You don’t need to be a card shark to play Texas Hold’em anymore. Real Time Gaming has joined other casinos, both on land in the virtual world, to present a casino table game version of the popular skill-based poker room game. RTG’s version is called Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker. Anyone familiar with the rules of the community poker game will pick up this game quickly. The hand rankings are the same and the basic ground rules are similar. Where it differs from the live-action game is that this game is strictly one-on-one against a dealer who doesn’t know what cards they have, nor do they have any tells to give. Players make one bet at the start of the round and then must pay to stay in the game before the next round. In the bonus version, players can also choose to make a side bet that pays out based on the first two cards dealt and has nothing to do with how well the hand stacks up against the dealer’s hand.
In this online version, players start by choosing their wagering amount for the ante, then clicking on the button labeled “deal” to be dealt their two pocket cards. The dealer also gets two face-down cards, and plays no matter what these cards are. If the player has made a bonus bet wager and their hole cards match one of the payout combinations in the bonus bet chart, they are paid instantly here.
After the player gets their two hole cards, he makes his decisions as to whether or not to keep playing. He can decide to fold right then or to bet and put more chips into the hand. When the player clicks the “bet” button, the software will automatically add another wager that is double the amount of the player’s ante wager. The dealer will then deal three more cards onto the table. These represent the flop, and are community cards that can be used in both the player’s and the dealer’s hands. The player again chooses whether to check or make another bet that is equal the ante. A fourth community card is dealt, followed by the chance for the player to check or make a wager. Then, the fifth and final community card is dealt, the dealer’s cards are turned over and the winner is declared based on which hand ranks the highest.
It’s worth pointing out that the player must wager the ante before the cards are dealt, then if they want to continue playing they will wager twice the ante, meaning whatever chip denomination the player begins with, to play the full hand they will end up wagering three times that amount. Beginning players should start out by wagering the lowest amount that the table will allow just to get a feel for how the betting structure works. The bets made after the flop are made only to add to the player’s wager should they feel they have a strong hand. The player is allowed to use the cards dealt in the turn and the river whether they make bets on those rounds or not.
Should the player and the dealer’s hands be the same, it will be declared a push and the player’s money returned to him. If the dealer’s hand beats the players, the player naturally loses all his wagers. If the player’s hand wins and it ranks less than a straight, the player wins even money on the flop, turn and river bets and is given their ante back. If they earn a straight or better, they win even money on their ante bet as well.