Caribbean Stud Poker – Basic Tips by John Grochowski

Continuing with our “Beginner’s Tips, today we look Caribbean Stud Poker.

Carribean Stud Poker seems to have become popular in the 1980’s, while it is rumored to be invented by numerous people claiming the patent.

But it’s popularity has waned as the most popular poker-based game in casinos.  More popular poker-based gambling “carnival” games have taken that position, such as Three Card Poker, Mississippi Stud and Ultimate Texas Hold’em.

Basic Table Layout

Basic Table Layout


  1. Caribbean Stud Poker is played with a 52 card deck, which is usually randomized using an automatic shuffling machine. On the players’ side of the table, each player has a spot on the table where she can place an “ante” and a spot where she can place a “bet.”
  2. The ante is a mandatory bet, and if you want to play, you have to make the ante bet. Once all the players have made their ante bet, the dealer takes sets of five cards for each player and for herself from the automatic shuffling machine.caribbean-stud
  3. The dealer then reveals the top card of her five card hand to the players, who haven’t looked at their cards yet. Once she reveals her top card, she’ll push your five card set closer to you. That’s when you can look at your hand.
  4. If you don’t think you’re likely to win, you can fold. If you fold, you lose your ante, but no further money.
  5. On the other hand, if you like your hand, to stay in you have to place an additional bet, which is always twice the size of the ante bet that you placed earlier. For example, if the ante were $10, and you liked your hand, you would place an additional $20 in order to continue playing.
  6. After the players have each either folded or bet, the dealer reveals her cards and arranges them into the highest-ranking poker hand she can. She tries to “qualify,” meaning her poker hand needs to be Ace-King or better; if her hand is lower in rank than that, the dealer doesn’t qualify.
  7. If the dealer qualifies, then the players each compare their hand to the dealer’s hand to see whether or not it ranks higher. If the player wins, she gets even money on the ante.

That’s it!  I haven’t played the game in some time, so once again, we turn to John Grochowski for the “easy play version” of Caribbean Stud strategy, which is “to make the bet of twice your ante whenever you have any pair, or ace-king-jack-8-3 or better. With that strategy, Caribbean Stud has a house edge of about 5.32% of your ante. (ouch!) You can reduce the house edge to 5.23% of the ante with a more nuanced strategy.”

John Grochowski - the Casino Answer Man

John Grochowski – the Casino Answer Man

The following comes from his column found at CasinoCityTimes.

1. Bet with any pair.

2. Bet with ace-king provided one of your other three cards matches the dealer’s face-up card.

3. Bet with ace-king-queen or ace-king-jack if any of your five cards matches the dealer’s up card.

4. Bet with ace-king-queen if your next highest card outranks the dealer’s up card.

Let’s look at a few examples:

If you have ace-king with no pairs, no other face cards and the dealer has an ace up, you would fold because the dealer up card does not match one of your other three. However, if you have ace-king-8 and the dealer has an 8 up, you would bet.
However, if you have a queen or jack to go with your ace-king and the dealer has an ace up, then you would bet under strategy line 3.
Also, if you have ace-king-8, no pairs and no other face cards and the dealer shows a 7, you would fold. However, if you have ace-king-queen-8 and the dealer shows a 7, you would bet under strategy line 4. You need both to have the queen to go with ace-king and for your fourth highest card to outrank the dealer’s up card.

Thank-you John.



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