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.

What is the card game Caribbean Stud poker?

Caribbean Stud Poker is a popular casino card game derived from traditional five-card stud poker. Players compete against the dealer, aiming to beat the dealer’s hand.

A hand in Caribbean Stud begins with players placing an ante bet before receiving five cards face down. The dealer also deals themselves five cards, with one card face up. Players then decide whether to fold or raise, depending on the strength of their hand.

If the player raises, their bet must be double the ante. After all players make their decisions, the dealer reveals their hand. Payouts are based on the strength of the player’s hand.

Caribbean Stud poker is popular at both land-based casinos and at online casinos, with the table limits generally much lower at virtual gambling websites.

Caribbean Stud poker rules

Caribbean Stud does take some concentration to learn, but after a while the rules become second nature. In this section of our Caribbean Stud guide we will break down the goal of the game, the gameplay, betting and payouts.

Caribbean Stud goal

The goal of Caribbean Stud 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. 

Caribbean Stud gameplay

Caribbean Poker is a table game, more closely related to blackjack than to poker, although 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.

Caribbean Stud betting

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.

Caribbean Stud payouts

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

Caribbean Stud 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

How did Caribbean Poker get its name?

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

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.

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.