How to Play Caribbean Stud Poker
Caribbean Stud Poker is a fun casino game that can be played on online casinos, as well as in traditional live casinos. It’s a table game that takes the action of five-card poker and pits each player against the dealer with the goal of having a stronger hand.
Some players may be intimidated the first time they see Caribbean Stud Poker because of the large raises and the number of cards in play, but the game is actually quite simple. The combination of strategy, a relatively slow pace of play and the potential to win big progressive jackpots have made Caribbean Stud Poker a popular casino pastime.
Caribbean Stud Poker Rules
Each player begins the game by making an ante bet. Each player is given a five card hand, face down. The dealer is also given a five card hand, with one card revealed face up for the players to see.
Each player can now look at their hand and decide if they want to fold or raise. If the player folds, they surrender their ante bet and the hand is over for that player. If they raise, they must make a raise bet of twice the size of their ante bet.
After each player has made their decision to raise or fold, the dealer reveals his hand. If the dealer has ace-king high or better, the dealer “qualifies.” If the dealer does not qualify, each player remaining in the hand wins even money on the ante, and the raise bets push.
If the dealer does qualify, each player’s hand is compared to the dealers. If the dealer beats the player, the player loses both the ante and the raise bet. If the player beats the dealer, both bets win instead. The ante wins at even money, while the raise bet is paid at odds that are based on a pay table that can vary from casino to casino. Here is one typical raise pay table:
- Royal Flush: 100-1
- Straight Flush: 50-1
- Four of a Kind: 20-1
- Full House: 7-1
- Flush: 5-1
- Straight: 4-1
- Three of a Kind: 3-1
- Two Pair: 2-1
- Pair or Less: 1-1
Caribbean Stud Poker Progressive Side Bet
Many players also choose to play the progressive side bet that’s usually offered at Caribbean Stud tables. To take this bet, you must place $1 in the appropriate spot. If you are dealt a strong hand – usually a flush or better – you’ll win the bet. In most cases, a straight flush pays out 10% of the jackpot amount, while a royal flush pays off the entire jackpot. While the progressive side bet usually isn’t a great deal for the player, if the jackpot gets high enough, it can become profitable. The point at which this happens varies by pay table, but is usually over $200,000.
Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy
While learning the optimal strategy is nearly impossible, Caribbean Stud Poker strategy is still rather simple if you’re content with getting very close to perfection. The two important rules to remember are to raise with every pair or better, and fold anything that wouldn’t qualify for the dealer (less than ace-king high). What to do with exactly ace-king high is the tricky part. Perfect strategy results in a house edge of about 5.2%; simply raising only on pairs or better only brings that up to 5.5%, while raising on every ace-king high or better results in an edge of about 5.7%. If you want to fine tune your strategy further, raising with ace-king high only if the dealer’s up card matches the rank of one of your cards results in only a 5.3% house edge.