Caribbean Stud Poker, Rules, Hands, and Strategy to Play

Caribbean Stud Poker is certainly one of the most popular poker variants that can be played against the house. The origins of the game aren’t exactly clear, even though the well-known author David Sklansky notes he is the one who invented it back in the early 19080s. 

Well, there is no doubt if this game attracts casual players, punters and also poker players who enjoy the fact the game contains some elements of “proper”, but doesn’t need much thinking or effort. Read more to figure out Caribbean poker. 

What is Caribbean Stud Poker?

As a casino poker game, unlike many other types of poker, you are not looking to beat the other players at the table. Well, there is no need to worry about maintaining a poker face. You must simply beat the dealer. 

Likewise, you will not be able to control the size of the pot by varying the sizes of your bets. As the table game, the Caribbean Stud Poker will give the payout fixed in relation to the size of your bet. No slow-playing, traps, or fancy players are required to win here. 

This game was created in the 1980s to bring the entertainment of poker to a fast, casino table game that could sit alongside the likes of baccarat and blackjack, with the comparable payout odds and a similar pace of play in the game. 

In addition, it uses poker hands, however, you don’t need to be an expert in poker strategy to play it. Just with a little knowledge of poker hands and a few tips, you will have everything you need to beat the dealer. 

The Caribbean Stud Poker Rules

Let’s take a closer look at some rules to play Caribbean Stud Poker by walking through a hand from start to finish below:

  • Te starts a game with a hand, a player places a bet in the “ante” area. Many casinos will also offer the chance to place an optional “jackpot” bet as well. 
  • The dealer and every player will get 5 cards. The cards are face-up, while the dealer only shows one of their cards. 
  • At this step, the player can fold, surrendering the hand, if they feel that they don’t have a good chance of winning in the game. Otherwise, they must place a “raise” or “call” bet of double their ante. 
  • If the player keeps going, all cards are showered. If the dealer doesn’t have at least Ace-King or better, they don’t “qualify”. If this happens while you play, ante bets are paid out and 
  • at even money 1 to 1 and raise/call bets are returned. 
  • If the dealer does qualify, and has a better hand than the player, all player bets will be lost. 
  • If the dealer qualifies and is beaten by the player, ante bets will be paid out at even money and raise/call bets are paid based on the strength of the hand. 
  • If the dealer qualifies and has the specific same hand as the player, all bets will return

If a player has made a jackpot bet in Caribbean Stud Poker, they will be eligible for extra payouts if they make a particularly strong hand, such as Flush or higher. The payouts will depend on the strength of their hand and the size of the progressive jackpot when they hit it. 

The Hands in Caribbean Stud Poker

Well, you have seen how the game plays out, however, what is a good poker hand and what is a bad one? Of course, this is an important knowledge to have, both so you know when you are likely to be stronger than the dealer. 

Whatever game you are playing, and whether at a land-based casino or one of the best online poker sites, this information is important for winning Caribbean Stud Poker strategy. This is the poker hands from the highest to the lowest. 

Poker HandValue Card Example
Royal FlushTs, Js,  Qs, Ks, As
Straight Flush8d, 9d, Td, Jd, Qd
Four-of-a-KindA, A, A, A, X*
Full House4, 4, 4, J, J
Flush3c, 5c, 8c, Jc, Kc
Straight4, 5, 6, 7. 8
Three-of-a-KindQ, Q, Q, X, X
Two Pair6, 6, 7, 7, X
One PairT, T, X, X, X
High CardA, K, 5, 3, 2

Notes: X* is unrelated card

The Caribbean Stud Poker Payouts

When you learn how to play Caribbean Stud Poker, it is crucial to have one eye on the payouts table that is where your biggest winnings will come from. In addition, ante bets will only ever pay out at even money, or 1 to 1, however, how much you can win from your raise/call bets? 

Well, different casinos might offer slightly different payouts for making strong hands, however, the following is a good benchmark of the odds you can expect to get for winning a raise/bet. 

Poker HandPoker Payouts
Royal Flush100 to 1
Straight Flush50 to 1
Four-of-a-Kind20 to 1
Full House7 to 1
Flush5 to 1
Straight4 to 1
Three-of-a-Kind3 to 1
Two Pair2 to 1
One Pair or less1 to 1

And now, you know the payouts can expect to see, what are the odds of actually making these hands? The following guide provides the mathematical probabilities of making every poker hand when dealt 5 random cards. 

Poker HandProbabilityThe Odds Against
Royal Flush0.0001%649,739 to one
Straight Flush0.001%72,192 to one
Four-of-a-Kind0.02%4,165 to one
Full House0.1%693 to one
Flush0.2%509 to one
Straight0.4%254 to one
Three-of-a-Kind2.1%46 to one
Two Pair4.7%20 to one
One Pair42.2%1.3 to one
High Card50.1%0.99 to one

Caribbean Stud Strategy

With lots of options at your solution, learning how to play poker might be complex, however, your options in Caribbean Stud Poker are limited to whether or not to fold or make call/raise bet. 

While every hand in this game is different, there are some basic guidelines that you can follow to help you make this decision every time you play. 

Remember these… 

  • If you have a pair or better, you can make the call/raise bet
  • If you have worse than Ace-King, then you can fold

While you have Ace-King and no pairs, the things can become a little more complicated and will commonly depend on the rank of the dealer’s up card. 

Remember these…

  • If your up-card is in the 2-Q range, you can make the bet if it matches one of your own cards, or if it is worse than your fourth-highest card
  • If your up-card is an Ace or King, you can make the bet if you also hold a Queen or Jack 

Well, no Caribbean Stud Poker guide will give you a bulletproof winning system, and don’t forget that as a casino table game there is always going to be a house edge at work. However, if you use the guidelines above as a basis for making your own strategy, then you will be starting from a great start!

How to Deal Caribbean Stud Poker

If you are playing Caribbean Stud Poker online free at home, whether for small change or just for entertainment, keep in mind to make sure you have agreed on any payouts. We suggest you use the payouts listed above. Make these visible to all players so they can know what to expect if they hit a big hand. 

In addition, you will also need to make sure you have enough money to cover any big winnings. If a player makes a Royal Flush for a payout of 100 to 1, would you have enough money to pay them and keep playing afterwards? If it is true that the casino or the dealer, in the case of playing online, has a statistical edge. It is always possible for a player to hit a big hand. That is why we play, after all!

Once you have established the above, you can simply deal a hand the way it will be dealt at a casino, online or land-based. Every player gets 5 cards, and the dealer gets 5, however, only shows 1 until the players have all made their decisions on whether or not to fold. 

Variations of Caribbean Stud

Caribbean Stud Poker is one of the most widely popular casino poker games. It is available in a wide range of land-based and online casino in Malaysia. However, there are some variations that can also be found. Then, here are some variants to keep an eye out for. 

1. Casino Hold’em

In this Caribbean Stud Poker variation, player and dealer get 2 hole cards, with a 3-card flop then dealt that all players share-dealer involved. After that, players can decide whether to make the “call” bet or fold. If they want to continue, the next two communal board cards are dealt. The dealer requires a pair of 4 or better to qualify. 

2. Ultimate Texas Hold’em

Players and dealer will get 2 hole cards. Then, the players check or make a “play” bet if 3 times the ante in poker. A 3-card communal flop then follows, after which any players who checked can make a play bet of 2 times the ante, or can check once again. 

A last 2 communal board cards are dealt, after which any players who checked must make a play bet equal to the ante bet or fold. After that, the dealer needs a pair to qualify. 

Final Thoughts

To sum up everything, Caribbean Stud Poker is unlike other poker types. Players must simply beat the dealer, and you will be given the payout fixed in relation to the size of their bet. 

To play this game, you don’t need to be an expert. Furthermore, you can try the variations of Caribbean Stud, which are Casino Hold’em and Ultimate Texas Hold’em at your home. Make this game more entertaining by placing a bet that you can afford to lose.


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