Caribbean Stud Poker Basic Guide

One of the First Novelty Table Games

Caribbean Stud Poker is not as popular as it once was, but it does have a cult-like following. Based on a classic form of poker, Five-Card Stud, Caribbean Stud borrows the most basic concepts from the original. It is a fast-paced game against the house rather than the other players. Even though it was one of the first casino “novelty” table games, it has lasted in casinos. So, let’s revisit the Caribbean Stud Poker Basic Guide.

A Brief History of Caribbean Stud Poker says, “According to popular Caribbean Stud history, it is believed the game originated in Aruba, an island in the Caribbean, sometime in the 1980s. Some stories state that Caribbean Stud officially discovered that game after being played on a cruise ship sailing to Aruba. Unusually, for such a recently developed game, the person who created it is yet to be found though several individuals have claimed they invented it. The most famous is renowned author and gambling expert David Sklansky.”

Before you play Caribbean Stud Poker, know the official poker hand rankings. Once you understand that, the game is very straightforward.

  • Royal Flush – A, K, Q, J, and Ten, all of the same suit
  • Straight Flush – Five cards in sequence and all of the same suit
  • Four of a Kind – Four cards of the same rank
  • Full House – Three of a kind, plus a pair
  • Flush – Five cards of the same suit
  • Straight – Five cards in sequence. (Ace can be high or low)
  • Three of a Kind – Three cards of the same rank
  • Two Pair – Two cards of one rank and two cards of another rank
  • Jacks or Better – A pair of jacks, queens, kings, or aces

Playing the GameCaribbean Stud Poker Basic Guide

caribbean stud poker table
Caribbean stud poker table (image courtesy of

Step One – Ante

Like any Stud poker, you begin the game by placing an Ante. The size of your ante is up to you, but it must be within the table’s designated minimum and maximum bet amounts.

Step Two – Look at Your Cards

After all, players have anted, and the dealer deals each player’s five cards. The player’s cards are all dealt face down while the dealer turns one of his five cards face up. Players cannot talk about or show their cards to other players on or off the table.

Step Three – Bet or Fold

After looking at your hand, you must either bet or fold. If you fold, you forfeit your ante and wait for the next hand. If you bet, your bet must equal twice your ante’s amount.

Step Four – Dealer

Once all players have chosen to fold or bet, the dealer turns up his remaining four cards. If the dealer does not have a hand equal to or better than Ace-King high (meaning they have both an ace and a king), all players are paid 1:1 on their ante and receive their bet back. If the dealer’s hand is equal to Ace-King high or better, then the dealer’s hand is said to “qualify.”

The dealer then compares your hand to their own. If your hand is worse than the dealer’s qualifying hand, you lose your ante and bet. Conversely, if your hand is better than the dealer’s qualifying hand, you receive even money (1:1) on your ante and payment on your bet following the pay scale.

The Progressive JackpotCaribbean Stud Poker Basic Guide

Caribbean Stud Poker
Logo found on Caribbean Stud Poker table.

Players can also bet the progressive jackpot side bet. An additional $1 during the ante stage of play is required. Players are then eligible to win a piece of, or all, of the progressive jackpot.

To win a piece of the jackpot, a player must have a premium hand (flush or better) and beat the dealer’s qualifying hand. After these conditions are met, the player receives a percentage of the progressive jackpot.

Basic Strategy – Not too difficult

What would a Caribbean Stud Poker Basic Guide be if we didn’t include the strategy? By the way, the strategy is quite simple. If the dealer’s one-show card is either an Ace or a King, you should only bet if you can beat an Ace-King. In general, you should bet anytime you have ace-king or better. After that, it’s a guessing game about whether or not the dealer will qualify. Thus it’s often not worth risking three times the amount of your ante to make back only 1:4 on your money.

When I played, it seemed to be a team game – everyone trying to beat the house without worrying about making mistakes that supposedly “hurt” the other players. Mathematically, we know this is not true. But, try it with some friends. Bring a playing strategy on a card like the one below. Most casinos don’t mind because they know that the game gives them a huge house advantage of over 5% with perfect strategy.

Caribbean Stud poker

Related Post – Beginners Guide To Mississippi Stud

That’s all for now.


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