Caribbean Stud Poker is a casino version of the common five-card stud poker game, but in this version of the popular poker variant, players compete against the dealer rather than each other. In addition to the main game, Caribbean Stud Poker also features a side bet which can be won with hands of three of a kind or better. The side bet also contributes to a progressive jackpot that is paid out when a player is dealt a royal flush.
The game commences with every player placing his ante bet on the table. Each player and the dealer are dealt five cards, all face down, apart from one of the dealer's cards which is visible to all players. The players may look at their own cards only, then elect to either raise or fold. If the player decides to raise then they must place another bet that is double the ante bet. All cards are then revealed and the player wins if they hold a better five card poker hand than the dealer.
An added complication is whether or not the dealer qualifies, which is determined by whether he holds a hand with an ace and a king or better. Assuming the player raises, there are the following possible outcomes:
- Dealer fails to qualify - player wins on the ante bet and pushes on the raise bet, irrespective of the hand values (i.e. the player does not have to beat the dealer's hand).
- Dealer qualifies and player wins - player is paid even money on the ante bet, and winnings on the raise bet according to the pay table (mouse over the table limit or jackpot value).
- Dealer qualifies and ties with the player - both the ante and raise bets push.
- Dealer qualifies and player loses - player loses both the ante and raise bets.
The progressive side bet is paid according to the card in the player's hand, and not whether they beat the dealer. However, it is important to remember that folding the ante bet will also forfeit the progressive side bet, so you must always raise if you hold a winning side bet!
Caribbean Stud Poker strategy and house edge
The strategy around Caribbean Stud Poker solely concerns whether to make the raise bet or not. The absolute perfect playing strategy is very complex, but fortunately there are a couple of simple rules that will have you playing to within 0.1% of perfect strategy:
- Always raise with a pair or better.
- Raise with an ace and king if the dealer's visible card matches one of your cards (it reduces the chance of the dealer having a pair).
- Raise with an ace and king if your hand equals or beats AKJ83.
- Otherwise fold.
The house edge on our Caribbean Stud Poker game is around 5.2%, but factoring in the ability to choose when to raise means that on average the house takes 2.54% on the average bet (known as the element of risk).
How to play our free Caribbean Stud Poker game
- Select your bet size by clicking the row of chips along the bottom of the table.
- Place your bet on the ante circle and optionally another $1 bet on the jackpot side-bet circle.
- Hit deal - the cards will be dealt and you will have the option to either Call or Fold.