Caribbean Stud Poker is a popular casino card game where players bet against the house and not against each other. You get dealt five cards and have to decide whether you will play against the dealer by calling, or choose to fold if your cards are not strong enough to play.
The game of Caribbean Stud Poker begins with players placing ante bets. All players get five cards facedown, as does the dealer. Once the cards are dealt, the dealer then turns one of their own cards face up, exposing it to the players so that they have some information regarding the dealer's hand. Players then have the option of:
- Calling - a Call Bet equal to two times the size of the player's original ante must be made.
- Folding - surrendering their ante and folding their cards.
If the player decides to call and compete against the dealer's hand, all cards are exposed and there is a showdown between the dealer's hand and the player's hand. The dealer's hand must qualify for the player to win on the call bet, and in order to qualify, the dealer must have Ace-King or better. Once all of the cards are exposed, one of three scenarios will occur on showdown:
- Dealer does not qualify – Player's ante bet is paid 1:1.
- Dealer qualifies and beats the player – Player loses their ante and call bets.
- Dealer qualifies and loses to the player – Player's ante bet is paid 1:1 and player's call bet is paid out as follows:
- 1:1 for Pair or High Card
- 2:1 for Two Pairs
- 3:1 for Three of a Kind (Trips)
- 4:1 for Straight
- 5:1 for Flush
- 7:1 for Full House
- 20:1 for Four of a Kind (Quads)
- 50:1 for Straight Flush
- 100:1 for Royal Flush
Almost all Caribbean Stud Poker games have a sidebet where you can wager a small amount for a chance of hitting a large jackpot. At times, online Caribbean Stud Poker jackpots can get very large. The payouts for the jackpot are usually ordered in the following way:
- Royal Flush – 100% of jackpot
- Straight Flush – 10% of jackpot
- Four of a Kind – Fixed amount (for example $1000)
- Full House – Fixed amount (for example $300)
- Flush – Fixed amount (for example $100)
Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy
The strategy of the game is actually very simple – play any pair you get and fold anything less than A-K. This simple Caribbean Stud Poker strategy actually reduces the house edge and significantly increases your chances of winning. In order to take advantage of your A-K hand you must know how to play it. Here are some tips:
- Raise A-K-Q and A-K-J if the dealer shows an Ace or a King as their faceup card. With you having A-K the dealer's chances of collecting a high pair are reduced and your A-K is most likely to turn out as the best hand.
- A-K-Q and A-K-J should also be raised if the dealer shows any card from 2 to 5. Ace-King will most likely be the best hand.
- If the dealer gets anything from 2 to Q as their open card and you have the same card in your hand, raise your A-K.
Keep in mind that the chances of getting a strong hand in Caribbean Stud Poker are not very high for either the player or the dealer, so don't be afraid to play small hands like pairs or two pair. Most of the time you will either be dealt nothing or a pair, so take advantage of reasonable cards when you get the chance. While two pair and three of a kind can also be common, they still don't appear often enough to cause any real concern about the dealer's hand. Another thing to be prepared for in Caribbean Stud Poker is that a lot of dealer's hands will not qualify.