Discount Gambling

Premium Hold’Em

Posted in Uncategorized by stephenhow on June 6, 2018

Premium-Holdem-thumb

I noticed another new AGS game in my nearby Harrah’s Casino, called Premium Hold’Em, extending their products of 3-hole card poker games against the dealer.  I kind of enjoy squeezing these hole cards, catching minimal glimpses of colors and symbols, and making (correct) decisions without knowing my full hand.  Sometimes, this leaves me with emergency outs after seeing the dealer’s hand.

Plus, once you’ve played enough Ultimate Texas Hold’Em (UTH), all those decisions become automatic, and all you seem to notice is that string of miracle dealer hands which constantly scoop the table.  UTH can be boring *and* painful.

So, what’s new with AGS’s Premium Hold’Em?  Well, first, there’s the novelty and the squeezing of your three hole cards.  Next, the all-in preflop raise is lowered to 3x, which should reduce the variance a bit (from UTH’s 4x).  Then, the entire community board is dealt out at once as a four card “flop”.  Finally, you can either 2x, 1x, or fold after seeing your entire hand!  (Compare to UTH’s 2x decision before the turn+river.)  Of course, the dealer has three unseen hole cards, but the 2x option is still more favorable than in UTH.  Overall, these advantages are offset by the lowered 3x preflop raise, and the higher pair-of-treys Dealer qualifier.  Bottom lime, the house edge of Premium Hold’Em is lower than UTH, at 2.06% of an Ante.

Oh, and the bonus side bet pays down to Jacks Up (two pairs), and has a low house edge of 4.87%.  Again, this offers lower variance than the UTH Trips side bet.

Basic Strategy

I wanted to try out the game, so I worked out a Basic Strategy.  I worked it down to the detail that I like, using hand features that make sense to me.  The table is organized by the two decision points, and divided into mutually exclusive categories for the Player hand, and also for the board.  For each determined sub-category, the selected betting rules should be followed top-down, looking for the first matched condition, or else falling through to the bottom action.

The betting rules are meant to be concise and unambiguous, but I’ll elaborate on some of them below, to clarify with examples.

The Basic Strategy is sub-optimal by only 0.28% from the ideal 2.06% house edge.

You can practice the game for free at the AGS website.

Premium Hold’Em Basic Strategy
Decision Player Hand Board Prioritized Betting Rules
Preflop

(3x All-In

or

Check)

Trips 3x all Three-of-a-Kind hands.
Pair 3x pair of FIVE’s or better, else

check all others.

3-Suited 3x A-T-x all suited or higher, else

3x three suited cards all NINE or higher, else

check all others.

other 3x A-J-T ranks or all higher, else

check all others.

River

(2x, 1x, or Fold)

Royal Flush,

Straight Flush

2x all hands
Four-of-a-Kind
quads on board 2x with 1st or 2nd nut kicker, else

1x with 7th nut kicker or better, else

fold all others

other 2x all hands
Full House 2x all Full Houses
Flush 2x all Flushes
Straight
4-flush 1x Straight against 4-flush board
other 2x all Straights
Three-of-a-Kind
trips on board 2x trips on board with nut kicker in the hole, else

1x trips on board with 2nd or 3rd nut kicker in the hole, else

fold all others

4-flush 1x Three-of-a-Kind against scare flush
other 2x all hands
Two Pairs
double-paired 2x two better pairs, else

2x nut kicker, else

1x 2nd or 3rd nut kicker, else

fold all others

paired 2x “top pair” or “overpair”, else

2x “bottom pair” with 3rd nut or better kicker, else

1x all others

4-flush or

open-ended

1x all hands vs scare board
other 2x all hands
One Pair
pair on board 1x with nut kicker in the hole, else

1x with 2nd nut kicker in the hole and 2-flush max board, else

fold all others

4-flush or

open-ended

1x 2nd pair or better, else

fold all others

gutshot 1x bottom pair or better, else

fold all other underpairs

other 2x 2nd pair or better, when SIX’s or better, else

1x bottom pair or better, else

1x qualifying underpair, else

Fold all other underpairs

High Card
4-flush or

4-straight

Fold all hands
other 1x Ace-King with nut kicker in the hole vs rainbow board, else

fold all others

Typical play is actually pretty easy, and the Basic Strategy is intuitive and easy to learn.  The top part of the table tells you what the 3x preflop raising hands are.  They occur about 15.7% of the time, and are easy to remember.

All the river decisions for hands Three-of-a-Kind and higher are simple and intuitive.  Thankfully, you should 2x bet *all* full houses and flushes, independent of the board.  The only time you slow down with a straight is when you 1x it against a 4-flush board.  Notice you still 2x the idiot end straight against an open-ended board, and you still 2x a baby flush against a 4-flush board.  And you still 2x a flush against a double-paired board.

You’ll slow down with Three-of-a-Kind when they’re on board.  You will 2x them with a nut (best) kicker in the hole.  For example, say you’re holding Kh 9s 6h, and there’s trips on board with 8s 8c 8h Ad.  You have the nut (best) kicker in the hole (Kh), so you can still 2x your hand.  However, if your hole cards were Qh 9s 6h, you should only 1x the hand since your Qh is only 2nd nut kicker.  You could still 1x call with Jh 9s 6h (3rd nut kicker), but you would fold with anything lower than the 3rd nut kicker.

If you have Three-of-a-Kind and the board is a scare flush (4-flush), then you can still 1x your hand.  For example, if your hole cards were 7d 3s 3h and the board was 3c Kc Jc 6c, you’d only 1x your trip 3’s.

You’ll generally 2x your two pairs, unless the board is dangerous.  So, against a scare flush (4-flush) or a scare straight (open-ended) board, you’ll just 1x your two pairs.  You should 2x raise your two pairs any time you can beat a double-paired board, or even if you just have the nut kicker.  If the board is paired, you’ll 2x raise your top pair or over pair.  You can 2x raise with bottom pair, just as long as you have 3rd nut kicker or better.  You’ll never fold two pairs when you beat the board.  The only time you’ll fold with two pairs is when you’re playing the board, and don’t have 4th nut kicker or better.

Note: “bottom pair” on a paired board means you’ve paired the lowest singleton on the board.  For example, say the board is 3s 3h Kd 7h.  If you’re holding a 7, you’ve made bottom pair on the board.  If you’re holding a K, you’ve made top pair on the board.  If you have a pair of wired Aces, they’d be an over pair to the board.  If you have a pair of wired Deuces, they’d be an under pair to the board. Also, if you held a pair of wired Fives in the hole, they’d be an under pair to the board too (lowest board singleton is a Seven).

There are a few occasions when you can 2x raise one pair against a safe board (no 4-flush or 4-straight board, including gutshot board).  Against a safe board, you can 2x raise one pair if it’s an over pair, top pair, or second pair.

Generally speaking, you’ll at least 1x call any pair made with the board.  You will fold 3rd or bottom pair against a scare board.  You’ll only call a wired under pair to the board if it’s qualifying, and there’s no 4-flush or 4-straight on board.

You can 1x call playing one pair on board, if you have the nut kicker.  You can also 1x call the pair on board if you hold the 2nd nut kicker, and the board is 2-flush or less.

There’s only one case to 1x bet a no-pair hand on the river.  You should 1x play an Ace-King high hand against a rainbow flop when holding the nut kicker, and the board isn’t 4-cards to a straight.  For example, if your hole cards were Qh 8d 3s and the board was Ac Kh 9d 4s, then you should 1x your hand, because your Qh hole card is the nut kicker.

Collusion Analysis

The game is not vulnerable to even 5 confederates colluding at a full-table sharing perfect information.  Ideal decisions using all known player hole cards (15 of them at a full table) yield only about a +1.4% improvement over Basic Strategy (about +0.5% from counter-strategy pre-flop decisions, and about +0.9% from counter-strategy river decisions).

Bonus Side Bet

An optional bonus on your final hand, or the Dealer’s final hand, is available before the hand begins.  The table below shows the payouts and their frequencies and returns.  The house edge is a reasonable 4.87%, and it pays down to Jacks Up (two pairs), instead of the UTH Trips or better bonus.

Outcome Combinations Frequency Payout Return
ROYAL_FLUSH

4,324

0.000032

50

0.001616

STRAIGHT_FLUSH

37,260

0.000279

30

0.008355

FOUR_OF_A_KIND

224,848

0.001681

10

0.016807

FULL_HOUSE

3,473,184

0.025961

6

0.155766

FLUSH

4,047,644

0.030255

4

0.121020

STRAIGHT

6,180,020

0.046194

3

0.138581

THREE_OF_A_KIND

6,461,620

0.048299

2

0.096597

Two Pairs (J’s Up+)

173,854,08

0.129951

1

0.129951

other

95,970,252

0.717349

-1

-0.717349

total

133,784,560

1.000000

-0.048656

expected

133,784,560

Detailed Stats

The total outcomes for every possible starting hand, for every possible flop, and every possible dealer hole cards are shown in the table below, following optimal decisions.  The player will 3x about 15.7% of his hands, will 2x about 37.4% of his hands, will 1x about 23.9% of the hands, and will fold about 23.0% of the hands.

Outcome Combinations Frequency Net Return
Win 3x Play w/ ROYAL_FLUSH vs. qualified dealer

879,320,772

0.000013

504

0.006670

Win 3x Play w/ STRAIGHT_FLUSH vs. qualified dealer

2,149,315,348

0.000032

104

0.003364

Win 3x Play w/ FOUR_OF_A_KIND vs. qualified dealer

55,353,208,088

0.000833

14

0.011663

Win 3x Play w/ FULL_HOUSE vs. qualified dealer

602,898,278,304

0.009074

7

0.063516

Win 3x Play w/ FLUSH vs. qualified dealer

237,450,980,932

0.003574

5.5

0.019655

Win 3x Play w/ STRAIGHT vs. qualified dealer

191,445,164,564

0.002881

5

0.014406

Win 3x Play w/ THREE_OF_A_KIND vs. qualified dealer

575,993,062,524

0.008669

4

0.034675

Win 3x Play w/ TWO_PAIRS vs. qualified dealer

2,246,740,264,764

0.033814

4

0.135256

Win 3x Play w/ ONE_PAIR vs. qualified dealer

1,066,642,147,548

0.016053

4

0.064213

Lose 3x Play vs. qualified dealer

3,231,042,644,372

0.048628

-5

-0.243140

Tie 3x Play vs. qualified dealer

30,011,251,504

0.000452

0

0.000000

Win 3x Play w/ ROYAL_FLUSH vs. non-qualified dealer

201,445,188

0.000003

503

0.001525

Win 3x Play w/ STRAIGHT_FLUSH vs. non-qualified dealer

430,781,892

0.000006

103

0.000668

Win 3x Play w/ FOUR_OF_A_KIND vs. non-qualified dealer

3,718,604,400

0.000056

13

0.000728

Win 3x Play w/ FULL_HOUSE vs. non-qualified dealer

87,580,605,564

0.001318

6

0.007909

Win 3x Play w/ FLUSH vs. non-qualified dealer

65,138,805,780

0.000980

4.5

0.004412

Win 3x Play w/ STRAIGHT vs. non-qualified dealer

62,396,153,160

0.000939

4

0.003756

Win 3x Play w/ THREE_OF_A_KIND vs. non-qualified dealer

292,929,250,596

0.004409

3

0.013226

Win 3x Play w/ TWO_PAIRS vs. non-qualified dealer

508,732,581,216

0.007657

3

0.022970

Win 3x Play w/ ONE_PAIR vs. non-qualified dealer

1,045,415,883,192

0.015734

3

0.047201

Win 3x Play w/ HIGH_CARD vs. non-qualified dealer

71,345,648,256

0.001074

3

0.003221

Lose 3x Play vs. non-qualified dealer

22,949,828,544

0.000345

-4

-0.001382

Tie 3x Play vs. non-qualified dealer

1,115,495,892

0.000017

0

0.000000

Win 2x Play w/ ROYAL_FLUSH vs. qualified dealer

902,421,300

0.000014

503

0.006832

Win 2x Play w/ STRAIGHT_FLUSH vs. qualified dealer

13,145,193,656

0.000198

103

0.020377

Win 2x Play w/ FOUR_OF_A_KIND vs. qualified dealer

48,452,947,496

0.000729

13

0.009480

Win 2x Play w/ FULL_HOUSE vs. qualified dealer

891,034,206,768

0.013410

6

0.080462

Win 2x Play w/ FLUSH vs. qualified dealer

1,208,401,617,832

0.018187

4.5

0.081840

Win 2x Play w/ STRAIGHT vs. qualified dealer

1,833,221,994,724

0.027590

4

0.110362

Win 2x Play w/ THREE_OF_A_KIND vs. qualified dealer

1,548,010,040,012

0.023298

3

0.069894

Win 2x Play w/ TWO_PAIRS vs. qualified dealer

5,325,367,541,112

0.080148

3

0.240444

Win 2x Play w/ ONE_PAIR vs. qualified dealer

2,347,190,713,200

0.035326

3

0.105977

Lose 2x Play vs. qualified dealer

5,884,001,322,956

0.088556

-4

-0.354223

Tie 2x Play vs. qualified dealer

356,306,998,604

0.005363

0

0.000000

Win 2x Play w/ ROYAL_FLUSH vs. non-qualified dealer

164,326,140

0.000002

502

0.001242

Win 2x Play w/ STRAIGHT_FLUSH vs. non-qualified dealer

2,738,580,240

0.000041

102

0.004204

Win 2x Play w/ FOUR_OF_A_KIND vs. non-qualified dealer

1,966,734,000

0.000030

12

0.000355

Win 2x Play w/ FULL_HOUSE vs. non-qualified dealer

49,091,947,236

0.000739

5

0.003694

Win 2x Play w/ FLUSH vs. non-qualified dealer

339,829,796,400

0.005115

3.5

0.017901

Win 2x Play w/ STRAIGHT vs. non-qualified dealer

618,260,337,144

0.009305

3

0.027915

Win 2x Play w/ THREE_OF_A_KIND vs. non-qualified dealer

144,904,859,028

0.002181

2

0.004362

Win 2x Play w/ TWO_PAIRS vs. non-qualified dealer

1,898,618,140,944

0.028575

2

0.057149

Win 2x Play w/ ONE_PAIR vs. non-qualified dealer

2,363,506,427,088

0.035571

2

0.071143

Win 1x Play w/ FOUR_OF_A_KIND vs. qualified dealer

349,955,952

0.000005

12

0.000063

Win 1x Play w/ STRAIGHT vs. qualified dealer

6,321,867,792

0.000095

3

0.000285

Win 1x Play w/ THREE_OF_A_KIND vs. qualified dealer

55,773,134,484

0.000839

2

0.001679

Win 1x Play w/ TWO_PAIRS vs. qualified dealer

677,790,208,140

0.010201

2

0.020402

Win 1x Play w/ ONE_PAIR vs. qualified dealer

1,790,737,887,912

0.026951

2

0.053902

Lose 1x Play vs. qualified dealer

10,014,543,966,612

0.150721

-3

-0.452164

Tie 1x Play vs. qualified dealer

195,881,895,144

0.002948

0

0.000000

Win 1x Play w/ STRAIGHT vs. non-qualified dealer

1,944,063,612

0.000029

2

0.000059

Win 1x Play w/ THREE_OF_A_KIND vs. non-qualified dealer

521,670,744

0.000008

1

0.000008

Win 1x Play w/ TWO_PAIRS vs. non-qualified dealer

57,782,013,408

0.000870

1

0.000870

Win 1x Play w/ ONE_PAIR vs. non-qualified dealer

2,716,947,685,944

0.040891

1

0.040891

Win 1x Play w/ HIGH_CARD vs. non-qualified dealer

218,296,927,728

0.003285

1

0.003285

Lose 1x Play vs. non-qualified dealer

142,599,511,272

0.002146

-2

-0.004292

Tie 1x Play vs. non-qualified dealer

21,633,803,136

0.000326

0

0.000000

Fold

15,265,300,263,840

0.229747

-2

-0.459493

total

66,444,101,724,000

1.000000

-0.020583

expected

66,444,101,724,000

 

One Response

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  1. CD Flop said, on July 20, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    Tried this at Rincon last weekend. Went to the table blind, as I wanted to try something other than UTH, which has been kicking my butt for more than a year now. At first, I thought this game was easy, as I was winning every hand early on…Hahahaha. We all know it’s never that easy…for long. I proceeded to lose my $1000 buy-in within 30-45 minutes. I was expecting to see a lot more bigger hands than in UTH, but for this short session, I didn’t see any…maybe because there were only two players on the table, including me. I will def play this game more when I am at Rincon…and def after I go over the strategy. I also need to try Chase The Flush!


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