Unlike how the name suggests, Caribbean Stud Poker is not a poker game, it’s a casino game. Instead of playing against other players, you’re playing 1v1 against the house. The only cards that matter are yours and the house. This is the foundation for any Caribbean Stud Poker strategy.
The game originated from the Caribbean islands and it has grown into a popular casino game across the world, including major resorts in Las Vegas and Macau. As such, players are looking for ways to get the best possible chance of winning.
So, with this in mind, here are 6 tips to win at Caribbean Stud Poker, no matter if you’re a beginner or you’ve past experience.
1. Basic Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy
For the true beginner, here are a few things you must know before you get started:
- Always bet if you make a pair or better
- Always bet if you have an Ace-King hand and a minimum of one card matches the dealer’s upcard
- Always bet if you have an Ace-King-Queen or Ace-King-Jack hand and any of your cards match the dealer’s upcard
- Bet if you have Ace-King-Queen and the higher of your two other cards has a higher value than the dealer’s upcard
Always fold if your hand does not fall into any of the above categories.
Using the strategy means there is a house edge of just 5.22%.
Note that you must also avoid the progressive side bet too.
If you think you’ll have difficulty remembering these scenarios, there’s an even simpler way to play: only bet if you have AKJ83 or better. If not, always fold.
This particular strategy only gives up an extra 0.1% but it’s still effective.
2. Progressive Jackpot Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy
It’s possible to have an edge in this game, even though you’re unlikely to actually win the top prize: when the progressive jackpot is over $352,150, placing a $1 side bet actually gives you a mathematical edge over the house.
If there is a spot where you can gain an edge in a casino, you should always make that bet, assuming you can afford to do it.
When the progressive jackpot is $1 million and under, avoid making side bets as the house has an edge over you and you may end up like this player who really hit it big.
3. When To Raise In Caribbean Stud Poker
Since you’re going up against the dealer, you are only raising for value. There’s no point in bluffing as you will just lose.
Therefore, you must always raise in Caribbean Stud Poker when you have made a pair or better.
You must also raise when you have Ace-king and:
- The dealer’s card is between a Queen and 2 and a card matches one of your own, or
- You have a Queen and the dealer’s card is less than your fourth-highest card, or
- You have a Queen or a Jack in your hand and the dealer has an Ace or a King.
4. When To Fold In Caribbean Stud Poker
Alex Kapinsky at NJGamblingFun, explains when to fold in Caribbean Stud Poker:
“For optimal strategy, you should always fold if you do not have at least Ace-King in Caribbean Stud Poker. Even if you have Ace-Queen, just lay it down and wait for a better spot. This is because Ace-Queen is less than the dealer’s minimum qualifying hand, so it’s always going to lose.”
You should also fold if you have Ace-King and your hand does not fall into any of the scenarios stated int the first tip to win at Caribbean Stud Poker.
5. Understanding Caribbean Stud Poker Odds and Payouts
The next tip is to help you understand your chances of winning a hand and the associated payouts.
The payouts themselves are simple but people can get confused about how the game works.
Caribbean Stud has a main game and a side bet, each with its own odds and payouts. Note that the hands are similar to other poker games like Texas Hold’Em and 3-Card Poker.
Here is all you need to know:
|Hand||Odds Of Getting Hand||Payout|
|Royal Flush||0.0001%||100 to 1|
|Straight Flush||0.0008%||50 to 1|
|Four of a Kind||0.0014%||20 to 1|
|Full House||0.08%||7 to 1|
|Flush||0.11%||5 to 1|
|Straight||0.22%||4 to 1|
|Three of a Kind||1.18%||3 to 1|
|Two Pair||2.45%||2 to 1|
|Pair or Less||11.76%||1 to 1|
|Dealer Does Not Qualify||22.73%||1 to 1|
You may notice that the probability of getting the premium hands are very low. However, it’s still possible so don’t be put off by the slim chances.
Still, when you don’t get the high-paying hands, you will get a lot more from smaller payouts. After all, you only need to beat the dealer to win the hand.
As the table above shows, the dealer does not qualify for a winning hand 22% of the time, giving you a bigger chance of collecting a payout.
6. Understanding Caribbean Stud Poker Side Bet Odds And Payouts
If you decide to make any side bets in Caribbean Stud Poker, they also have their own odds and payouts.
There are 10 side bet paytables used in this game so it can be tricky, especially for beginners, to know the correct strategy.
Here are all the Caribbean Stud Poker side bet odds and payouts you need to know:
|Hand||Odds Of Getting Hand||Payout|
|Royal Flush||0.0001%||100% of Progressive|
|Straight Flush||0.0008%||10% of Progressive|
|Four of a Kind||0.0014%||$100, $150, or $500|
|Full House||0.08%||$75, $100, or $150|
|Flush||0.11%||$50 or $75|
|Straight or Less||76%||No Payout|
This table shows that you must have a strong hand to win a side bet in Caribbean Stud Poker.
For the biggest hands (Royal Flush and Straight Flush) there is a progressive jackpot to win. Depending on the payouts on Four of a Kind and lower, the breakeven point on the progressive side bet is between $176,611.05 and $263,205.26.
However, while these payouts are huge, the house has a huge average edge on side bets of 26.46%. If you don’t mind that and you’re looking to gamble, you can get a lot of enjoyment out of them.
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