The rules of Royal Hold'em

What is Royal Hold'em?

Royal Hold'em is both very similar to and very different from Texas Hold'em. Very similar because the unwinding of a Royal Hold'em hand will occur exactly like the unwinding of a Texas Hold'em hand. But very different because cards 2 to 9 will have been removed from the deck, leaving only 20 cards in play; four T's, four J's, four Q's, four K's and four A's. Since Royal Hold'em is only played with 20 cards, this variant will only accommodate a maximum of 6 players per table

As far as the rest of the game goes, everything is identical to a game of Texas Hold'em. Each player will receive, as in Texas Hold'em, two private cards and must make the best 5-card combination using their private cards and the 5 community cards

If you are interested in the variant, here is some information to consider before you start

The strength of the hands

Obviously, having only the broadway cards will greatly affect the strength of the hands you see on the tables. In a regular game of Texas Hold'em, a full hand (full or full house) beats a flush if the flush is not a straight-flush. In Royal Hold'em, the only possible color will be the Royal Flush and therefore the color will always be the best hand

Straights will often be vulnerable, even when you've flopped one. The reason being that on the turn, the odds will be high that the even board will be even (so that a full hand will be possible) or that the board will be a "4 card straight" (four cards that do not follow numerically). For example, if you have J-T on Q-K-A and the turn results in a J, your straight won't be as strong since only your T will count. And if the river is a Q or a K for example, you can be against a square or full hands. The majority of turns and rivers will be dynamic, i.e. they will often greatly change the nature of the painting. A very good hand at the flop will not always be a very good hand at the river

The advantage of playing Royal Hold'em

If you are good with math, you'll be happy to know that Royal Hold'em will give you an edge. Since there are only 20 cards in the deck, your evaluations and equities calculations will be more accurate than in Texas Hold'em. At the turn for example, you will already know 6 cards (the 4 communes of the table plus your two private cards) of the 20 total cards

The selection of hands

As with any form of poker, hand selection is one of the keys to success. In Royal Hold'em, hands like AA or KK remain very powerful. But a hand like AK will be much less powerful in Royal Hold'em than in Texas Hold'em. In Texas Hold'em, AK is seen as a premium hand while in Royal Hold'em, AK is a good hand, but nothing more. As for QQ and JJ, you will be able to raise them according to your position. But a 3bet is not always suggested with these hands as would be the case in Texas Hold'em. You will be able to call more often than you can raise with QQ or JJ. Don't forget that if the pot is multi-way, it will be very important to recognize the tables that will not be favorable to our hand. When in doubt, it is probably better to put your hand down than to put your hand in a trap that could cost you dearly

As in all poker variants, the position remains very valuable. Don't forget that playing Under The Gun (UTG) is difficult and raising with too much range from this position can cause you a lot of post-flop trouble

L’action post-flop

Kind of like a game of Omaha, be careful post-flop with any hand that isn't the nuts or doesn't offer a draw to the nuts. ABC poker should be very profitable against the majority of beginner players. Note that these beginner players will tend, most of the time, to overestimate the strength of their hand, especially if they are regulars in Texas Hold'em

Some strategic notions

In a classic Hold'em game, you will receive a pair of aces once out of 221. In a game of Royal Hold'em, you will receive one, 1 time out of 32. One out of 16 times you will have a pair of kings or a pair of aces. This means that you will never go long without having a hand to play. Having said that, on a beginners' table, patience will be required

In Royal Hold'em, it will be easier to read your opponents and vice versa. For this reason, when you have the best hand, bet to maximize your profits, but do it reasonably so as not to scare your opponents. Bet just enough to maximize your profits, but just enough not to drive them out of your hand. As a general rule, your opponents will give you much more credit than in Hold'em for having a particular hand

Although bluffs will not be your bread and butter, it will still be possible to bluff players who are too tight or too conservative. Keep your eyes open and take mental notes to identify the right candidates to bluff. If your bluffs don't work when you had the intuition that they would, don't hesitate to take notes on these opponents to adjust in the future

If your opponents are very curious and call a lot preflop, don't hesitate to raise bigger. Firstly, you'll make more money if they call when you have good hands and secondly, if they fold, there's no harm in winning the preflop hand at Royal Hold'em. A multi-way pot can quickly become hell to play, even when you have a good hand