Texas Hold’em Bonus: A Guide and How To Play

Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker is a player vs dealer casino game played with a single 52 card deck which can be played both live and online. There is also a unique online live version (played online but with a live dealer based in a bespoke studio setting) which has been developed by Evolution Gaming which in addition to the usual bets and bonus bets has a spectacular progressive jackpot which can grow into millions of euros. As with any form of Texas Hold’em, the aim is to make a better 5 card poker hand than your opponent. In this instance, your opponent is always the dealer as regardless of how many players are seated at the table, you are all playing vs the house rather than each other.

How to Play Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker

Anyone who understands even the basic hand values in regular Texas Hold’em will be able to pick up and play Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker in no time at all – it really is one of the simplest casino games to follow. See below for the list of actions which comprise a Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker Hand

  1. Place the ante – the ante is a mandatory bet each player has to make to enter the hand before any cards are dealt. There is also an option to make a Bonus Side Bet. With Evolution Gaming’s live online version you can also make a First Five Jackpot Side Bet
  2. Each player is dealt two cards face up by the dealer, who also deals a hand for the house face down.
  3. At this stage a player must place a bet twice the size of the ante to continue, or fold the hand and forfeit their ante. NB: If a player has placed a side bet this is still active for the first two cards even if they fold their hand pre-flop.
  4. Three community cards (the flop) are dealt face up in the middle of the table. These cards can be used by all players and the dealer to improve their hand.
  5. Players remaining in the hand now have the option to bet another ante sized bet or check to continue without placing a bet.
  6. Another community card is dealt face up to join the flop; this is called the ‘turn’ card.
  7. Once again the player has the choice to bet (1 x ante) or check. This is the last possible opportunity for a player to bet.
  8. The dealer turns over the final community card (called the river) face up.
  9. The dealer reveals their 2 hole cards and the best 5 card hand between each player and the dealer wins the hand.


  • If the player’s hand beats the dealer’s hand then any bets made (not including the ante or the bonus side bets) during the hand will be paid out at 1:1. The ante will only be paid if the winning hand is a straight or better in which case it will also be paid at 1;1*, if not then the ante will simply be pushed (returned to the player).
  • If the player and the dealer have the same value hand then all bets and antes will be pushed.
  • If the dealer’s hand wins then the ante and play bets are lost.
  • In ALL cases the side bets remain until the end of the game when any winning side bets are paid according to the pay table.

    *please note that some live versions of this game (specifically live in Atlantic City casinos) require at least a flush before the ante bet is paid.

Evolution Gaming’s Bonus Side Bets

Evolution Gaming’s Live Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker offers two side bet options, players can bet on both, one, or neither. There is a standard Bonus Side Bet which you will also find in land based casinos, and the ‘First Five Jackpot Side Bet’ which includes a progressive jackpot which starts at €50,000 and which can reach seven figures. Side bets remain live until the end of the hand, regardless of whether or not a player folds his or her hand pre-flop.

The Bonus Side Bet

Bonus side bets are placed at the same time as the ante, before any cards have been dealt. Essentially you are betting on your two hole cards matching one of the winning combinations laid out in the bonus side bet pay table. These combinations are independent of normal poker valued hands and pay as follows:

Player’s two card hand Paid At
Ace-Ace (player and dealer) 1000:1
Ace-Ace 30:1
Ace-King 25:1
Ace-Queen or Ace-Jack (suited) 20:1
Ace-King (unsuited) 15:1
King-King, Queen-Queen, or Jack 10:1
Ace-Queen or Ace-Jack (unsuited) 5:1
10-10 through 2-2 (pairs) 3:1


Evolution Gaming’s First 5 Jackpot Side Bet

The second optional Bonus Side Bet is unique to Evolution Gaming’s Live Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker, and it comes with a potentially life-changing progressive jackpot seeded by all online casinos carrying the game.

As with the other Bonus Bet all bets are made prior to the start of the hand. This time the player is betting on the outcome of their two unique hole cards plus the three flop cards. Unlike the first Bonus Side Bet this time standard poker hand values apply. The pay table is listed below. Please note that the Royal Flush pays the progressive jackpot which is shared between all players playing the jackpot bet at the time:

Player’s Hand Paid at
Royal Flush Progressive Jackpot (min €50,000)
Straight Flush £2,500
Four of a Kind £250
Full House £50
Flush £25
Straight £10
Three of a Kind £3

Strategy for Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker

We’ll start by saying that of course there is no possible strategy for playing either of the bonus side bets as these bets are made prior to any cards being dealt. However, it’s worth noting that if you’re a conservative gambler then the best strategy would be to avoid them as their RTP’s are considerably lower than the main game. The Bonus Side Bet pays at 91.46%, while the First 5 Jackpot pays at just 81.84%. The main game, on the other hand has a theoretical payout of 97.96% based on the ante bet, and 99.74% based on the total bet.

With so little in the way of conscious decision making to be made during a hand of Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker there is very little in the way of meaningful strategy. There is no room to bluff, no room to bet your opponent off the pot, there is no way to manipulate a player using bet-sizing, sand-bagging, or any other popular hold’em strategy. You can only fold pre-flop and thereafter only make set bets or checks on two streets with no option to bet the river.

That said, there is a little bit of strategy. The most agreed course of action is to play all starting hands except for 2-3, 2-4, 2-5, 2-6, and 2-7. Even then you might want to proceed with these hands if they are suited and therefore have flush potential. The reason for playing such a wide range of hands is that you only have to make one more bet to stay in the hand to its conclusion as no player is required to match their opponent’s bets beyond the 2x ante pre-flop betting round.

There are some online strategy sites which post endless tables of combinations and likely outcomes in order to best determine whether to check or bet or the flop and turn – but frankly they are inordinately dull, time consuming and ultimately not worth an awful lot! If you have a rough idea of your hand strength then you’ll have a pretty good idea what to do. If you would like to play as optimally as possible, however, then there is an online calculator which will do the number crunching for you. For this, check out

Why Evolution Gaming?

We recommend Evolution Gaming’s Live Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker for several reasons. Firstly you get to enjoy the atmosphere of a live game from the comfort of your own home. With the live chat function you can interact in real-time with the dealer. And of course, you can play for that huge progressive jackpot to add a little spice to proceedings. Try Bonus Texas Hold’em at LeoVegas

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