How to Play Caribbean Stud Poker | Here's All You Need to Know

How to Play Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud Poker takes its name from its popularity in the casinos of the Caribbean. It then proved equally popular on gaming boats and finally made its way to the casinos of Las Vegas, Reno, and Atlantic City, where it still finds an audience today. The game has also become one of the most popular poker variants available at online poker rooms, and it plays almost exactly the same as Five Card Stud.


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Learning to Play Caribbean Stud Poker

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of how to play Caribbean Stud Poker, there are a few distinctions that we need to make about this particular variant. First, there is no bluffing at all in Caribbean Stud Poker. It will become clear in due course why poker’s most famous skill is redundant in this game.

Secondly, this is a game where you take on the house. There are no other players in the game for you to worry about. Finally, there are no further draws to be made in Caribbean Stud Poker, and the house edge works out to 5.22%. And that’s it. That’s all there is to know about this amazingly simple game.

Rules of Caribbean Stud Poker

Play begins with the players betting the table ante before the dealer deals out five cards all face down. The dealer will then deal a 5-card hand face down to themselves with one card laying face up and showing.

At this point, the idea is that players take a look at their hands and decide on whether or not to put down a secondary bet on top of their ante. Card hand strengths are the same as in an actual poker game. This is usually twice the size of their first wager. The other option available is to fold and drop out of the hand altogether.

How Does the Dealer Qualify?

As soon as every player has made their move, the dealer will look at their own hand to determine what happens next. To qualify, the dealer must have a hand that contains at least an Ace-King or better. This means that the lowest possible qualifying dealer hand would be A, K, 4, 3, 2.

If the player and the dealer are holding the same valued hands, then the game is a push, which is the same as a tie, and your stake will be returned.

Alternatively, If the dealer has the better hand, you will lose both the ante bet and your additional bet. If the dealer does not qualify and you placed a secondary bet, you will be paid out even money on the ante bet while the additional bet is considered a push and returned.

If the dealer does qualify and you have made the additional bet, and you have the stronger hand, you will get back evens on your ante plus pre-determined odds on the bet part, according to the following paytable. Note, the payout table can vary slightly depending on the casino.

Caribbean Stud Poker Paytable

Royal Flush100/1
Straight Flush50/1
Four of a Kind20/1
Full House7/1
Three of a Kind3/1
2 Pair2/1
Caribbean Stud Poker Paytable

Caribbean Stud Progressive Bet

Very often, there will be the option of making an additional wager that pays into and out of a progressive jackpot. While this bet has no bearing on the main game, it is still a bet on how good your hand will be and must be made before the game begins.

To win this bet, your five-card hand must be one of the following, regardless of what the dealer holds:

  • Royal Flush
  • Straight Flush
  • Four of a Kind
  • Full House
  • Flush

In this bet, typically, the Royal Flush will win 100% of the progressive jackpot while at the other end of the scale, a Flush would payout around 10% of the progressive jackpot. Generally speaking, it is not worth playing this bet due to the chances of actually making one of those five-card hands being extremely low. Also, the house edge on the progressive jackpot bet is 26%.

5+1 Bonus Bet

At some online casinos, there is another optional side bet that can be made called the 5+1 bonus bet. This bet pays out if the player can make at least a three of a kind with their own five cards plus the dealer’s exposed card. 

Again, bets are paid out on an escalating scale with a Royal Flush earning the most and paying out up to 1,000x the bet.

How to Determine a Winning Caribbean Stud Hand

In Caribbean Stud poker, the best five-card hand is the same as the best hand in regular poker games such as Texas Hold'em and Omaha. Your poker hand rankings are listed below:

Poker Hand Rankings

  1. Royal Flush
  2. Straight Flush
  3. Four-of-a-Kind
  4. Full House
  5. Flush
  6. Straight
  7. Three-of-a-Kind
  8. Two Pair
  9. Pair
  10. High Card

Caribbean Stud Poker – Basic Strategy Tips

  • Always play the additional bet with a pair or better. When you're holding at least a pair - preferably high ranking but even with low ranking pairs - then play the additional bet.
  • Bet if you have A-K and the dealer shows Q or lower. If you are holding A-K and the dealer’s face-up card is a queen or less, then bet. If the dealer shows an Ace or a King and you have a Queen or a Jack, then play the extra bet.
  • Fold with anything less than A-K. If you do not have at least an Ace and a King, fold it and drop out of the hand.

Where Can I Play Caribbean Stud Poker Online?

Caribbean Stud Poker can be played at virtually every online casino, but the payout tables will differ from house to house, so pick a favorable one. If you are looking to play free online Caribbean Stud poker, this is a good idea and one that will help you heighten your skills. 

Fortunately, free play software is provided by just about every casino online. Truthfully though, it is an extremely easy game to get to grips with, and you really should not have problems playing Caribbean Stud Poker.

How to Play Caribbean Stud Poker FAQ

What is the house edge in Caribbean Stud Poker?

The house edge in real money Caribbean Stud Poker games is around 5.22%.

Is Caribbean Stud Poker an easy game to learn?

Yes, it is very simple, and you only really need to know your card hand strengths.

Is Caribbean Stud Poker fair?

Yes, online Caribbean Stud Poker games are perfectly fair. Outomes are determined by a Random Number Generators (RNG) that ensures a fair dealing of the cards.

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