Caribbean Stud Poker – Learn How to Play This Game

caribbean stud poker

10 minutes

Last Updated: February 17, 2024

Although it’s one of the youngest poker variations, Caribbean Stud Poker is one of the most popular games for seasoned poker players and beginners alike.

A simple game with a few twists and potentially huge payouts, Caribbean Stud Poker can be very entertaining.

That said, it’s important to know all of the rules before playing live or at an online casino, as this will help you make smarter decisions and increase your winning chances.

In this detailed Caribbean Stud Poker guide, we’ll cover everything you should know about the game and take you through the best Caribbean Stud Poker strategies.

What Is Caribbean Stud Poker?

Caribbean Stud Poker is a popular casino table game based on the classic five-stud poker variation. There’s not much information available on when exactly the game was invented or who came up with it.

Gambling historians believe that the first version of Caribbean Stud Poker originates back to the 1980s, but there’s not enough substantial evidence to prove this.

Famous poker pro David Sklansky claims to have developed the game in 1982, but his variation differed in certain rules.

Caribbean Stud Poker is a very straightforward game with easy-to-understand rules. One of the main aspects in which it’s different from other popular poker variations is that you’re not playing against other players. Instead, you’re playing directly against the dealer.

This makes the atmosphere at the table more amicable than in poker variations like Texas Hold’em, as players aren’t trying to outplay each other.

Rather, they often cheer each other on and celebrate when they beat the dealer, just like in 3 Card Poker. The Caribbean Stud Poker table can accommodate up to seven players at the same time.

Additionally, unlike some of the most popular poker variants, Caribbean Stud Poker doesn’t include any mental aspects of the game, as bluffing is not an option.

Moreover, the cards you get are the ones you have for the entire round. There are no additional draws you can use to improve your hand.

Caribbean Stud Poker Rules – How to Play It

caribbean stud poker rules

Every player that wants to participate in the round should place the initial bet, also known as the ante. Following this, the dealer will deal five cards to every player participating in the round. The dealer will also deal five cards to themselves.

All players will receive their cards face-down. The dealer will flip one of their cards, usually the last one, and place it face-up.

After this, the players can look at their cards and decide if they want to place an additional bet, also called a raise or play bet. This bet is typically two times the amount of the initial bet.

Players who decide not to place the additional bet automatically forfeit their ante. The only way to remain in the hand is to place the additional raise/play bet.

After every player makes a decision, the dealer will reveal their hand. If the dealer’s hand qualifies, they compare it individually to each player at the table.

If the player has a stronger hand, they will receive both the 1:1 ante bet payout and the raise/play bet payout. The payout for the latter will be determined based on your hand’s overall strength, but more on that later.

On rare occasions, a tie between the dealer and player can occur. In this situation, the player will receive both their ante and raise/play bet back.

Caribbean Stud Rules for The Dealer

Besides the basic rules of the game, there are unique rules for the dealer that separate  Caribbean Stud Poker from other casino games. More precisely, there are specific conditions the dealer’s hand should meet for the dealer to open their hand.

The dealer’s hand must include at least an Ace-King or higher. For instance, the lowest possible hand the dealer can have and open their hand is A, K, 4, 3, 2.

If the dealer has a weaker hand than the one above, you will get a 1:1 payout on your ante. But, you won’t get a payout for your raise/play bet. The outcome is considered a “push”, and this bet is simply returned to you.

Caribbean Stud Poker House Edge

caribbean stud poker strategy

As you’re playing against the dealer, you also need to be mindful of the house edge. In this regard, Caribbean Stud Poker, unfortunately, isn’t a very favorable casino game for players.

This is because the house edge is a fairly high 5.2%, much higher than the house edge in Blackjack, for example.

In other words, for every $100 you bet, the casino is taking over $5. Compare this to other table games like blackjack (house edge between 0.5% and 2%) and baccarat (house edge only 1.06%).

It’s clear that Caribbean Stud Poker comes with a high house edge, even when played optimally. This makes it a relatively poor choice for long-term gambling.

Payouts in Caribbean Stud Poker

If you manage to beat the dealer’s hand, you’ll potentially be up for a very solid payout, based on your hand’s value.

If you have a better hand than the dealer, but only have a pair or less, you will get paid 1:1, or even money. That is, the dealer has to at least qualify for this to happen.

That said, the stronger your hand is, the better payout you can expect. Here’s a complete rundown of the different payout available in Caribbean Stud Poker:

  • Royal Flush – 100:1
  • Straight Flush – 50:1
  • Four-of-a-Kind – 20:
  • Full House – 7:1
  • Flush – 5:1
  • Straight – 4:1
  • Three-of-a-Kind – 3:1
  • Two Pair – 2:1

These payouts are the standard in most casinos but can be different depending on where you’re playing Caribbean Stud Poker. Knowing this, make sure to always check the payout table before playing the game.

Caribbean Stud Poker Jackpot – A Popular Side Bet

To make this game even more interesting, Caribbean Stud Poker offers a progressive jackpot that can provide additional payouts and provide you with even more value.

What’s great about this feature is that it rewards you regardless of the base game result. You don’t have to beat the dealer’s hand to qualify for the progressive jackpot.

Depending on the strength of your hand, you will receive a differently-valued jackpot. The specifics on how much you’ll receive for each hand can vary from casino to casino. That said, this information should always be transparently displayed and easy for you to see.

To give you a better sense of what you can expect from Caribbean Stud Poker progressive jackpots, here’s an example of a typical payout overview:

  • Royal Flush – You will receive the full progressive jackpot amount.
  • Straight Flush – Generally rewards you with 10% of the total progressive jackpot.
  • Four-of-a-Kind – Can vary from $500 to $5,000.
  • Full House – Can vary from $100 to $1,500.
  • Flush – Can vary from $50 to $1,000.

To qualify for the Caribbean Stud Poker progressive jackpot, you’ll need to place an additional bet during the betting round before the dealer announces that betting is closed. To qualify for these payouts, you need to place only $1.

That said, while these jackpots promise massive payouts with minimal investment, they aren’t a good wager.

Looking into the percentages, the Caribbean Stud Poker progressive jackpot side bet is one of the worst bets you’ll find in all casino games. The house edge is around 25%, but can be even higher.

Considering that, if you’re looking for optimal play, you should save your money and avoid this side bet. That said, if you have the bankroll to spare and want the excitement, placing these minimal bets can make your sessions more thrilling.

5+1 Bonus Bet – Available In Online Casinos

Popularized by the famous game provider Evolution Gaming and prevalent in many online casinos, the 5+1 Bet is another side bet available in Caribbean Stud Poker.

As the name might give it away, the 5+1 bet includes your five cards and the dealer’s single face-up card.

To win this bet, you need to have at least a three-of-a-kind or better. Any lower-valued combination is an automatic loss. With that in mind, the maximum payout you can get for this bet is 1000x your initial wager if you have a Royal Flush.

Nevertheless, like the progressive jackpot side bet, this can be a fun bet to play, but it only worsens your house edge. The total house edge for the 5+1 bet is just slightly above 8.5%.

Caribbean Stud Poker Strategies

tips for caribbean stud

Since you can’t do anything to influence or change the hand you receive, the basic strategy for playing Caribbean Stud Poker is pretty straightforward, unlike the blackjack basic strategy, which has many more intricacies.

The only choice you can make is whether or not you want to place an additional bet after seeing your cards. To help you decide on this, you can use a few simple pointers.

An easy-to-remember rule of thumb is to always fold if you don’t have at least an Ace-King hand. Oppositely, if you have at least a pair or better, you should always bet. These two blanket rules apply in all situations and for all of your combinations.

The only situation that leaves some room for a couple of different approaches is if you have an Ace-King hand. In that case, you should bet if you also have a Jack or Queen in your hand and the dealer is showing an Ace.

Additionally, if the dealer’s up card is anything from 2 to Queen, you should also always bet. Lastly, if you have at least an Ace-King-Queen hand and the dealer’s face-up card is weaker than your fourth-best card, you should place the additional bet.

Other than these few strategic tips, there’s not much space for a more in-depth strategy. These three pointers should help you know when to continue with a hand and play as optimally as possible. In return, it will enable you to keep the house edge close to the listed 5.2%.

Caribbean Poker FAQs

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