Caribbean Stud Poker: How to Play & more

Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud Poker is a casino game played around a table, bearing a likeness to five-card stud poker. It is played with 52 cards of a single deck. Although it is called Caribbean Stud Poker, many gamblers don’t categorize this game as true poker as you play against the dealer and not against other players as in regular poker. Because you are playing against the house, luck is the deciding factor of Caribbean Stud Poker and you cannot beat this game in the long run. Likewise, you cannot use typical poker playing methods such as bluffing to win your hand.

Typically, players make an initial bet, are dealt a hand and make a decision whether to bet against the house or not. This decision needs to be made based on the player’s five card hand and one of the dealer’s cards which is placed face up. The player has several options of winning the game; however, will lose if the hand is folded or if the dealer has a higher 5-card poker hand.

Caribbean Stud Poker Play

  • The player makes an initial bet against the dealer. This is called an ante.
  • The player is dealt a hand and decides whether to bet against the dealer’s hand. One of the dealer’s cards is visible to help the player make a decision.
  • If the player decides not to continue, the ante is forfeited and the hand is folded.
  • If the player decides to bet against the dealer, the ante must be doubled.
  • The player wins if his hand beats the dealer’s AND the dealer’s hand qualifies.
  • The dealer qualifies by having a hand that contains an Ace, King or better.
  • Should the dealer not qualify, the initial bet is returned on a 1:1 basis and the raise is returned.
  • If the player beats the dealer and the dealer’s hand qualifies, the player is paid on the ante (1:1) and the raise.
  • Payout rates depend on the player’s hand.
  • If the dealer’s hand is better, the player loses the ante and the bet.
  • If the player and dealer have the same hand, the kicker – or highest card – determines who will win the round.

Payout Rates

As mentioned above, if the player has a better hand than the dealer, he is paid 1:1 on the initial bet. The raise is also paid out as follows:

  • If the player won with an ace-king or a single pair, the payout is 1:1
  • If the player won with two pairs, the payout is 2:1
  • If the player won with three of a kind, the payout is 3:1
  • If the player won with on a straight, the payout is 4:1
  • If the player won on a flush, the payout is 5:1
  • If the player won on a full house, the payout is 7:1
  • If the player won on four of a kind, the payout is 20:1
  • If the player won on a straight flush, the payout is 50:1
  • If the player won on a royal flush, the payout is 100:1

Progressive Jackpots

Gamblers at casinos have the option (and advantage) of choosing to take part in a progressive jackpot. Once the first game is over, and the winnings have been collected, players can place an optional bet in the progressive jackpot drop slot if he wishes to pay again.

Players are paid out progressive jackpots as follows:

  • 100% for a royal flush
  • 10% of the jackpot for a straight flush
  • four of a kind, full house and flush hands have a monetary value, depending on the online casino site

Player Strategy for Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud Poker is generally considered an extremely easy game to play. Unfortunately, the simplicity of the game makes players think that they are good at it, only because it takes them longer to lose their money than in other casino games. Obviously, the aim of any casino game is to win, and so it is always good to have an optimal strategy when playing this type of poker.

Generally, casinos have a high edge on you when you play Caribbean Stud Poker: 5.25% on the ante (initial) bets. If you don’t play with some type of strategy or make the mistakes that many players are guilty of making, this edge increases drastically.

So here are some of the things that you shouldn’t do when playing Caribbean Stud Poker:

  • Fold on all pairs under five. If you are one of those people that think that playing low pairs is too risky, think again. The bottom line is that even the lowest pair can beat the dealer at least half the time.
  • Call on an ace-king, while folding on a low pair. In continuation of the first common mistake, statistically speaking, the player actually has more of a chance of beating the dealer with low pairs than with an ace-king.
  • Bet all hands. Don’t be tempted to bluff the dealer. The house will have a qualifying hand over 55% of the time, which makes bluffing pointless in the long run.

Some of the things you should do when playing Caribbean Stud Poker:

  • Players should always raise with a pair or higher.
  • Players should always fold when they have less than the dealer’s qualifying hand.
  • Players should raise on an ace-king if: the dealer’s card is a 2 – queen and matches one of the player’s cards OR if the dealer’s card is an ace or king and the player has a queen or jack OR if the dealer’s rank does not match any of the player’s cards, if the dealer’s card is less than the player’s fourth highest card and if the player has a queen.
  • Statistically, a pair of 8s or higher has the highest chance of winning, regardless of the dealer’s exposed card.
  • Pairs of 5, 6 or 7 are dependent on the strength of the dealer’s exposed card.

Caribbean Stud Poker Table Layout

Caribbean Stud Poker Table Layout

The Optimal Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy

Every casino game has an optimal strategy, taking into account the chances of your beating the house, the player’s ability to memorize rules perfectly and other factors. Most agree however, that the optimal strategy for Caribbean Stud Poker is as follow:

Players should always call a bet when they have a A-K-J-XX or higher OR A-K and the dealer’s upcard denomination. In all other cases, players are advised to fold.

Rules to Consider When Playing Caribbean Stud Poker

Generally speaking, Caribbean Stud Poker follows the same basic methods of playing at most casinos. Rules and regulations can differ from casino to casino, of course, and it is up to the player to read these conditions before beginning a game. As a rule of thumb, however, most casinos follow these rules:

  • To avoid a dead hand and wager forfeiture, players should not communicate with other players or their dealer about their hands.
  • The casino supervisor calls the shots and his or her decision is final.
  • Players cannot wager on a number of hands at one table. Casinos hold up the one-hand-per-player rule.
  • Players need to keep their five cards in view of the dealer. Once they have been examined and placed on the layout (face-down), players are not allowed to touch them again.

Caribbean Stud Poker Differs in the UK and Europe

In most parts of Europe, as well as in the United Kingdom, gamblers play a slightly different version of Caribbean Stud Poker. First, the name is different: In the United Kingdom it is known as Casino Five Card Stud Poker. The other difference is the jackpot factor. While in the United States, most casinos offer jackpots in Caribbean Stud Poker, this isn’t as common in the United Kingdom and Europe. Payout rates also differ in the UK and Europe. All payouts are paid on the raise, with maximum bets also differing (usually 100 GB Pounds on the initial bet and 200 Pounds on the raise).


Caribbean Stud Poker is one of the more exciting games to be found at a casino. It is perfect for players who aren’t sure of the many complex rules of pure poker, yet want to be part of the action; or simply for anybody who feels like taking a break from playing against other players. Although the house holds a high edge (5.25%), players can still win a nice amount of money if they play the optional jackpot and if luck is on their side.

Players can take full advantage of the free software available at most good online casinos to practice the game and see for themselves how the optimal strategies and betting options work. In this way, they are not risking a cent and get to gain confidence in one of the most popular games to be found in the gambling world.

Posted by CCJ Team

Caribbean Stud Poker

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