Caribbean Stud Poker is a relatively new table game, with similar rules to five card stud poker but played against the casino rather than other opponents.
Considering it has only been played in casinos for about thirty years, its origins are surprisingly unclear. The well known poker authority David Sklansky claims to have created the game in 1982, while another story suggests that the game developed on cruise ships sailing to Aruba, hence “Caribbean” Stud Poker.
The Best Caribbean Stud Poker Sites
The game is usually played with a progressive jackpot, which players have the option to participate in. After all players have placed their ante on the layout and those wishing to take part in the progressive jackpot have placed their bets, the croupier gives each player five cards face down, as well as five for the dealer, one of which is turned up.
Players may not discuss the contents of their hand and players aren’t allowed to wager on hands other than their own, as in other casino table games such as Blackjack. The only decision is whether to play or fold. If players wish to play, they place their bet (twice the ante) on the layout and should they wish to fold, they lose their ante.
After each player has made their decision, the croupier reveals his or her hand. If this hand is A-K high or better, than it qualifies and each player beating it receives even money on their wager, plus a bonus payout in accordance with the strength of the hand. A royal flush usually pays 100-1 for example, while three of a kind pays 3-1 and two pair 2-1.
If the dealer has worse than A-K high, all bets are void and players are paid even money on their ante.
The Caribbean Stud Poker progressive jackpot payouts depend on the casino’s location and the amount being displayed on the meter at the time. A royal flush earns the player the entire jackpot, while a straight flush usually earns the player 10%. A flush or better usually qualifies a player to win some sort of bonus.
If a Caribbean Stud Poker player applies optimal strategy with no errors, then the casino enjoys a 5.22% edge. Estimates suggest that if a player knew the contents of six other players hands, then the edge could be reduced to 2.30%, but of course, this is against the rules and only applies to brick-and-mortar casinos.
Optimal strategy for Caribbean Stud Poker is very complex; few people know how to properly apply it. The recommended strategy therefore, is to raise with a pair or better, fold anything worse than A-K high and to raise when holding A-K if either of the following apply:
- The dealer shows an A or K and you hold a J or Q;
- The dealer is showing a 2 – Q that matches one of your own cards;
- You hold a Q and the dealer’s card is lower than your fourth highest card AND doesn’t match any of your own cards.
This Caribbean Stud Poker strategy reduces the house edge to almost the same as playing optimally.