You'll find Caribbean Stud poker tables in many casinos: both online and in brick and mortar venues. It's somewhat of a new game when compared to more traditional casino games such as Baccarat and blackjack, having been introduced in the 1980s. However, it has quickly become popular for a number of reasons.
Caribbean Stud is a very straightforward type of poker played against the house, not other players. The dealer controls the game completely, and there's very little in the way of decision making. All you have to do is decide how much to wager on each hand, and once you have seen your hand, whether to play it or discard it.
Something that makes Caribbean Stud particularly appealing to players is the fact that you can win decent money compared to your stake, as the best hands (such as royal and straight flushes) are paid out at high odds. Below we explain more about how the game works and have listed a few of the best places to play.
Caribbean Stud Rules
Each game begins with a player making an ante bet at a chosen stake. Most tables have a minimum and maximum that can be staked, but these amounts vary depending on the casino. The player is then dealt five cards, as is the dealer. The player can look at all five of the cards, while just one card from the dealer's hand is revealed.
Once the player has looked at the cards and compared them to the dealer's exposed card, he has to make a decision whether to play the hand or not. If he chooses not to play, the ante bet is forfeited and play moves on to the next hand. If he wants to play the hand, he must place an additional bet equal to twice the initial bet.
The dealer then reveals the rest of the cards and the hands are compared. The dealer must have at least ace/king high for his hand to qualify and if not, the player wins his ante bet and the additional bet is returned, regardless of what he is holding. If the dealer does qualify and his hand is stronger than the player's, then the player loses the ante and additional bet.
If the two hands are of exactly the same value, then both the ante and the additional bet are returned to the player. If the player's hand is stronger, he wins the ante and the additional bet is paid out based on the schedule for the table. This can vary from one casino to another, but the following odds are commonly used.
- Royal Flush – 200 to 1
- Straight Flush – 50 to 1
- Four of A Kind – 20 to 1
- Full House – 7 to 1
- Flush – 5 to 1
- Straight – 4 to 1
- Three of A Kind – 3 to 1
- Two Pair – 2 to 1
- Pair – 1 to 1
The majority of casinos offering Caribbean Stud also offer a jackpot bet that can be played on each hand. This usually costs just $1 (or currency equivalent) to play and pays out if a player gets certain hands. The jackpot bet is paid regardless of whether the dealer qualifies or not and regardless of whether the player actually wins the hand.
Typically, this pays out for a flush or higher value hands. Some places only pay on royal flushes or straight flushes, while others pay for straights as well. Generally speaking, there's a progressive jackpot that increases over time and is paid out when a player gets a royal flush. A straight flush will win 10% of the jackpot, while common payouts for other hands are as follows.
- Four of A Kind - $500 (or currency equivalent)
- Full House - $100
- Flush - $50
The perfect strategy for keeping the house edge as low as possible in Caribbean Stud involves comparing your hand to the exposed card in the dealer's hand and making a decision based accordingly. It's slightly complicated, however, and you can reduce the house edge almost as low by following three simple rules.
- Always make the additional bet if you have a pair or better.
- Always make the additional bet if you have an ace and king with at least a jack.
- Always fold if you don't have either of the above.
The jackpot bet is technically not a good bet and should be avoided if you want to play optimal strategy. However, if the progressive jackpot is around $250,000 or higher, then the bet is worth making. That being said, even if the jackpot isn't that big, there's nothing wrong with making the bet anyway, as it won't influence the overall house edge dramatically, and you have the additional chance to land a decent win.
Online Caribbean Stud Poker
Caribbean Stud poker is one of the most widely-offered games at online casinos, and you'll find it in most places. If you plan on playing this game a lot, we recommend the following casinos as the best places.