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Caribbean Stud Poker – Rules Strategy & Tips

Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud Poker – also known as Casino Stud Poker is based on 5 Card Stud. There are a few differences between the two, the main one of which is that the Caribbean version is played directly against the casino itself instead of other players.

Although Caribbean Stud Poker is a fairly new game compared to some casino games, the exact origins of the game are unknown. Poker player David Sklansky made a claim that he was the creator, under the name Casino Poker back in 1982. The rules were slightly different, the main one being the dealer showed 2 cards upturned instead of 1. Several years after creation it was introduced at the King Casino in Aruba and a few minor changes were made to the rules as it became the version we see now.

Caribbean Stud Poker Rules

Caribbean Stud Poker RulesLike most casino table games, you buy in with chips and the first thing you need to do is to decide how much to bet.

It is important to note at this point that there are 2 bets in a game of Caribbean Stud Poker, therefore the initial bet should be half of what you are prepared to bet every hand.

Although you play directly against the casino, other players can be playing in the same game but you don’t need to worry about their hand or beat them in order to win.

To start, you need to place an Ante bet in the relevant spot on the table. These are placed by all players involved in the hand prior to any cards being dealt.

There is normally a progressive jackpot option as well, the equivalent of a side-bet, you can place a separate bet for this as well if you want.

All players and the dealer are then dealt 5 cards. All player cards are dealt face down and you are unable to discuss any cards with other players. One of the five dealer cards is dealt face up.

At this point in the hand, you have the only choice to make during the game – Raise (sometimes just referred to as Bet) or Fold.

If you choose to Fold, you will be out of the hand, your Ante Bet and any Jackpot Bet is lost.

If you choose to Raise, you will need to place a further bet equal to your Ante bet.

If you stay in the hand, once you place your Raise Bet the actions chosen by you are over and the Dealer will then turn over their 4 remaining downturned cards.

In order to ‘Qualify’, the Dealer must have at least a Pair or higher or an Ace-King in their hand if they don’t have at least a Pair.

Therefore, the worst hand a Dealer needs in order to Qualify is an A, K, 2, 3 and 4.

The best hand they could have where they don’t Qualify would be A, Q, J, 10 and 9.

When the Dealer does not Qualify, any Players left in the hand win even money on the Ante Bet but the Raise Bet would Push. If the Dealer does not qualify, it does not matter what the strength of the Players hand is.

If the Dealer’s hand beats the Players hand, then both the Ante Bet and Raise Bet are lost.

If the Dealer has at least an Ace and King and therefore qualifies, their hand is compared to that of any Players left.

Should the Dealer’s hand be better, both the Ante Bet and Raise Bet will lose.

If the hands are identical then both the Ante Bet and Raise Bet push and money will be returned.

If the Player hand beats the Dealer’s hand, the Ante Bet pays out even money.

The Raise Bet Paytable

Please note that the below is a fairly standard payout table that you will find in the majority of Casinos, some may vary a small amount however so it is worth checking so you get at least the below returns before deciding where to play.

100 – 1Royal Flush
50 – 1Straight Flush
20 – 14 of a Kind
7 – 1Full House
5 – 1Flush
4 – 1Straight
3 – 13 of a Kind
2 – 12 Pair
1 – 1Everything Else


The Progressive Jackpot payouts can also vary, but you will normally find it pays out 100% if you have a Royal Flush and 10% of the Jackpot amount if you have a Straight Flush. Any other hand is a loser when it comes to the Progressive Jackpot.

A typical example of the layout for a Caribbean Stud Poker table when playing online is shown below:

Caribbean Stud Poker table

The Ante bet is $10, and $1 for the Jackpot bet. Now you have your 5 cards and you can see 1 of the upturned Dealer cards, and you need to decide whether to Fold or Bet, this would be a further $10, the same as your Ante bet.


Caribbean Stud Poker StrategyWithout knowing more than just 1 of the Dealers card, it isn’t easy to put together a strategy that increases your chances of winning by much.

We would recommend that you make a Raise Bet every time you have a Pair or higher.

We also recommend that you Fold if you have less than Ace, King – the hand the Dealer requires in order to Qualify.

If you have Ace-King yourself, this is the tricky part about whether to Bet or Fold. If you have 3 fairly high cards on top of the Ace and King, you should Raise, the same as if the Dealers upturned card is a Jack or lower and matches one of your cards – this makes it less likely the Dealer will hit a Pair.

The House Edge for following the above strategy is 5.22%.

Caribbean Stud Poker Tips

Caribbean Stud Poker TipsThe average House Edge when playing the Progressive Jackpot is 26.46% and should, therefore, be avoided. Yes, there is a chance to win big and it is therefore tempting but you will lose whilst playing it in the long run.

When deciding on your budget for a session on Caribbean Stud Poker, remember that you need to make 2 bets in order to stay in the hand. Therefore, whilst we would normally suggest you split your budget into 40 bets, for Caribbean Stud Poker, this would need to be 80 bets to ensure you have enough for 40 hands.

Don’t bet more you can afford – this is the same for any casino game and will ensure you play your best. You won’t do this if you are worried about losing the money you are betting with and are much more likely to lose.

Enjoy your play. Casino games should be about enjoyment first and foremost, as well as the challenge of winning against the house. If you are not enjoying a game or are worried about losing then walk away.

Related Poker Articles:

Top Real Money Poker Sites
How to Play Red Dog Poker(Yablon)
Razz Poker Strategy

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About the author

Richard Grant
Richard has from an early age been interested in casinos and the thrill of playing casino games. After finishing his degree in Law and business he started this platform in 2007 as a complete resource to online gaming with the primary objective of reducing the house edge for players. Specializing in game guides, reviews, and strategic insights, Richard is devoted to helping you hit the jackpot.



What is Caribbean Stud Poker?

Caribbean Stud Poker is a variant where players don’t play against each other but against the casino or rather the dealer. It’s similar to 5 Card Stud Poker.


What is the difference between Caribbean Stud and 5 Card Stud Poker?

The similarity 5 Card Stud and Caribbean Stud Poker share is that players get 5 cards from the dealer. As mentioned before, players in Caribbean Stud play against the dealer and 5 Card Stud players play against each other, making these 2 Poker versions very different.


Do casinos still offer Caribbean Stud Poker?

This kind of Poker is still popular in some land-based casinos. But this version of Poker is also available online.


Can I play Caribbean Stud Poker online?

Online casinos offer a variety of Poker games, Caribbean Stud Poker included. You can check out the casinos we offer on our site.


How many decks are used in Caribbean Stud Poker?

This Poker variant is played with one standard deck of cards without the Jokers.


What kinds of bets can you place in Caribbean Stud Poker?

You start with the initial bet before the cards are dealt. This is known as the Ante Bet and all players place it before the beginning of a round. You can also place a side bet, which is sometimes linked to a jackpot, and this bet is called the Jackpot Bet. Once the dealer reveals their cards you’ll have the option to Raise the bet to stay in the round. This means placing a bigger bet.


What are your options when playing Caribbean Stud Poker?

At the start of any round of Caribbean Stud Poker, you will need to place a bet. Once you get your cards and the dealer reveals their hand you have the option to fold or raise the bet. If you think you have the right hand, then you can go all the way, if not you can fold. If you fold, then you lose the Ante and Jackpot bets.


What does the payout ratio in Caribbean Stud Poker look like?

Just like in any Poker game, you’ll get various hands throughout the rounds and some will be better than others. The higher you go the better your odds of beating the dealer and the better your payout ratio will be. Here are the standard payout ratios of Caribbean Stud Poker: • Royal Flush pays 100:1 • Straight Flush pays 50:1 • 4 of a Kind pays 20:1 • Full House pays 7:1 • Flush pays 5:1 • Straight pays 4:1 • 3 of a Kind pays 3:1 • 2 Pair pays 2:1 • All other hands pay out 1:1


How many people can play Caribbean Stud Poker?

A maximum of 7 players can enjoy a game of Caribbean Stud Poker.


Is the jackpot side bet always available in Caribbean Stud Poker?

The jackpot side bet or rather the progressive jackpot side bet is an option that some land-based casinos will offer. You may find this option available at some online casinos as well.


Do you have any Caribbean Stud Poker tips?

Although any variant of Caribbean Stud Poker with a progressive jackpot might seem enticing, don’t go for it because the house edge is 26.46% and it doesn’t work in your odds. Instead, go for the ones that don’t offer a progressive jackpot. Have a budget ready for each betting session and organize your funds accordingly. If there’s a free version of the game, play it before you start playing for real money. Finally, don’t forget to adapt your strategy when playing Caribbean Stud, and enjoy the game.

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