Caribbean Stud poker

Caribbean Stud poker is readily available at casinos around the world as well as the virtual, online equivalent. Played against the dealer, Caribbean Stud is widely believed to have been invented by pro poker player David Sklansky in 1982, however, this is contentious.This article will run you through the basics and arm you with enough knowledge to successfully play Caribbean Stud.

The goal of the game

The goal of this table game is to get a better poker hand than the dealer, who must hold at least an Ace and a King, for you to really win, and all this happens after placing two bets. So, read on. 

Playing the game

Caribbean Poker is a table game, more closely related to blackjack than to poker. Poker hands are used for scoring. The first decision in Caribbean Poker is how much to bet. And remember there are two betting phases. The initial bet, before the cards are dealt, is when you “ante” in.

The dealer deals five cards to you, and five cards to himself. 

The dealer turns one of their cards face up.

Then you decide whether to place a “call” bet, or surrender. If you surrender, you lose the hand and the ante. 

If you make the “call” bet, the dealer reveals their cards and the game continues. To “qualify” the dealer must hold at least an Ace-King, or better. If the dealer does not qualify, you walk away with the ante, but your “call” bet is returned. 

If the dealer does qualify, it’s your cards against the dealer’s.

If you win, the ante pays even money. If you win with anything better than a pair, the house pays a multiple of your “call” bet, according to a bonus ranking – see the table under Betting and Payoff.

Betting and Payoff

There are two phases of betting in Carribbean Poker. In the first phase, you ante in, before the dealer deals the cards. After the dealer deals cards to you and themself, and reveals one of their cards, you either place a “call” bet or surrender.

Payoff gets interesting, when the dealer qualifies and you get even money for your ante and your “call” pays out as follows:

Casino War House Edge
Progressive Payout
Royal Flush
100% Pot
Straight Flush
10% Pot
4 of a Kind
Full House
3 of a Kind
2 Pair
1 Pair

The house has a 5.2% edge over you, which is about as bad as it gets at a casino!

The house edge on a progressive bet (a common online option) is around 22% or more. So beware!

In general, though, remember that the dealer will only qualify 56% of the time, so that 46% of the time you’ll only get paid for your ante bet.

Caribbean Stud strategies

The core assumption is that you will lose money in Caribbean poker. So the best strategy is to minimise your losses! The basic strategy is to raise on Ace-King-Jack-8-3 or better, and surrender otherwise. That is the “beacon hand”, and it is the lowest break-even hand in the game. The dealer must qualify in order for you to get payoffs, and this rarely happens in Caribbean Poker. With all this in mind, you must be able to cope with losing and be patient for the occasional great payoff.

Commonly asked questions about Caribbean Stud

1. How did Caribbean Poker get its name?

Caribbean Poker got its name from being so popular in the Caribbean and particularly aboard cruise ships.

2. How many different ways are there to win Caribbean Poker?

Aside from the various card combinations you can get, just as in standard poker, Caribbean Poker offers players two ways to win. The first revolves around the standard game. The player has a chance to bet or fold after he has been dealt his cards and after the dealer reveals his fifth card, that card that allows the player to compare his own hand to that of the dealer and decide his next move.

The second way to win in Caribbean Poker is to play the progressive, a five-card hand that is a flush or better. The progressive is going on at the same time as regular play. The player can only opt to play the progressive at the beginning of the hand, and the progressive is always resolved at the end of each hand.

3. Is it easy to win at Caribbean Poker?

Saying that it’s easy to win Caribbean Poker, or any card game for the matter, is really unjustified. Caribbean Poker does, however, give you an advantage over standard poker in that you get to see one of the dealer’s cards face up before placing your bet. That simply means that you have a chance to begin implementing your betting strategy, or to surrender, early on in the game.