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Caribbean Stud Poker: Strategies

Caribbean Stud Poker is a table game found in land-based and online casinos and is based on the same principal as five-card stud poker. But unlike other poker games, Caribbean Stud players are set against the house and not other players. Therefore, bluffing is useless in Caribbean Stud Poker.

Caribbean Stud Poker

Like many casino games, the history of this game is sordid. And, there are many different variations of where it originally spawned. This house game created in hopes to attract more poker players to the tables. But, it is not known for sure who invented the game and wrote the rules. Though gambling authority David Sklansky claims he did in 1982 under the name Casino Poker, but was unable to patent the game. It later patented in Aruba by another player who brought the game there and deemed it Caribbean Stud Poker.

Yet another yarn tells that the game was being played on a cruise ship to Aruba under a different name. It bought by a proprietor after he discovered the game on the ship and later received its present-day name. Whatever its origin, Caribbean Stud Poker has become one of the most popular casino table games in the world, offered at nearly every full casino in the world.


How to Play Caribbean Stud Poker

Everyone seated at the table dealt five cards by the dealer, who then turns over one of the cards and pushes the other four cards towards the player. At this time, players allowed to view their cards. And just like regular poker, all of the players can either play or fold their hands. If playing the hand, they must place a raise into the marked box “Bet”. The dealer reveals his four cards after everyone has made their decisions and bets. The dealer then compares his hand to the other players individually.

For the dealer to qualify (play), he has to hold a King and an Ace, a pair, or any other high-ranking poker hand. Those who do not beat the dealer lose the raise wager and the ante. In the event of a tie, the raise and ante bets push. When the dealer’s hand does not qualify, the raise bets pushed. Or, returned to the table, while the ante bets paid to the players.

The table layout features marked spots that dictate where players must place their antes to be eligible to participate in the hand. The progressive jackpot feature of the game can be opted for before the dealer announces, “No more bets.” To play the progressive jackpot, drop a chip in the slot, which turns on the light for that seat for the duration of the current hand.

Playing Caribbean Poker

Before we delve into the mechanics of a Caribbean Poker hand, let's quickly run through the standard payouts for each game:

  • Caribbean Stud Poker Payouts
  • Royal flush 100 to 1
  • Straight flush 50 to 1
  • Four of a kind 20 to 1
  • Full house 7 to 1
  • Flush 5 to 1
  • Straight 4 to 1
  • Three of a kind 3 to 1
  • Two pair 2 to 1
  • All other 1 to 1

Tips to Play Caribbean Poker

When you're doing some online gambling, Caribbean Poker played against the dealer and not a host of players like a standard game of poker. Once you've sat down to play Caribbean Poker, the game includes the following aspects: an opening wager, five cards and battle between two hands. Once you've played an opening wager, you will give you five cards face down. The dealer will also receive five cards, the only difference being that one of their five will be exposed.

The dealer's face-up card is pivotal in the game and can help influence your decisions later in the game. When you gamble online, Caribbean Poker has two main options following the deal: fold or raise (challenge the dealer). The betting requires you to put in a wager which is double the size of your opening stake.

How to play?

Once you've made this decision, the dealer reveals their cards and if they meet the qualifying standards then a showdown takes place. The minimum hand a dealer must hold in order to qualify in a game of Caribbean Poker is Ace/ King high. This means their hand must contain both an ace and a king in order for them to be able to play on.

If you decide to raise your hand and the dealer doesn't qualify, you win even money on your opening ante and your raise bet is returned. Thus, if you bet $5 initially and raised a further $10, you would receive a total of $20 back if the dealer failed to qualify ($5+$5 + $10).

If the dealer qualifies and holds a better hand than you all your money taken by the casino. Finally, if the dealer qualifies and you win then your ante paid out at even money. And, your ante paid out according to the strength of your hand.

Standard Rules

In US casinos, the rules of Caribbean Stud Poker vary somewhat depending on where you are playing. The most important rules required players to follow them. However, at all times, and these do not vary by location. The first rule of Caribbean Stud Poker is that there is to be only one hand per player. And, players are not able to wager or hold on multiple hands at the table. Also, during the game players not allowed to talk or communicate in any way to the dealer or the other players about the hand. If they do so, they forfeit their wagers or the hand results in a “dead hand.”


Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy

The best strategy to use in Caribbean Stud Poker is to play A-K, which reduces the casino edge in the game significantly. In order to play this strategy one of three situations need to occur. When the dealer is showing an Ace or King as his face up card, it is an optimal time to raise A-K-Q and A-K-J hands. This is because the player has blockers to the dealer’s pairs and is likely to be the best A-K hand.

A player can use this strategy when the dealer’s face up card is a 2. And, up to a Queen when that player has the same card in his hand. This strategy referred to as the “Blocker Effect.” If the dealer is showing a 2 through a 5 as the turned card it is another good time to use this strategy. The best tip to remember for basic Caribbean Stud strategy is to play any pair you have and to fold less than AK.

Caribbean Stud Poker Online Live Dealer


If you’d like to play Caribbean Stud poker online you can usually opt between a completely automated online Caribbean Stud Poker table or one with a live dealer. A live dealer online Caribbean Stud poker table will operate very much like a live one with the dealer viewable via a live streaming camera set up by the table. The online player will commit to and transfer all bets online but can interact with the dealer via chat box.

Caribbean Stud Poker Online – Basic Strategy Tips

By learning how to play optimal Caribbean Stud poker strategy, you can decrease the house edge from about 5% down to less than 1%. So, it’s definitely worth your while to learn the basics.

Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy Tip #1 – Don’t Play the Progressive Bet

The first, and most important, is to avoid playing the progressive jackpot bet. Like most progressive jackpots, it looks really good. You’ve also got five different hands you can hit to get a share of it. The truth, though, is your odds of making one of those 5-card hands in one deal are very, very low. So low, of course, that you will never make even money by playing the progressive jackpot bet.

The actual house edge in most cases with the progressive jackpot bet is 26%, which shows you how unfavorable it is. By all means, of course, play the progressive jackpot bet if you’re just out to have a good time and like a little thrill to your gamble. But long term, it’s not a winner.

Tip #2 – Always Raise with Pair or Better

By “raise” here we mean pay the additional bet after the hands dealt. In this case, if you dealt any pair (yes, this includes 22) you should ALWAYS pay the extra bet to face the dealer’s hand.

Caribbean Stud Poker Tip #3 – Always Fold Any Hand with Less Than AK

If you’re five-card hand has an Ace and a King or higher, play on. If you don’t have at least and Ace and a King, fold it. Every time.

Tip #4 – If You Have AK, Bet if Up Card is Queen or Lower

More sophisticated Caribbean Stud poker strategy required if you dealt Ace-King. If you’re holding AK and the dealer’s up card is a queen or lower. And matches one of your cards. Meaning it is less likely the dealer has a pair with that card, always bet. If the dealer’s up card is an Ace or a King, but you have a Queen or a Jack as well. You should also play the extra bet.

In Conclusion

Caribbean Stud Poker appeals to many players and is a very unique variation of standard five-card draw. So, if you’re a fan of five-card or other table games such as blackjack or craps. You will likely take to Caribbean Stud Poker. It does, however, take some extent of patience to wait for the right hand and discipline to stick to strategy. So, if you are the type to make rash decisions and get bored easily. You might not find this game too exciting. (Source: Vegas Slots Online)