is aces over kings ( full house )
    1. What are the odds on hitting it ? 9 players at the table
    2. What are the odds if 1 player has pocket pair below aces
    3. What are the odds if you have a pocket pair of aces

    • stephenhow said, on March 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm

      I assume this is a question about the bad beat jackpot in Texas Hold’Em poker, and not about the Texas Hold’Em Bonus casino game. I may present some numbers on jackpot frequencies in a later post, if someone else hasn’t written about it already.

  2. petersen2000 said, on August 20, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    I actually went today and played this version at a new casino in Illinois. I got pretty lucky, I mean I used basically my Ultimate Hold-em betting pattern to play. People were calling me lucky because I was betting Q10 on a AK2 flop, and when I river a straight or pair they would say I was lucky. Watched a guy flop top pair of kings and bet it, turn is a ace, he checks. Even the dealer asked him why he checked. I told him if you’re not gonna bet second pair all the way down on a dry board, you should go home. I had a good run on this game though today, was playing 100 and then 200 to go to flop, only hand I folded was 27. I turned 600 into 3100 within 2 hours. In this game do you follow the same betting as UTH, when it comes to Ak/k5 off suit etc. Just bet it on every street no matter what, seeing how the all in hands are gonna be better then the random hand??

    • Profbac said, on January 18, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      Stephen, some analysts have recommend to also fold preflop:
      2-3,2-4 suited
      3-4 to 3-8 offsuit.

      How would this effect your basic strategy results

      • stephenhow said, on January 19, 2012 at 11:12 am

        These hands are -EV, but you’re better off playing them than folding them. However, these are probably hands that you should probably use collusion info to play. Maybe I’ll make a post about a simplified Texas Hold’Em Bonus strategy, including collusion.

  3. Profbac said, on January 20, 2012 at 5:42 am

    Stephen,

    I posted this elsewhere, but since I have you here:

    1. Between UTH and THB, excluding trips and bonus bets, which game has the lower bankroll variance.
    2. If we excluded hitting a royal flush, which game offers the lower house edge.

    Finally, can you recommend a site or software to practice THB,
    If not,, do you know of any online sites to play THB.

  4. Sillydog said, on February 3, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Hi Stephen,
    I’m new to this game and saw a table of elderies playing it last week. They seemed to be sharing information about their hole cards to the other players at the table. I’m just curious about the effects on the house edge if a player acquire knowledge of the other 5 players’ hole cards.

    Thanks! =D

    • stephenhow said, on February 3, 2012 at 9:55 am

      You don’t get much edge from other knowledge of other player’s cards in Texas Hold’Em Bonus. There are probably a few rare cases where you might fold a weak pre-flop hand (like 74o) if your cards are copied too many times. And maybe there’d be a few rare cases where you’d be better off checking a draw, but the info just doesn’t help much.

  5. IsaacL said, on April 14, 2012 at 8:08 am

    For the pre-river bet on an unpaired board, you recommend:
    You should bet the following hands against an unpaired board on the turn:
    • bet 2nd pair or better
    • bet third pair or better unless gutshot board
    • bet bottom pair if no possible flush, and at most one possible straight on board

    I’m not sure I’m interpreting this correctly. The way I read it, you’d bet bottom pair with one possible straight on the board, but check third pair with one possible straight (gutshot) on the board. This doesn’t seem logical.

    Also, the way I read it, you’d check 3rd pair with a gutshot board, but bet 3rd pair with a possible flush or open-ended straight on the board. This is surprising, though I see how it could be correct: you either want no chance of a flush or straight, or a good chance for a flush or straight. But, as I said, this is surprising, so I just wanted to make sure I’m interpreting this correctly.

    • stephenhow said, on April 15, 2012 at 9:18 am

      This part of the strategy (turn bet, unpaired board) is correct. I just simulated these cases to double-check. Betting the turn with 3rd pair and a gutshot board is slightly negative (a little better than -0.5%). You can bet bottom pair if there’s no possible flush on board, and there’s at most 1 possible straight on board. This is different from a gutshot board. For example, 3s Th Kc As is not a gutshot board, but the dealer can have QJ to make a straight. The dealer needs two hole cards against a possible straight board, but only needs one hole card on a gutshot board. The return for betting in this case (bottom pair, one possible straight on board is about +3.3%).

      Also, don’t forget, there’s a separate section each for when to bet a scare flush board (suited board), and a scare straight board (board is open-ended) on the turn.

      Thanks for reading this strategy! You’re probably the 3rd person to do it :)

      • IsaacL said, on April 15, 2012 at 9:51 am

        Thanks for the clarification. Given that I have zero real-world experience with Texas Hold ‘em Bonus, and little poker experience in general, I thought I was probably misinterpreting something :-)

        Any suggestions for an abbreviated strategy, or, if you’re feeling heroic, and interest in creating one? That is, a strategy with far fewer rules, which only gives up 1-3% compared to optimal play?

  6. IsaacL said, on April 16, 2012 at 5:15 am

    Nice work on the simple strategy! That’s impressive that it only gives up .6% compared to the advanced strategy, with FAR fewer rules. Great site overall, too.

  7. Art P said, on May 20, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    i didnt see an answer to the question . Is there a THB practice site anywhere in cyberland?

  8. Mark said, on October 27, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Great basic strategy for such a complicated game.
    I know of a particular version of this game where I can see the river card plus one of the dealers cards after I place my ante but before I place my other 3 bets.
    In your opinion how much do you think this will swing the odds in my favour ? and what are my bankroll requirements ?

  9. Elmo Jordan said, on November 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I was just curious if someone has ever calculated hole card play for this game yet. Assuming that you could probably get a look at the bottom card of the deck, when being cut, and know that the card would be cut out of play.

  10. Seth Shapiro said, on June 2, 2014 at 3:02 am

    Stephen! I just posted in the UTH comments, but would like to extend the ideas I mentioned into this thread as well. First of all, why has no colluding strategy been created for this game? I know on Jan 19, 2012 you were considering creating and posting a collusion strategy, and then just a couple weeks later you posted that it wasn’t worth it.

    But it would seem to me that there would be MANY marginal hands that may turn into preflop folds if we knew they were copied. On my recent trip, I had many marginal hands that I decided to fold because they were copied (hands like 94, T2, 73, etc.) and I definitely ended up saving $$$. Obviously, tons of variance and very small sample size, but if even 1 hand an hour more is folded (with an easy collusion strategy developed) and $$ is saved that would have been lost, this would seem to eradicate the house edge and most likely make t +EV.

    Also, what I posted about dealer errors has GOT to be able to make up for the house edge in this game, doing the same kind of mathematical egwork as was already mentioned.

    Feel free to email me with your thoughts, if you don’t want to post them here. I have a bit of mathematical background and would be more than willing to help you crunch some numbers.


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