Caribbean Stud Poker - How to Play

Caribbean Stud Poker combines elements of poker and other games to create a pleasurable gambling experience. Players play against the dealer, not against each other. The dealer has no decisions to make. Clearly, one player can beat the dealer and another player can lose.

Caribbean Stud Poker was created in the casinos of the Caribbean and is quickly spreading to North America and elsewhere.

Caribbean Stud Poker is always played with a progressive jackpot side bet.

Caribbean Stud Poker

Basic Rules

*** All players ante. The table usually has a range of acceptable antes

*** Every player and the dealer receive five cards

*** The players see the dealer's last card

*** The players look at their hands and must either call or fold (surrender)

When a player surrenders, they lose their ante and are eliminated from that hand.

When a Player Calls

*** The player must make a second bet of double the ante

*** Then the player and the dealer examine their hands (showdown)

*** The house must have at least Ace-King to continue the showdown. If the house doesn't have Ace-King or better, it loses immediately. The call bet is a push and the player wins 1-1 on the ante

When the House Qualifies with at least Ace-King

*** The player wins if their hand beats the house's hand according to the regular poker hand table

*** If the player wins the player receives even money for the ante

*** The call bet is paid according to a special table unique to Caribbean Stud Poker. The pay-outs increase as the value of the player's hand increases

* 1-1 for high card or a pair. Keep in mind that you can win high card with Ace-King-Queen against a weaker kicker in the house's hand.

* 2-1 for two pairs

* 3-1 for three-of-a-kind

* 4-1 for a straight

* 5-1 for a flush

* 7-1 for a full house

* 20-1 for four-of-a-kind

* 50-1 for a straight flush

* 100-1 for a Royal Flush

*** If the player loses, the player loses both the ante and the call bet

Progressive Jackpot

This option is available to all players. They make a side bet before the cards are dealt. The side bet is usually one dollar. This bet says that if the player is dealt a flush or better, they will win the jackpot. The jackpot payouts vary from casino to casino. The jackpot pays one amount for flush, full house, and four-of-a-kind. It pays higher amounts for straight flush or Royal Flush.

Many players enjoy making this side bet but it is considered a poor bet.


Optimal strategy is very complex. It takes into consideration the possibility of the house getting a straight or flush as well as pairing or qualifying with Ace-King.

Unless you devote many hours to learning optimal strategy, your best strategy is to be conservative. It is true that even if the house is showing an ace, it could lose automatically if it doesn't have a pair or Ace-King. However, if you don't have a pair you will lose more than 50% of the time.

*** Never try to bluff - always fold when you hold a nothing hand

*** Always make the bet with a pair or better

*** If your hand has an Ace-King, make the bet if one of your remaining three cards match the dealers

*** Always make the bet with any Ace-King with a Jack, 8 and 3 or better against any dealer up-card

*** Don't wager on any jackpot bets

Some players choose to call only if they have a pair. Others call if they also have Ace-King.

Little History

Caribbean Stud Poker was first developed in the Caribbean islands and then expanded to cruise ship in the late 1980's. It was such an appealing game with players that Nevada casinos began offering the game in 1992.


Although most players will continue to play the classic poker and other casino games, the many variations, especially of poker, offer a pleasant change of pace.

When you are tired of counting cards at Blackjack or trying to figure out what your opponents are holding in other poker games, Caribbean Stud Poker lets you relax and enjoy a different type of poker.

Posted by Nick David

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