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The Youngest Table Game of Them All

Caribbean Stud Poker

This variation of the legendary card game, Poker, may be one of the newest table games out there, but that doesn’t make it any less appealing. In fact, ever since its inception, it has become one of the most-played variants of Poker across the net. As the name tells, it has its roots in the Caribbean, however, who coined it and how remains a mystery. Your opponent in the game is the house and a progressive jackpot has been added to make the game more attractive for players to join in. The downside of the game is that the house advantage is quite high compared to some of the other table games out there like Craps and Blackjack, but it’s a lot easier to play and there aren’t so many hands to remember.

Why play Caribbean Stud Poker?

  • It's straightforward and easy to play
  • It’s a relatively new version of Poker
  • No bluffing required

The History of Caribbean Stud Poker

This latest variation of Poker originated from the exotic Dutch Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela, Aruba, during the 1980s. This is the only concrete piece of information associated with Caribbean Stud, as it is one of those games, just like Craps, which is shrouded in mystery. In this case, it is due to the fact that many a person has laid claim to being behind its invention. It is said to be based on the three-card Spanish game Primera (which has several different names such as Primero, Brag, Pochen, and Poque depending on your whereabouts; whether you’re situated in the UK, France or Germany) which dates back to the 1500s. The early game already featured some winning poker hands, such as, Three-of-a-Kind, Pair, or three of the same suit which was known as a Flux back then (today it’s known as a Flush). During the 1700s, the game changed so that placing bets and bluffing were added. Further on, you will see that it can be quite arduous to bluff your way through a game of Caribbean Stud.

As to who created the game or how it came into being, here are some possible hypotheses. One theory suggests that the game was first played on a cruise ship sailing to Aruba. Another points to the game originating in one of the hotel resorts on the island and spreading amongst the others, with the most popular games being played at the Dutch hotel, The King International, which is known today as the Excelsior Casino. One of the most famous men who firmly stands behind his claim to the game is the renowned author and gambling expert, David Sklansky. He allegedly invented the game in 1982 under the name Casino Poker, which differed slightly to the current Caribbean Stud, as in the early version, the dealer revealed two hole cards instead of one, and there was no attractive progressive jackpot feature. Apparently, he was unable to patent the game due to patenting laws at the time, so he trademarked it instead and brought it to Vegas World, the space-themed casino and hotel on the Las Vegas Boulevard. Due to unforeseen circumstances, he didn’t follow it up, however, years after, he maintained that he was approached by a poker player who brought the game to Aruba, wherein they amended the rules and gameplay to what it is today and was finally patented. Magnate, Dennis King, who owned a hotel in Aruba, is another person who has made a claim to the invention of the card game. In actual fact, no-one knows which tale holds true. Subsequently, it reached land-based casinos in the US in the early 1990s.

Playing Online Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud is typically played with a single deck of fifty-two cards. Similar to Casino Hold’em, in this card game your opponent is the casino represented by the dealer and not the other players around you, thus, it’s for this reason that bluffing during the game is futile. Furthermore, the sole objective of the game is to beat the dealer by having a superior five-card poker hand.

As is standard with Poker, Caribbean Stud starts off with all players placing an initial wager, called the Ante, which is not your average bet, but is a forced one which you must make in order to receive your set of cards. At this stage, you can make an optional side bet called the Progressive Jackpot bet, however, at an extra cost of 1 credit. This is the only time you can make this wager. Once the betting round is over, everyone seated at the table, including the dealer, of course, is dealt five cards face down and the dealer exposes one of his cards. At this point, there are two things you can do; you can either fold, which will, in turn, cause you to lose your hand, along with your Ante and side bet (if any), or your other option is to raise, which means doubling the Ante with another wager. After a round of either folding and raising, the dealer turns over his four remaining cards and his hand is compared to each player’s hand. The dealer must qualify with an Ace-King or better. If the dealer doesn’t qualify, naturally it’s considered a loss. If this is the case, you’re paid back even money (1:1) on your Ante and your raise is refunded. If the dealer qualifies, yet you have the better hand, you’ll also receive even money on the Ante. How much you get back on the raise bet depends on what type of hand you beat him with. If the dealer’s hand surpasses yours, he takes both your bets. In the event of a tie, both Ante and raise bets push, meaning you get the money you placed on your wagers back. Below is a description of the different Poker hands you can win with and how the payouts work.

Royal Flush: Consists of A-K-Q-J-10 in the same suit and is unbeatable. This hand pays 100 to 1.

Straight Flush: Is made up of five cards in numerical order belonging to the same suit. It pays out 50 to 1.

Four of a Kind: Is when you have four same value cards. The fifth card is called the ‘kicker’. In the case of a tie, the highest Four-of-a-Kind wins. This hand pays 20 to 1.

Full House: Includes three same value cards and a pair of a different value. The player with the highest three matching cards wins during a tie. It pays 7 to 1.

Flush: Consists of five random cards in the same suit and pays 5 to 1. The highest ranked card determines the winner in the case of a tie.

Straight: Is made up of five cards from different suits in numerical order. The person with the highest-ranking card is the winner during a tie. The Ace has a dual role and can be used at the beginning or at the end of the sequence. This hand pays out 4 to 1.

Three of a Kind: Consists of three matching cards of the same rank and two other random side cards. The payoff is 3 to 1.

Two Pair: Is a hand made up of two sets of different matching cards and one unrelated side card. Only the highest pair is counted to see who wins. e.g. KK227 beats QQJJA. The payout is 2 to 1.

One Pair: Having two cards of the same rank and three random cards, and pays 1 to 1 (even money).

The Progressive Jackpot side bet has little to do with your hand. In actual fact, it is an optional wager that the hand you will receive will be a Flush or better. If you put money on this bet, you’ll be paid out as follows, as long as the outcome is a qualifying hand. Remember that payouts may vary from casino to casino.

Royal Flush pays 100% of Progressive Jackpot Metre

Straight Flush pays 10% of Progressive

Four of a Kind pays 500 credits

Full House pays 100 credits

Flush pays 50 credits

Beginners’ Tips

Now that you know the crux of the game, there are a couple of other things you need to be aware of. These rules apply during both online and offline play wherever you are.

  • First of all, in this game, only one hand is allowed per player, as having two hands will give the player an unfair advantage in knowing when to fold or raise.
  • Secondly, no player is to discuss their hands with other players. This is player collusion and if this occurs during the game, the end result is a dead hand and a loss of your bets. Not to mention it’s technically cheating!
  • When playing live in a brick and mortar casino, bear in mind that you can only look at your cards once throughout the whole game, so make sure you examine them properly. Once they’re placed back down on the table, you cannot look at them again.
  • Any misdeals will result in dead hands, apart from when the dealer receives four cards instead of five. In this scenario, the dealer may give himself an additional card.
  • Just because you have an Ace high, for example, A-Q-J-T-2 doesn’t mean you should raise. This is a common misconception. Ultimately, you can win on the Ante bet because the dealer won’t pay the call bet without an A-K or better. Although Ace high hands can look good on paper, you should still fold unless you yourself have an A-K or better.
  • The progressive jackpot side bet is one best to be avoided due to its high house edge of 26.46%. On the flip side, you might be fuming if you were dealt a Royal Flush without placing a side bet. That said, the odds of this happening are 649,739:1.

Variations of Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Draw doesn’t fall far from the stud game, yet is more complex and requires more strategy. It comes close to Oasis Poker, wherein you have the alternative to replace one or two of the five cards in your possession so as to create a finer hand (keep in mind that the dealer can also do so if he chooses to). The dealer’s qualifying hand also differs in this variation as a pair of eights or higher is required.

Caribbean Hold’em is one of the most recent versions of Caribbean Stud which is pretty much a photocopy of the famous Texas Hold’em, minus the bluffing or raising. The dealer gives players and himself two cards and then deals five community cards face up, three of which the players will use to form their best hands. The house edge is reduced from 2.5% to 2.0% making the payouts less advantageous in the Hold’em variation.

Casino Five-Card Stud Poker is the variation commonly found in the UK and other European countries. Not all feature a jackpot side bet, but those that do, promote the game as Casino Jackpot Five Card Stud Poker. It’s only the payouts that differ between the American and English versions; the max bet’s usually 100 credits on the Ante, 200 credits on the raise, and the jackpot doesn’t often exceed 10,000 credits. additionally, a Royal Flush pays 50 to 1 (same as a Straight Flush). Furthermore, if the dealer doesn’t show A-K, the hands playing the jackpot must be turned face up – otherwise, the cards aren’t shown.

Oasis Poker has the same rules as Caribbean Stud, except that the players have the option to exchange cards before they decide whether to raise or fold, at an extra cost of course! Should you wish to exchange one or five of your cards, it will cost you 1x your Ante bet. Changing two or four of your cards will cost 2x your Ante bet, and three cards will set you back 3x. One more thing, if you switch all five cards you must also raise. Moreover, the bonus will be paid on the value of your original hand and not on your new set of cards.

Playing Caribbean Stud Poker for Real Money

Playing Caribbean Stud Poker online is a solo game handled by the online casino’s software which you can play for free right at the top of the page or for real money at one of our top five trusted casinos (which can also be found at the top of the page). They are all licensed, safe and regulated. Before you delve into all the action the Caribbean styled Poker game has to offer, it’s best to familiarise yourself with the rules and gameplay and practise playing for free where you have nothing to lose instead of gambling away your hard-earned cash. If free play is not your thing and you feel that you’ve got the game covered, you should start yourself off with a small deposit into the online casino of your choosing. On the other hand, if a big cash-out is what you want, you should adopt the strategy described in the upcoming section, place a side wager and watch the money roll in. Whatever you choose, Caribbean Stud Poker is readily available on mobile, Android and Apple tablet devices all over the world; in the USA, UK, Canada and Australia. And if you crave that real-life casino feel, you should try the insanely popular live Caribbean Stud Poker wherein you interact with other players and live dealers. Despite its growing popularity, not all casinos will have the option for this type of gameplay as they tend to dedicate their money and resources to the more favoured table games like Blackjack, Baccarat and Roulette.


Is there a strategy for winning at Caribbean Stud Poker?

There is an optimal strategy for winning at this Poker game, however, it’s quite intricate. To keep it simple, the basis of this strategy is to always raise with a pair or higher and to always fold with less than an Ace-King (which is also the dealer’s qualifying hand). It is with these hands that the strategy can get a bit more complex. You should only raise on a hand of Ace-King if the dealer’s card ranges between a 2 and Queen and matches one of yours. You should also raise against the dealer’s Ace-King hand with a Queen-Jack in your possession. Furthermore, it’s ideal to raise if the dealer’s rank doesn’t match yours, having a Queen in your hand, and the dealer’s card is less than your fourth highest card. This strategy results in bringing down the house edge down from 5.225% to 2.38%.

Is there a strategy for winning the Progressive Jackpot side bet in Caribbean Stud?

Good question! Ideally, the masters of the game don’t suggest playing the side bet at all. However, there is, in fact, a small strategy you can use when placing this bet. There always comes a time during the game when the jackpot becomes so large that the house edge is constantly in your favour for every bet you make. The tip is to find the highest jackpot you can (this might prove difficult to find online). The bigger the jackpot, the better the odds, consequently the more lucrative the bet becomes.

Important: US residents are only permitted to play for real money at casinos that are licenced and regulated by the State they reside in. Please ensure you are familiar with your local laws if you intend to play slot games online or take part in any other form of online gambling for real money.