Evolution Live Holdem Reviewed: 2-Handed Casino Holdem rules & strategy.
Evolution Gaming has produced some (if not all) of the world’s finest live dealer casino games. Their tables stream out of warehouse studios from Latvia, Europe to B.C., Canada, and a handful of major land-based casinos in between. They are most famous for their blackjack, roulette, and off-the-wall live gaming tables, but they also present some lesser-talked-about classics, live 2-Handed Live Casino Holdem.
Today we’ll be taking a close-up look at these 2-handed, house-banked holdem tables. We’ll start with a synopsis of the gaming experience, followed by a quick rundown of the rules, and finish with everyone’s favorite – a basic, easy to follow strategy to ensure the highest theoretical return to your bankroll.
Evolution Live Holdem Reviewed
Evolution Gaming overhauled its tables in early 2019, giving the whole studio a sleek, monochrome design. Smooth greys of all shades, offset with shimmering silver, creates an opulent feel that’s soothing and easy on the eyes. It also makes the red lettering on the Casino Holdem tables, as well as the cards, pop in unmistakable fashion.
Combine this with some of the industry’s friendliest and most professional dealers, and you can’t beat Evolution’s live platform. The iGaming public couldn’t agree more, having voted Evolution the eGR Live Casino Supplier of the Year for the last 10 straight years.
How to Play 2-Handed Live Casino Holdem
The game is incredibly similar to Texas Holdem Poker except that it’s house banked. As such, you’re not competing against other players, but against the dealer. As the name implies, there are two player hands being dealt. You don’t have to play them both. You can bet on Hand 1 (right side), or Hand 2 (left side), or both hands. It’s totally up to you. There’s also an optional Bonus Side Bet for each, which I’ll talk more about below.
The game starts with an Ante bet (in the Ante betting circle). The dealer will then give each hand two cards – face up for the player hands, face down for the dealer. The first three of five community cards are also dealt face up.
At this point, you can see your first five of seven cards. You’ll be asked to either Fold, forfeiting the Ante bet, or continue by placing a Play bet (in the Play betting circle). Play bets are 2x the Ante. The final two community cards are then dealt face up.
The idea is to end with a higher ranking hand than the dealer’s hand, using the 7 cards (2 hole cards + 5 community cards) available. However, as the table felt clearly indicates, “Dealer Qualifies with Pair of 4s or Better”. Based on these rules and dealer qualification, here’s what will happen…
- Player Wins – Dealer Qualifies: Player wins 1:1 on Play Bet; Ante pays according to Ante Pay Table below.
- Player Wins – Dealer Doesn’t Qualify: Play Bet is a Push; Ante pays according to Ante Pay Table below.
- Dealer Wins – Dealer Qualifies: Player loses all bets.
- Dealer Wins – Dealer Doesn’t Qualify: Play Bet is a Push; Ante bet is lost.
Ante Bet Pay Table
|Player beats Dealer with…||Payout|
|Four of a Kind||10:1|
|Straight or Less||1:1|
Bonus Side Bet
An optional Bonus side bet can be placed before the hand is dealt. This bet wins if the corresponding hand ends as a Pair of Aces or anything better. The higher the hand ranks, the higher the payout. Note that the Bonus bet pays irrespective of the base game.
|Player’s Hand Rank (Win or Lose)||Payout|
|Four of a Kind||40:1|
|Three of a Kind||7:1|
|Pair of Aces||7:1|
2-Handed Live Holdem Strategy
First things first, playing one or two hands has no bearing whatsoever on proper strategy. If you choose to play both hands, play them irrespective of each other. Doing so will present each hand with a 97.84% RTP, and a 99.18% theoretical payout on combined Ante and Play bets. As for the Bonus side bet, it is a separate entity with an RTP of 93.74% (not recommended!)
The proper strategy for Evolution Live Holdem is as follows:
|If this happens…||Do this…|
|One of your Hole Cards pairs the Board||Play|
|One of your Hole Cards is Ace or King High||Play|
|Both of your Hole Cards are higher than the Board||Play|
|One of your Hole Cards is Queen or Jack High, and the Board is mixed suits||Play|
|You’re 1-card away from a Straight or Flush||Play|
|You have none of the above, and the Board Flops a Pair||Fold|